Monday, February 25, 2013

My Glue

I'm missing my glue.

With my mom being gone for a week now, I'm realizing all the smaller ways her life was woven into mine.  Whether it was good or bad, she was many times my mediator between me and family.  I could talk to her and hear updates on a multitude of people in one phone call.  I could ask her for advice on how to approach situations.

All families have their oddities.  Mine is no different.  Sometimes you need to be in the middle of it to see it and understand it.  So while I know there are many people that would take my phone call if I needed to vent or seek advice, but they just won't get it like she did.  It would take too much explanation.  It would be misinterpreted.

I'm probably not making much sense.

My mom was the common link that held many relationships together.  They can still be held together now but it will take a lot more work and intention on my part.

Maybe this isn't such a bad thing.  Maybe I need to put my big girl pants on and stop peeing in my pull-up.

Unfortunately I want to just sit in my pull-up and throw my tantrum at the moment.  thankyouverymuch.

Right now I just want her back. I want to call her and get her wisdom on what to do with my child and his crazy sleep habits, or lack there of.  I want her to come help me organize and clean my house, because honestly, who else besides your mom can you ask to do that?  While I love my husband dearly, we have different cleaning styles and it just isn't the same to spend a day organizing with him.

I have spent many a night crying as of late, as I am sure it was to be expected.  Last night I continued with my pull-up aged rant as I sobbed that it wasn't fair.  It wasn't fair for her to die.  It wasn't fair for me and my sisters to not have a mom.  It's not fair that Grayson won't remember his Nanny.  It's just not stinkin fair.

I don't know what runs through everyone else's head as they cry their face off, but my brain is telling me to just knock it off.  Just stop crying.  Because it is going to hurt no matter what.  While my exterior is expressing all of my hurt and falling apart, it has to fight with my interior to do so.  I want to logic away the pain.

I couldn't logic away the pain in Starbucks with Jon the other day.  Out of no where the tears just streamed down my face.  I couldn't call her.  In the busy moments of the day I forget that she is gone.  It feels like she is on an extended vacation, but surely she will come back.  Then I go to call her and my world crumbles once again.

Last night I was panic stricken because I felt like my memories were slipping away.  Why didn't I ask her to leave me one last voice mail?  Why didn't I beg her to write down all of her thoughts these last eight months? I saw this coming; why wasn't I more prepared?

So I will continue to slowly parent myself in this new normal.  I will always have my memories, and they will be enough.  The pain will ease and the tears won't always come so easily.  One day I will be going through my routine and I won't have so many people telling me that they are sorry for my loss.  At some point it won't sting so badly when they ask for you to think about your prayer requests at church and you want to tell God to go stuff it because he didn't heal your mom and that was the only prayer you wanted to come true for a long while.  One day I won't cry as I go through the mail.

But right now my heart is tender, and there is a lot of things that sting. Right now I still cry as I go through the mail and see all the donations made to the Make a Wish Foundation.  Right now this still sucks and I miss my glue.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Dear Mom

Below is the letter I wrote to my mom in her final days, and the letter that I read as a tribute to her at her service last night.

My mom's service was anything but easy. I tried to turn off every emotion as I hugged the multitude of people telling me they were "sorry for my loss."  What do you say?  Me too.  "This sucks ass" didn't really seem appropriate.  Having been with my mom in her last awful week, and having to complete all the tasks of this week, I'm guessing I had a little more time to process.  I was able to say goodbye.  I found myself wanting to comfort those that came to comfort me.

It was truly a beautiful service and a testament to my mom's life.  Pews were filled.  From friends and families from elementary school to people she just met a few years ago, she was loved by many.  I hope at the end of my life I will have impacted as many people as she did.

Dear Mom,

While I will never be ready to hang out on this side of heaven without you, I sit here and pray for you to go.  You are no longer comfortable and no longer living.  Your shallow breaths slowly space out as your body starts to turn off.  We leave this world just like we come into it, with very little control.  I wish you could have had more control these last few months.  I will continue to question why you didn't die after you coded in June, because we seemed to experience so much struggle and hurt since then.  But, I will take what I was given.  I will cherish the memories of you loving on my son.  I will hold tightly to my memories of resting in bed next to you as we welcomed 2013, because heaven forbid my baby let us sleep.  I will be a better nurse after watching people take care of you in the hospital for three long months.  While I, you, and our family are far, far from perfect, there is so much that you taught me and that I am thankful for.

