Her.

Yesterday was mom’s memorial service. We had her cremated. Originally it was because the cost of a funeral and burial is outrageously expensive and we just couldn’t afford it. But now, I am so glad we did.

Mom was terrified of being alone, she hated storms and cold. I don’t think I could have watched them put her in the cold ground, throw dirt on her casket and walk away. There is no way.

Now, right this second she is sitting on my kitchen table.

I can talk to her. I can hold her. I can just sit and be with her.

As I mentioned before, I was with her when she passed. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life.

She had a horrible last few days, especially the last 24 hours. She had the “death rattle” as they call it, and had begun having seizures. Those were horrendous to watch. I don’t believe she was cognizant of what was happening when she had them. Her eyes were blank, they didn’t focus. So I hope she wasn’t aware.

My niece and I were sitting in the room with her, and I had just thought about going to bed, I was exhausted since I had been sitting up nights and most of the day with her for almost a week. Getting only a couple hours of sleep a day. But for some reason I didn’t. I wanted to stay there with mom.

We heard her scratching her fingers on the bed and my niece saw that mom’s eyes were open. We thought she was about to seize again. I was getting ready to get the medicine ready, and my niece, who is a nurse, told me she was leaving us.

I was already holding mom’s hand, but  leaned down and told her I loved her, kissed her forehead and told her I was there, she wasn’t alone, and it was ok.  Mom’s breathing eased for the first time in days. Her color in her face brightened, the expression on her face changed from one of misery to one of peace. Then she took two perfectly peaceful breathes and was gone.

I cried. I couldn’t help it. My mom was gone, but at that moment I knew she was the happiest she had been in years.

She was whole. She was able to walk again. She could talk, hear, see, and play the piano again.

I know she was greeted on the other side by her mom, sisters, grandson and great grandsons. Not to mention many many friends who have gone on before her.

At her memorial last night, we celebrated her life. Her love of laughter. She lived life to the fullest and expected those around her to do the same.

We celebrated that.

We celebrated her.

His girl

She’s still hanging on. Down to less than 10 respiration’s a minute. They are hard, deep fought for breathes. Ones you can watch her whole upper body fight for. But no rattle. Thankfully no rattle yet.

I went to bed for a bit, Stud has kept an eye out, a ear open. He just woke me up because her breathing has changed. Its more difficult for her now. When I touch her hand, she doesn’t automatically squeeze it. She’s been squeezing it. Holding on to it for dear life. Now she doesn’t.

Every call they ask, how’s your dad doing?

Every call I give the same answer, not well.

He refuses to believe she is dying.

She’s not supposed to go before him.

He has begged God to take him first.

He has bargained with God to let him go, take his life instead of hers.

He keeps telling her that tomorrow she’s gonna wake up and walk to the dining room and eat breakfast with the family.

He keeps asking God that in prayer.

He walks in to the room about every 2 hrs, shakes her foot and tells her to “Get up from there and come on, you’ve got to start living life!”

He will walk up to her, put his hand on her shoulder and ask if she’s his girl.

He just wants a response.

Any response.

She doesn’t respond.

Around 9pm last night she yelled his name two times.  Just out of no where, his name. Twice.

By the time he got from his chair to her bed she was gone again.

Day before that, she was a little responsive to us still, and he kept coming in and asking her if she loved him. She never said anything, til one time he comes up, puts his hand on her shoulder and says “I’m gonna ask you one more time, Do you love me?”

She turned toward him, with a huge smile on her face

And says ” I love you oh so very, very, very much!”

I bawled.

My sister in law bawled.

Dad smiled and went sat in his chair.

That was once of the last coherent things she said.

“I love you oh so very, very, very much”

So yes, she is his girl. Always his girl

Almost there

I’m sitting here tonight, in a darkened room, with just the faint glow of a lamp and my laptop to keep me from hitting my toes over bed corners and tripping over shoes.

Christmas Carols are playing, from my laptop, to break the silence and cover the noises my mom is making.

She is in the process of dying.

About a week ago, my mom decided she didn’t want to eat anymore. The next day she figured drinking was a hassle as well.

