Friday, June 19, 2015

Maggie and I have a lot in common

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

If you've been reading the blog on a regular basis, you know that Maggie recently lost her mother.  Well, now so have I.

Maggie's Mom was in relatively good health until recently. So was my mother, except she'd been living under a death sentence since August, with the oncologist (a particularly unpleasant woman) telling her in September that she had six months to live.  My mother took the news with grace. She said, "I've had a wonderful life and I feel very lucky." She never cried. She never felt sorry for herself, and she rarely even mentioned when she was in pain.

So, we made the best of the time she had left. We spent time at our family cottage (until it got too cold). We went out to lunch and had toasts. She made her famous bread stuffing and creamed onions for Thanksgiving, and again for Christmas. She was happy. She had the greatest attitude.

I wish I could say I felt the same way. I woke up every day with dread. When will I lose my mother? 

Mum did well until mid-February when she started saying, "I don't feel right." The cancer was beginning to spread, but we went out to lunch one last time and she ate her entire fish fry. I think that was the last decent meal she ate.  Soon after, she had to deal with nausea that wouldn't go away. Those in chaerge of her care kept insisting my mother use over-the-counter meds. They didn't help. She started losing weight. She lost twenty pounds in about three weeks because even the thought of food made her nauseous.

I did everything I could to find something she could eat.  I even learned to make the perfect poached egg Julia Child style. (Although it was actually a Gordon Ramsey video on YouTube that make that possible.)

Then she entered hospice care.  A nurse came to visit her twice a week. Things didn't get better. The nurse had no better luck at getting someone to treat Mom's increasing pain and the nausea.  I had to throw a temper tantrum to get SOMEBODY to listen, and my mother was finally put on a different medication that made a world of difference.  But by then she'd lost the will to eat.

Mom started feeling weaker, so my brother and I asked her to abandon her cane and use my Dad's old walker if she was alone in the house. A week later, we hired home health aids to stay with her at night, while my brother and I kept after the social worker about finding a bed in a hospice home.  Ten days later, Mum was invited to go to Mt. Carmel House.  A place to die.

The day I drove her away from her home of 15 years for the last time, she never even looked back.

For me, it meant I no longer had to run down the road four or five times a day to make sure she was okay. That she was eating, that she took her meds. To put on and take off her compression stockings. I was pretty frazzled, but then suddenly -- she wasn't in my care anymore. Though I went to visit her twice a day (put a lot of miles on my car and listened to a bunch of audiobooks on the way to and from the home), it was very stressful ... because once she went to Mt. Carmel, she gave up. Every day she slipped away a little more. Every day I left Mt. Carmel in tears. 

Mum stayed at Mt. Carmel for six weeks. Six weeks where I felt helpless and like I'd failed her.  Our last real conversation happened about ten days before she passed.  In her own way, she knew if she didn't say what she needed to say, I would never hear it. It was difficult for her, but she told me she loved me. She told me she was proud of me.  She told me she wanted me to have a lot more success in my career.

The nurses gave her exceptional care. I know how my Dad suffered in the hospital and the nursing home. The care he received was adequate (by their terms, not mine). The nurses and volunteers at Mt. Carmel were absolutely selfless. If there was anything my mother wanted (such as Bird's Custard), someone jumped in the car, went to the grocery store, and bought it. She wanted lemonade? They made her lemonade.

Mum passed away last Saturday evening, nine months and three days after the oncologist gave her six months to live. She used to joke that she didn't know if she should die sooner or hang on much longer just to thwart that woman who couldn't seem to muster an ounce of compassion.  (Believe me, she will die horribly in one of my future books.)

Mum asked me not to talk about her publicly until she was gone. She didn't want her Facebook friends to feel sorry for her, as a bunch of them were also my readers. That was the kind of person she was. She never wanted to stand in the limelight, but she supported me in everything I ever wanted to do.

But my Mum was a superstar to me. She and my Dad both were. My mother could sew. She made a lot of her own clothes when she lived in England, and when I was a little girl, she made a lot of mine, too. She once worked in a tailor shop and learned a lot. She made beautiful quilts, like this one I gave to Mt. Carmel so that other people would know that Valerie "Pat" Bartlett was an extremely talented needlewoman. She like to hand- and machine knit and made some beautiful sweaters. (For more than forty years, she hand-knitted all my Dad's socks.)

Mum was a great cook.  Her prime rib dinners were the stuff of legend. The only thing that eluded her was baking cookies. For some reason, hers never came out all that good -- but who cared, because everything else was great.