Thank you for throwing gummy bears in Costco.  I hate the green ones.  You hate the green ones.  So pelting them over the aisles after ripping a bag open while grocery shopping was so beyond unfathomable to your perfectionist, type "A" personality daughter.  How we got matched up is beyond me.  I could have died on the inside as you flicked the first one and bopped someone in the head, but slowly I have learned to let go and break some rules.  I will continue to break rules because of you (within reason of course, lets not get too crazy).  And I will not freak out as my crazy little boy breaks rules.  You have taught me that this is part of life and sometimes it is easier to apologize than ask permission.  I hope I can teach Grayson to live life bravely.  To push the envelope.  I hope I can teach him to live a big life.  You lived big and I am grateful for the example.

Thank you for being insane enough to drive your teenage daughter all over the North West suburbs, and beyond in high school.  You knew I needed that group of friends and you sacrificed a lot to make it happen.  Thank you for supporting me when it wasn't easy for you.

Thank you for driving up to Michigan when my world fell apart.  This girl of yours was not O.K. up at college, and you knew it.  I struggled to make a it a week without coming home, and in my moments of sheer desperation and panic, you came.  I wasn't alone.  You challenged me to go away to school, but also came to comfort me when you knew I was slipping.  That was a rough year for me, and I was grateful for your strength holding me up.

Thank you for teaching me what a gift children are.  While you have loved many children in your life, thank you for building into Connor, Emme, Gavin, and Connor as if they were your own.  No one could compete with Nanny.  You were a second mother to so many, and you were a living example to me of how to play.  How to have fun.  How to love from your gut.  There was not a monopoly game too long, or a birthday party idea too crazy for you to not take it on. You have taught me how to invest in the next generation, and I am so grateful.  Not only did you invest and love on your own children, but those your spent your days with.  Being a nanny wasn't a job or a career for you, it was a way of living, and it is so evident in the relationships you built with those kids.  My heart breaks thinking of what they are losing as you leave this world.  I hope that someone builds into my kid the way you have built into them. 

I know this is ridiculous, but thank you for teaching me about the magic of Disney World.  Again, your cheap-ass daughter would find it absolutely insane to spend that kind of money on a gimmick like Disney World.  But you were right, as you walk through those gates, something changes, or it least it changed in your face and in Gavin and Connors'.  Maybe because you guys were able to embrace it so easily.  Maybe it is because you will forever have a heart for children.  But there is something magical about Disney World.  I cannot wait to break the rules and bring a pepper shaker filled with your ashes and sprinkle some on "It's a Small World" and "The Pirates of the Caribbean" rides.  TMI?  Too much?  Whatever, I'm doing it anyways.  I don't really care that it is illegal.  Let's just call the ashes magic fairy dust, and call it a day.  I will even put some glitter in there.  Everyone knows I love glitter.

Not only was Disney World magical with you, but you made Christmas come alive.  From the little traditions and decorations to an upside down Christmas tree, there was no one who did Christmas better than you.  (Auntie Bev is right there with you though.)  This Christmas season will be hard without you.  Hanging ornaments on my tree that were once yours will surely break me down again.  But I can't wait to hide my Elf on the Shelf for Grayson, or create the magic for him that you have created for me all these years.  Thank you for inviting Santa into our home.  Thank you for believing.  While we had very little all year, somehow Christmas always felt so full.

Thank you for teaching me how to have an open home.  Regardless of where we were living, or how small the apartment was, thank you for teaching me that homes were meant to be shared.

Thank you for laughing until you pissed your pants.  Often.  Life is fun.  Things are funny.  And it is O.K. to laugh and cross your legs in desperation while you are unable to catch your breath.  Go big or go home.

I will hold back at your service.  I will want to channel my inner Ellen Degeneres and ask the audience to get up and dance to "Sexy Back" with me.  But I won't.  I will follow the rules a little bit here.  But know I am often dancing with you in my heart.

While I know you were far from perfect, you were the perfect momma for me.  Which gives me hope that I am the perfect momma for Grayson, despite my numerous imperfections.  This is not meant to sound like a bunch of fluff.  At some point we all learn that our parents are human, and they make mistakes. This is life, and life is messy, and I'm so glad that I was able to live in this mess with you.  I'm grateful that I was able to experience so many of my firsts, with you.  I'm thankful for the millions of tears I cried while being cradled in your arms.  I'm thankful for all of the moments, big and small, that we got to share.  I am thankful for you, sweet momma.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

God and F-bombs

Today I am angry.  Overwhelmingly furious.

