Wednesday, January 03, 2007

2006 A Year in review: Family

So I am going to start this family review of 2006 as I take a mini break from mounting rubber stamps. Since I am new to unmounted stamps this has been quite a learning process. First I went with cushion and block but quickly decided it wasn't working for me. So now I am remounting them all with EZ Mount. It's time consuming. And I am the kind of person who likes quick results. So back to the family...

Set the timer for 5 minutes- Then back to the stamps:

2006 started out glorious. We made big plans on remodeling our vintage motor home and spending the Spring through late Fall camping all over Michigan. It was time consuming, costly, and tedious. But Dennis rocked it. Seriously. The motor home is fab! New carpeting, bead board walls, new fixtures, blinds, and a custom made futon bed.(The futon bed eliminated a diner type eating area that I hated and opened up a little more floor space.)

We were all excited for Spring and the good times planned. We took our first trip to Sleepy Hollow State Park. It was rainy and cold but freaking fun. Homemade deep fried doughnuts for breakfast, grilled steak and turkey fajitas for dinner, and cold beer and hot totties.

The rain and cold didn't seem to matter. Family, and friends, both old and new- Abel and Cassandra who totally rocked our world with true homemade steak fajitas...Dennis and I watching DVDs late at night in the camper as the rain drizzled and the kids were snuggled in bed. Sitting around the campfire sharing stories and making time almost stand still in a moment of complete contentment.

It was a great time.

But it wasn't too long after, somewhere around Easter, that my Mom had a stroke in Meijer. A simple trip to pick up something unimportant. A simple trip that changed everything.

BY the time my Mom arrived at the hospital her stroke has ended but the damage had already been done. She had some weakness on her left side but the stroke had dislodged some plaque near her heart that traveled through her bloodstream into her brain. The plaque led the doctors to a major aneurysm in her left frontal lobe of her brain. Two options: She could leave the aneurysm and live as long as God granted her but it would eventually rupture and kill her. They just didn't know when. 5 minutes, five, days, five weeks, five years... Or she could have surgery to wrap it to keep it from bursting. She chose the latter.

I remember the day she told me she had decided on the surgery. I cried and cried. I was scared.

The prognosis was good from the beginning. 2 hour procedure, 2 week recovery, then life as normal.

It just never happened that way.

So began an odyssey that has changed our family.

I wish I could sit here and tell you that we are all stronger, closer, and happy.
But the truth is I can't.

My Mom suffered a tirade of other medical problems after her surgery. She had to have a pacemaker implanted. She has lost so much weight she is near skeletal because she won't eat. This stemming from a allergic reaction to an antibiotic that made her violently ill. And yesterday, January 2ND, she has the middle finger on her left hand amputated. That caused by what her primary physician decided was not important enough to treat because it was a minor infection. Sadly, by the time we had grown tired of her primary physicians ineptness it was too late to save her finger.

She is at my sisters house and is recovering well from the amputation. But her mind is still no right. She has good days. She has bad days.

She lives with my sister all week. On weekends they bring her to her house. Sometimes Dennis and I spend the weekends with her to give my sister a break. But it's hard for her to tolerate Cameron who is full of life and energy.

My kids sense the change. Cameron is almost afraid to be near her and Ash is just scared. She lost her Grandpa in 1999 and she still hasn't spent one night alone at their house since. And I... Some days I am hopeful. Hopeful that things will get better. But I have resolved that my Mom will never be the "Mom" I once knew. We will never walk through the woods with my kids again looking for morels. We will never plant flowers or a vegetable garden together again. We will never cook a meal together side by side laughing about the silly things in everyday life.

I have the hardest times when I let those thoughts into my heart. And if I ask myself what if? What if she had never had the surgery to begin with?

I try not to dwell on that. But sometimes your heart can not control what your brain thinks.

All thoughts of camping ended when my Mom had her surgery. There were no more trips for the kids to enjoy, no more campfires and cracking jokes and cold beer. Every single moment since My Mom got sick has been about my Mom. Who is going to care for her this day and take her to the doctor that day? Who can pick up her prescriptions and help out with lawn care?

It has consumed our lives.

Not just mine and my families. But my two sisters as well.
And now that my sister Connie has taken it upon herself to care for my Mom full-time during the week there is a resentment and ugliness building.

She is getting to her breaking point.

It is so much for her to bare. Ans she resents my sister Elaine for not doing more. And I suppose in some ways me as well. She wants us to take on all weekend care and do it at my Mom's house. And I understand her much needed time away but it is not feasible for me to move my family to my Moms for the weekends to care for her. There is no room for my kids to sleep. No toys for them to play with, much less could they make noise.

It's coming to a head. The ugliness is approaching and I think we all know it. I fear it. I dread the words that will be said and the feelings that will be hurt.

As for my 3 brothers they play no part in my Moms care. One lives in another state and the other 2 are oblivious.

What will happen I do not know. I wish my Mom would just be willing to stay in my house on the weekends. I would love to have her here. But my sister Connie believes we are being selfish by not staying at her house. Her opinion. So be it.

And what truly makes me sad is that over the last 5 years my sisters, and our families have built this awesome bond. We spend holidays together, take trips together, have dinners together, we were this collective unit of good old fun. We made our own good times. And now...

I see that coming to an end.

So 2006 wasn't that gracious on the family front and 2007 looks like it will be iffy as well.

But I have hope.
Somehow I always manage to have hope.

Go tell someone you love them.
Life is too short.



queendebbee said...

I found your blog thru the Deck of Me challenge. I just wanted to let you know that I'm so sorry for you and what you are going through with your mom. I was the primary caregiver for my mother after she suffered a brain aneurysm & complications in 2003 so I can empathize with what you are going through...

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