Her body is slowly settling. Slowly shutting down.

A few days ago her words stopped making sense. Just gibberish with a random recognizable word thrown in here and there.

Her movements are jerky, twitchy ones, where her muscles are letting out energy.

She opens her eyes but doesn’t see.

No she is not getting better.

The waiting is horrendous.

The hospice nurses told us yesterday to call my brothers and sisters. We did. My house has been mostly full ever since. Until now.

All the visitors have gone for the day.

All the kids but one have gone out Christmas shopping. They have been constant, steadfast, for several days now. They need a time to release some energy.

So right now its just me and mom in here. Me playing DJ, playing songs I hope will soothe her spirit. Watching her leave this world, a tiny bit at a time is one of the most difficult things I have ever done.

They say she is currently straddling between two worlds. The one we live in, and the afterlife, Heaven, her ultimate destination.

We have said our good byes. We have shared our love.

I know its time for her to go.

I know she will be so much better off.

I just wish it didn’t hurt so damn bad.

Magnolia Market by Judy Christie

It had been a while since I had read a book by Judy Christie. I had forgotten what I was missing.

Magnolia Market is a charming book that lifts you out of your own doldrums and whisks you away to small town living at its best, and sometimes worst.  At first I was prepared to dislike Avery Broussard, after all her name just screams debutante, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Avery is an adorable young woman who has been thrown some curves that most people would crumble under. She lost her mother at a young age, her dad moved off to a foreign country to be a missionary, her perfect marriage turns out to be anything but… then her husband is killed in an accident right after she finds out he is cheating. Wow.  And she isn’t even 30 years old.  But Avery has one thing that some don’t, she has an incredible faith in God.

Through a series of events, Avery finds herself, jobless, homeless, and broke, but also finds some wonderful new friends who teach her that family is more than just blood.

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The self-help books lied: fresh starts aren’t nearly as glamorous as they appear. And love isn’t any easier the second time around.

Avery Broussard was savoring her long-dormant optimism. It was the first anniversary of her husband’s death, and she was finally going to buy the dress boutique from her former mother-in-law. After a year of saving, the deal was nearly done. Avery was about to get her life back.

But every deal in Samford, Louisiana, can change at the whim of a Broussard.

After being unceremoniously ejected from the very boutique she planned to buy—the boutique she herself had rescued from ruin—she becomes a woman without a future . . . suddenly at war with her late husband’s family.

When carpenter T. J. Aillet begins working for the Broussards doing manual labor, he overhears enough to know that Avery is being victimized. Soon enough, T. J. is lassoed into the squabble by his family connections, his good heart . . . and the undeniable attraction he feels toward Avery.

But the Aillets are no strangers to Samford society—and T. J. knows what happens when you cross the Broussards. Could these two misfits ever make a start together? Or will the pressures of Samford society pull them apart before they even get a chance to try?

About the Author

Judy Christie writes fiction with a Louisiana flavor. She is the author of the Green series of novels including Gone to Green. A fan of primitive antiques and porch swings, she blogs from her green kitchen couch at http://www.judychristie.com. She and her husband live in northern Louisiana.

Do you know the answers?

As usual its been an eventful week around here. And now mom is in the hospital. Another UTI. Another bout of CHF.  When I left the hospital today, she was so out of it she didn’t even pay attention when they poked her 5 times to draw blood. Her BP is bottoming out so that’s probably why she’s so out of it.

I had to make decisions tonight on her advanced directives. They have gotten so much more involved now than when she originally. Now you have to decide if you want things like antibiotics for infection, compressions if your heart stops even down to oxygen if you have trouble breathing.

Its so hard to make those decisions when you have to give details like that. It brings it to life.

Used to a DNR just meant do not resuscitate, meaning if you went in to cardiac arrest, they wouldn’t do anything.

Now it means so much more.

I’m glad I knew tonight what decisions mom wanted made. We had talked about it before. If I hadn’t known, then the questions the dr’s were asking tonight would have been impossible to answer.

If you don’t know, then please, sit down, have a conversation. Find the answers to those questions.