I haven't really cried today, or thought about missing my mom.  Today I escaped into task mode.

I planned the memorial service with Jon and the pastor that married us.  He also baptized my mom and has walked these last 8 months with us.  I didn't cry.  I just got it done.

Then I signed papers to have my mom cremated.  Ugh. Yuck. Expletive.

I think there is validity to the stages of grief and also for acknowledging all your emotions.  After planning the service, the pastor prayed for us.  Instead of crying or listening to the pertinent things he said, I just swore like crazy inside my head.

Yup.  High quality girl right here.

But you know what, if God isn't big enough to handle my F-bombs, then he isn't the God I want to worship. I am wrecked.  This last week wrecked me.  Watching my mom suffer put a bigger hole in my heart than losing her.

Maybe in years I will look back at this post and regret my honesty.  Maybe I will grow up and no longer need to use such words to describe my anger.  Maybe I can buy a thesaurus and expand my vocabulary.

But today, I admit the fact that I am pissed off, that I swear my head off, I scream at God, and I still love Jesus.

Today the world isn't all unicorns and rainbows.  Today I am not seeing the brighter side of things.  Today I am being completely real and feeling my pain and anger deep in my gut.  Today I am pissed off at the suffering that my mom had to endure, and the suffering that exists in this world, and I think suffering angers and saddens the heart of God as well.

Thank you for everyone who has sent a text or an email.  Thank you for loving us through this struggle.  Thank you for being present.  Thank you for loving me even with my immature vocabulary.

Today I am thankful for the fact that the God I worshiped prior to June of 2012 is the same God I worship today.  I am grateful that God is still good.  His heart is breaking with mine and he is holding my mom in his arms.  Holding onto hope, even if only by a thread.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The World Keeps Spinning

While my reality seems to have stopped in its tracks, the world keeps spinning.  The laundry still piles up, the dishes haven't started washing themselves, and the socks still refuse to be matched.  The world keeps moving, and I waffle between wanting to beg it to speed up or plead for it to slow down.

Each day that passes is one further from the memories of my mom.  I want to hold on desperately to my last conversations with her.  I want to remember Grayson at this stage, when he was last in her arms.

At the same time I desperately want this season of heartache and grief to be over.  I want to stop crying.  I want my house to no longer be littered with Kleenex.

Today we started cleaning out my mom's bedroom.  Luckily my mom doesn't own a ton of stuff.  I am normally someone who throws out everything.  No need to hang onto crap.  But today, today I hung on to stupid stuff. I hung on to dumb candles and vases.  I didn't want to give up one memory or tangible reference to my mom's place in this world.  I know it will get easier, I know time will heal.  I know my memories are more important than her sweatshirt, but today I couldn't part with that damn holey sweatshirt...even though I had another one of hers.  New profession: hoarding.

Today Grayson rolled over for the first time.  So I stopped in my tracks and cried because I couldn't text that milestone to my mom.  Who else would really care if my son rolled over?  Big deal, it's what babies do.  So instead I slowly collected myself and texted my sisters.  They would care.  Slowly my go-to people will change.  Slowly I won't reach for the phone to tell my mom something dumb.  Some other sucker in my life will be blessed with those little tidbits of knowledge.

Please pray as I drag my feet through this week.  One in front of the other, one in front of the other.  Tomorrow we meet with the funeral director and pastor to discuss the service, then I get to meet with the funeral home to discuss those details.  Awesome.

There will be a service to honor my mom's life this Friday at Willow Creek Community Church in Barrington in the chapel. Visitation will be at 6.  The service will be at 7.

I don't want to go.  I pretty much had a panic attack about trying to organize pictures for a slide show and not wanting to hurt anyone's feelings if I couldn't find a photo of them, but I can't find pictures with my mom and everyone she loved, because the woman hated the camera.  It seems slightly inappropriate to show a slide show of images where she is giving me the hand, but we have slim pickings.  Slim unorganized pickings at that.

This is just hard.  Today was just hard.  Tomorrow will be hard.  I guess I am grateful that the world keeps spinning so that I am no longer stuck in this week.

Mixed Emotion

Please pardon my utter honesty as I use this space to process my heart ache.

