If you are like many of my friends and acquaintances, you have been wondering where in the world I have been over the past 5 months. I know I dropped on the grid so to speak and am only now getting back into a regular day-to-day routine. I had high hopes for this year - and what started out as a pretty good year turned quickly into something a little so. In many ways I am still processing everything (good and bad) that has happened and even writing hasn't been as much as a balm as in the past. In fact, the only time I have written anything has been during the inspiration sessions I host for the Nebraska Poetry Society on Wednesdays. To say that the last few months of my life have been a roller coaster ride would be an understatement.
So, like any story I think its best to begin this one at the beginning...
Back in December of last year, my Dad called me in a bit of a panic. My mom had been admitted to the hospital and the san of her lungs was bad - really bad. None of this was new, but I suspect my Dad had been in denial about how far along my mother's COPD was. This was the first time he had seen an X-ray of her lungs and it was a bit of a wake up call. I couldn't shake the sound of his voice, so I talked with my husband, who convinced me that I should head down to Florida and spend some time with my parents. Knowing he had the house and kiddo well in hand, I hopped in my car and started the drive down to Florida to surprise my parents. And surprise them I did. I stayed for the rest of December and into the first week of January - longer than I had seen them in a very long time. It was a good time - I got to spend a lot of quality time with both my parents and have conversations that were long overdue with my mother. After being there for about a month, my mother seemed to be improving some, and I felt that there wasn't much more I could do; and I had a lot of stuff going on back home. We said our tear-filled goodbyes and I made the trip back to my own home in Nebraska, ready to face the issues that were resurfacing in my marriage.
Just a few short weeks after I returned home, I received another phone call from my Dad - my mother's health was failing quickly. She had been in and out of the hospital trying to figure out a way to help her breathe at night without waking in a panic and sending her COPD into overdrive. But her panic was not improving and it was suggested that she be admitted to hospice to help keep her comfortable with medication that would include morphine and Ativan. Even though I had only been back home in Nebraska for a couple weeks, I immediately got in the car and started the 21 hour drive down to their home in Florida again. I left home not knowing how long I would be gone, only that Mom needed me now and I was in the very unique position of being able to be there for her and Dad.
When I arrived in Florida, I met my family at the Hospice center where my mother had been admitted. I was able to spend 5 wonderful days with my mother before she deteriorated into a comatose state.
If I'm being honest, I didn't think I would see my mother alive again when I left my parents home in the beginning of January - I fully believed she would pass peacefully in her sleep. And I guess in a way she did. I will forever cherish the time I never thought I would have with her. My mother died on February 9th, 2021 at the age of 72 with her husband of 42 years by her side.
I stayed in Florida for another month to put my mother's estate in order, put her service together and help my Dad adjust to a new normal. Saying goodbye to my mother was one of the hardest things I have had to do in all my 40 years on Earth; being able to drop everything I was doing in order to be there when I was needed is something for which I will forever be grateful. Not everyone could have done so and it made all the stress of the time much more bearable knowing that I was able to do it without worrying about anything other than my parents.