I recently had a friend text me. She said that it is both a beautiful and hard time for me right now. She is right. But on that day I texted back, "Today it is just hard." She is one of those friends where you can be brutally honest, so I was.
We have had a lot of "just hard" days. Death and dying sucks. I haven't wanted to write a post because I don't want my blog turn into this whiny, depressed, rant...so instead I have stayed quiet for a little bit, and wept and grieved with my family.
It was really great to celebrate Christmas with my sister in town. Once again I needed to shift my expectations. One of the biggest side effects of the heart failure that my mom experiences is exhaustion. So she spends a good deal of time sleeping, or trying to sleep. So I tried to be grateful for every awake moment we had on that day. My mom also really struggles with eating right now. She has a lot of nausea and vomiting, and food rarely sounds good to her. But on that day she had two "helpings" of Christmas dinner. I laugh because her two helpings barely touched the one helping I had, but it was a small celebration none the less.
Saying goodbye to my sister was hard. Every time I leave my mom's house it is hard. Many times going to my mom's house is hard. It feels as though we currently live in this deep valley. While I want to run out of it with all my might, I also want to sit in it forever because I know my mom won't make it out with me. Mom-I will sit in this valley with you as long as you need. I will sit in the discomfort and the tears. I will sit in the sadness and the pain. I will sit right here until you are called home.
My mom has kind of plateaued. She is still really close to dying, yet in the same breath not quite there. It is hard with heart failure because 50% of the time, it is an arrhythmia that can start at anytime which would take her life. This is what I want and what I am rooting for (please forgive the fact that I am a wee bit morbid). The other half of the time death is caused by pump failure. Earlier she seemed to be consistently declining, but now we have some what leveled off in a shitty place. It is as though her body now holds her soul captive, and I pray often for it to be released. I pray for her to be able to go home to heaven all the time. I pray for this season to be over and for the ability to climb out of the valley. I pray because I want her to have peace. Pain free peace.
Until then I try to hold onto the fact that God is the giver and taker of life, and his timing is perfect. I also try to convince him that now is a good time. My mom told me the other day that she is ready for this all to be over. I agree. So I will continue to plead with God to take her home, and I will continue to absorb every last hug, memory, tear, and breath that I have with her.
Jon's mom was kind enough to bring over his ornaments from his tree growing up. Many people know that I am an ornament snob. The ugly ornaments go in the back, if they even make it on the tree, and all the visable ornaments are glass or metal and shimmer and shine in some fantastic way. My mother passed this lovely trait on to me, and because of it my tree is freaking beautiful. As Jon went through and reminisced about his ornaments, I bit my tongue as he hung them right in the front of the tree. He knew the rules. In that moment, I had my internal battle (I have a lot of these) where I debated about moving the ornaments when he went to sleep or letting them be. I'm sure in the future Grayson will make me some hideous ornament that I will love because he made it, and I would eventually have to let go of my ornament snootiness, but I didn't think I was going to have to do it this year.
Maybe it is because of how much we have had to grow this year, but I left the ornaments on the tree, right where Jon had put them. And looking at them now, I can see how they are a new kind of beautiful. I can see how our lives are a new kind of beautiful. Celebrating the fact that my mom ate dinner is a new kind of beautiful. Getting over the fact that I still carry most of my pregnancy weight and starting to accept myself is a new kind of beautiful. Looking at my skinny momma while she sleeps right now and appreciating the fact that there are no tears streaming down her face is a new kind of beautiful. In the past I would never have called this season of my life beautiful, but slowly I have learned. Just as I have learned that there is a place on our tree for ugly ornaments, slowly I am learning that this season is a piece of my life and my story.
So my friend was right. It is a beautiful and hard time for us right now, sometimes I just need to reframe it as a new kind of beautiful.