It's 5 in the morning, and surprisingly, I can't sleep.  I could blame it on the fact that I work night shift, but that would be some bull hockey. I can't sleep because it keeps hitting me.  Like waves that continue to splash along the beach, grief and sadness continue to slap me in the face... wave by wave.

Don't get me wrong, I am so incredibly happy and grateful that my mom is no longer suffering, that she is now truly in paradise.  Tears of joy slip down my face as I picture her in the arms of her creator and reuniting with her sisters and parents.  I don't cry tears of sadness for her, just for us on this side of heaven.

But for those on this side of heaven, my heart hurts like all those before me who have ever lost a parent.

This is normal.  Death is a part of life.  Losing a parent.  But for some reason, it feels anything but normal.

After sending out my S.O.S. for prayers last night, my mom became more comfortable.  She no longer woke up or moved herself.  She no longer seemed to be in pain.  So we did what we could to keep it that way.  We were all at the house, in and out of the room, sorting through pictures yesterday.  Because breastfeeding brings your right back to reality, I had gone in the bedroom to pump when I realized that my mom was being welcomed at heaven's gates.  All it took was one glance at my sister and everyone surrounded her as she took her final breaths.

As I held my mom's hand, I felt my heart rip in half with mixed emotion.

I was relieved, I wanted this.  I was desperately sad, and wanted her back.  But I didn't want back what I had in that moment, I wanted all of her back.

So we kissed her goodbye and all broke down.  What felt like an eternity, waiting for that moment, was gone in an instant.  I assume for a while I will continue to cry as I slowly realize the brutal reality that she is gone.

I am trying to quiet my heart.  I am trying to quiet the anxiety that is yelling out the "what ifs."  I am trying to quiet the regret of not asking enough questions.  I am trying to shut up the panic that screams that I don't know how to make her favorite fudge recipe, or that I can't ask her parenting questions.  I know it is O.K. to have all these feelings, but I also want to remember that what needed to be said, was.

I loved my mom, and she knew it.  My mom loved me, and I knew it.

My mom passed away and I didn't have anything left to say, at least not anything of true importance.  My aunt can teach me how to make fudge, and there is a village of support who can rally around us as we parent our child.  The "what ifs" don't really matter, because you cannot change the past.  This was our road to walk.  Every single step.  From the original heart attack, through the ups and downs of those scary nights in late June, to the hope of a transplant, the generosity of a fundraiser, the insane support of pictures and prayers, to the crushing reality of hospice.  This was our road.

I don't really like my road at the moment.  I also don't like the fact that I am awake right now, as my baby sleeps for the longest he has ever slept before, yet once again breastfeeding has thrust me back into reality as I woke up and could not go back to sleep until I resolved the issue that I had boulders for boobs.  Thank you for sleeping 8 hours sweet baby.  Mommy appreciates it. If you continue such things once my body adjusts I would appreciate that as well.

Hopefully I will be able to go back to sleep. I know that time will heal, and things will get easier.  While I don't want my life without my mom to become my new normal, it will.  These very raw moments from the end will fade, and I will once again be able to celebrate and remember the amazing woman she truly was.  But for now I will keep walking my road.  I will keep putting one foot in front of the other and let the waves of heart ache and relief hit me simultaneously.

I hope my mom's first day in heaven was a blast.  I hope God find's "Sexy Back" appropriate, so she could dance with the angels to a song she loved.    

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Goodnight Sweet Momma

My mom used to always say the same thing to us when she would put us to sleep as kids.

"Goodnight, sleep tight, sweet dreams, see you in the morning, I love you."

Today I said goodnight to my momma for the last time.

May angels lead you into heaven.  May you be in awe of your Creator.  May you feel more love than you ever knew possible.  May you feel peace once again.  May you rest in Jesus' arms.

Goodnight sweet Momma, I'll see you one day, again.  I love you.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Limbo Land

No one can prepare you for limbo land.  After being in this place for the last five days, I still feel ill-equipped and unprepared.

On Monday night my mom got the idea in her head that if she got up and walked to the bench in her room she would be more comfortable.  So, like the crazy person that she is, she got up, walked to the bench, discovered it was not comfortable, and walked back to bed.  My mother hadn't walked since Thanksgiving.

At some point Monday night she believes she had another heart attack.  The plan was for her to have another massive heart attack and be done. End of story.  Fall asleep instantly and painlessly and never wake up.  We have all said our peace, and I was fully on board with this plan.  Instead my mother started having shortness of breath and some back pain.  The same signs she had when she had her original heart attack back in June.

She let us all know on Tuesday, and we have been slowly declining since then.  Painfully slowly.  It started with panic attacks about not being able to breath and slowly we have watched her body start to shut down, but not nearly fast enough.  This is crippling.  For her and for my soul.  There is no way to prepare your heart to watch someone you love the most in this world suffer, with so little that you can do about it.  In all honesty it has been gut wrenchingly awful.

Since Wednesday we haven't really had any conversations.  A word here or there, trying to get her comfortable.  She was still in there, deep inside, but today she seems to look past you when she opens her eyes at all.  Her soul desperately wanting to go home, but her 54 year old organs still trying to fight for life.

We continue to sit around her and pray for God to mercifully end this.  To take her now.  Hospice said 48-72 hrs, which would have brought us to Friday.  I wish this had ended on Friday.

No one can prepare you for this.  You can't start grieving because she is still here, and it feels like I have been slowly trying to let her go since we got the news that she was not eligible for a transplant.  You want her to feel nothing but love as you sit around that bed, but slowly everyone becomes emotionally exhausted and worn down.  You feel like the world has stopped and have no clue when it will start moving again.  You can't move forward or make a plan.

So we continue to sit in the shit; we continue to sit in limbo land.  We continue to offer water, to help her move, or anything that we can grasp at to try and make this the littlest bit more bearable.

Please continue to pray for peace.  Please pray for my momma to have her upgrade. Please pray for patience for my family, and for me.  Please pray for strength for us to continue on this road, until I can kiss her sweet face goodbye.

No one can prepare you for limbo land, or to lose a parent, so we will keep learning moment by moment.  One foot in front of the other, until she can walk through heaven's gates.  Go home, sweet mama.  Go home.  

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Too Hard

Right now this feels too hard.  Can you please pray for us?  Hoping my mom will find her peace on the other side of heaven shortly.  While I want to hang on to my mom forever, peace cannot come soon enough.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Precious Gifts

How did we get here?

How did my dumb little blog about home improvements and my utterly boring life turn into something so beautiful.  I'm procrastinating.  It's what I do fairly well.  So instead of changing the laundry, I decided to go back through old blog posts and scrolled through all the pictures of people praying for my mom for her birthday.  So instead of doing laundry I just sat here and cried over the fact that people were willing to take the time and pray and take a picture.  What a precious gift.

I keep reminding myself that we were meant to walk this road.  That there is a purpose to the pain.  Lately it has been harder to think about losing my mom.  Of course it is a journey and the pain ebbs and flows like the sea. Some days I am on board with her upgrading to heaven, other days I'm not, for purely selfish reasons.  Yesterday my mom gave my sisters and me a gift.  My cousin Debbie had found "Goodnight Moon" books where you can record the audio for each page.  So my mom recorded her voice reading these books so that Grayson will always be able to listen to her read, and my sister's future children can as well.  So I just sat and cried as I listened to my mom read to my son.  What a precious gift.

Today a friend from church watched Grayson for a couple hours for me to sleep after working all night.  And then my son, yes my son, slept in bed with me for 4 hours.  Holy crap what a precious gift.  Hopefully there are no repercussions from that gift later tonight.

Every now and then I think I should take down the fund raiser on my blog now that the disability checks have started for my mom.  But I don't want to because it is a constant reminder that we are deeply loved and cared for.  Just thinking about that whole experience makes me cry a little harder.  What a precious gift.

On Wednesday, my friend Amy is coming over to visit.  I had written about her earlier, pleading for prayers.  I hope one day she will write down her story and her experience so that I can share it.  The fact that she is alive and I am able to reintroduce Grayson to one of the first people that met him, is beyond a precious gift.  I cannot wait to watch Amy walk down the aisle in May.  I will surely sob my face off.

Right now this road and this journey feel hard and heavy.  My mom is declining again, which in her funny and twisted way she is thrilled about.  She has a great deal of peace and excitement to walk into heaven's gates.  She is using the oxygen a lot more and she is having more panic attacks in the middle of the night or when she has to get up to use the bathroom.  Her foot really hurts, but due to the side effects she doesn't want to take pain medicine.  A couple days ago I was sitting in bed with Grayson as my mom tickled him and my son started to laugh for the first time.  Don't get me wrong, his bottled up snort still has a ways to go until it is a full blown belly laugh, but my mom sat there clutching her ribs for quite some time because Grayson had her laughing so hard that she probably burned more calories than she ate in the entire day.  What a precious gift.

Grayson continues to be a precious gift in my life.  Who could deny that fact looking at this little nutter butter?  This monkey is going to give us a run for our money.  Who has this much energy before bed and enjoys standing like that when he isn't even 4 months old?

I am so thankful for all the precious gifts in my life.  I am going to stop crying about it now and go do the laundry.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Every now and again I get a little taste of what life is truly about.  I want to figure out how to bottle up the essence of life, because those little bottles would be potent and hold great capacity for change.

Recently when I lived in a home of sickies, I put some essential peppermint oil in our humidifier.  I usually function on the mentality of "some is good and more is better", so one drop surely wouldn't be enough.  So I load my humidifier with what will surely clear out my nasal passages and help me to breathe better and turn that sucker on.  Within a half hour I could no longer enter that room or my eyes would tear up as if I was chopping a bushel of onions and now my wall has an oil stain on it.  That little bit off peppermint essence was some potent stuff and forever changed my bedroom wall which I have no desire to repaint.  Maybe in this case more was just stronger.

Of course there are the obvious things that we wish we could bottle up and keep forever.  Weddings and births.  My wedding will forever be seared into my mind as one of the most amazing days of my life. Grayson's birth as well.  Grayson's birth went beyond what I expected in so many ways.  It rocked me to my core because of the other situations surrounding that day on top of the fact that I was meeting my son for the first time.  I did not want to admit to myself that I was in labor, and I think I ignored the fact that I was pregnant for a good number of months while trying to sleep in hospital chairs next to my mom.  In my planners heart, that was not what my pregnancy experience was going to look like, and I surely would have given birth with my momma there.

Inevitably things do not always go according to our plans.  And regardless of my plan it was good none the less.  I was surrounded by love and cared for by people who care deeply about me.  Everyone knew the circumstances beyond those four walls and realized the magnitude of this event in my life.  While I was mourning the fact that my mom couldn't physically be there that night, others helped me to remember that it was a miracle she could be there at all.  Those first moments meeting your baby, and even more so, that first night where it is just the three of you is a perfect example of radical love and the essence of life.

The other day my mom finally mailed a project she she had worked on for a long time.  She had a friend she met through blogging who truly inspired her.  This woman walked with radical faith and had adopted many, many kiddos.  For some time my mom wrote down ways in which this woman's words made a difference in her life and how her story mattered to my mom and she made a scrap book out of it.  I looked at my mom the other day sobbing happy tears in bed as she was reading on her phone.  Her friend had received the scrap book and was blown away.  My mom didn't have to take the time to do that.  She could have just sent a little quick email.  But instead she created a memory that was an example of the essence of life.  As my mom's tears once again streamed down her cheeks, I was reminded how important it is to slow down and support each other in little and small ways.

My sister called me the other day.  She received her electric bill.  It was way beyond what she had estimated and in the moment she was completely overwhelmed.  The next piece of mail she opened had a note from a family that she recently nannied for, but hasn't been able to since needing to stay with my mom more.  It just said that they loved her and missed her, and it included a check for just a little more than that heating bill.  That family didn't owe my sister anything, but that gesture had my sister, mom, and cousin in tears for a good long time.  Another example of the essence of life and the power of love and people.

Maybe I am more keenly aware and in touch with these moments because I am holding onto every last morsel of goodness that I can experience with my mom, but I don't want to lose this appreciation for love and the essence of life when she is gone.  I want to teach my son to experience it sooner and to help create it for others.  I want to be a vessel that can bless people.  I want my life to be about more than just myself, my family, and my career.  I want to be fully engaged and present in the big and small moments, because I want to truly experience the essence of life on a daily basis.

My mom is doing pretty well.  She is holding steady.  She is only able to get up to use the bathroom, otherwise we hang with her in bed.  The food network has been our entertainment as of late, and my mom has actually been able to eat a decent amount.  Unfortunately she still isn't really able to swallow pills and we have not been able to manage the pain in her foot.  Prayers for the pain to decrease, and for her to be able to sleep and be comfortable would be greatly appreciated.