My Mum also had two green thumbs.  She was a great gardener. She could grow anything. She and Dad were organic gardeners long before organic became mainstream. Her orchids bloomed again and again. She kept African violets for years and they bloomed and bloomed and bloomed, too.


My Mum gave me the wonderful gift of a love of reading. She introduced me to mysteries (well, romantic suspense) when I was 11 or 12.  I was bored one summer day and she thrust a Readers Digest Condensed book in my hand and said, "Read this."  It was Ammie Come Home by Barbara Michaels.  I loved it so much, she bought me the hardcover (unabridged) edition (and probably another eight or ten of Ms. Michaels books--in hardcover!).  I'm a writer today, because I came from a house where reading was encouraged. We took both newspapers, Time and Newsweek (and a bunch of other) magazines, and our house was filled with books. When I brought Mr. L home to meet the parents, he knew he was going to like them because there were so many books on their shelves.


Not many people I know would have wanted to take a vacation, let alone 10-15 vacations, with their parents.  But I did.  Mr. L and I traveled with my parents to England (Scotland and Wales) twice; Italy, Canada (several times), Washington, Williamsburg, San Francisco, Lancaster PA, Bar Harbor, Portland, Boston ... I can't remember them all right now, but we kept going with my Mum and Dad because they knew how to travel.  We always had a great time.  Mr. L did not have a happy relationship with the in-laws from his first marriage.  He considered my Mum and Dad to be his best friends. (How lucky is that for a daughter?)

My Mum was almost 80 when she got her first computer. She loved to play Mahjong and do jigsaw puzzles online. She checked her email a couple of times a day, and she loved to read about what family and friends and her favorite authors were doing on Facebook.  (The last book she read was Duffy's Demise in Denim. She told me, "That Bruce Willis is always up to something!")

I have many, many happy memories of my mother. Like this picture that I took last summer at our family's summer cottage during a "girls only" weekend. Look at that smile. That's how I want to remember my Mum.

But right now I'm hurting. Like Maggie, I haven't been able to do much writing for the past couple of months. Back in January, I started a piece that came out earlier this week. Thinking about death so much, I knew the only way I could get through what was to come was to write about it. I turned to Jeff Resnick to channel my upcoming grief.  I literally wrote that story one paragraph at a time.  One day I might write 100 words, the next I might write only 25.  I kept going and tried to work on other projects, but as my Mum weakened, it was all I could do to get through the day.  (Thank goodness I have the most compassionate and the best editor on the planet.)

As Maggie blogged earlier this week, she's trying to adjust to the new normal without her mother.  Me, too. Like Maggie, I'm trying to find some structure, a new routine. It's still too new and raw, but I'm hoping that I can find that new normal and adjust. Time is my best ally right now. I need to get back to writing. It's what keeps me going. What keeps me sane. Tricia and Angelica are waiting. So are Katie, Tori and Kathy, and Amanda.

Mr. L (and Leann and Ellery) keep telling me to stop beating myself up, and it was actually Mr. L that said something that really resonated. "No matter what you or anyone else did, the outcome was going to be the same." And I can hear my Mum telling me, "Oh, Lorraine--please don't cry."  (But I still can't help it.)

I'm not the only person who ever lost her Mum, and many people left lovely condolences on Facebook that made me cry and made me smile. The ones I like best were the shared memories of their mothers.

Do you have a memory of your mother you'd like to share?  If so, please leave a comment.

(P.S.  I promise to have a shorter post next week.)

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lorraine---I'm so sorry for you and Mr. L on the lose of your mother. No matter the cause and the time, it's always too soon. I previously made some comments about my Mom when Leann blogged about her mother but want to add a couple more thoughts. We also grew up in a family who loved reading although Mom hid "The Exorcist" when we were coming home from college. Since that movie really affected me (nightmares for years), that was ok. She wasn't the best cook in the world but she made real mincemeat with venison, chokecherry juice, raisins, and some kind of fat. Best I've ever tasted! She loved to wear red, and when the Rasneshees were in Oregon, she would often travel on the bus through the part of the state they had taken over. She would wear a red sweater and wear a cross on the outside of her clothing to show her beliefs. Cordella

Lorraine Bartlett said...

Thanks for sharing memories of your mother. I never saw The Exorcist, but I did see the first Alien movie and slept with the light on for a few nights.

Jeannie D. said...

Bless your heart. I understand what you are going through. My Mama passed away in March after a year long illness. She never learned to drive and after my Daddy, a Veteran lost his legs to a back injury from his service in the Army, I did all of their running and taking them to doctors. After Daddy passed away and Mama started getting Dementia I had to do everything for her. At the end my daughter and I were taking 7 in the evening until 7 the next evening shifts. It was very hard. I felt so guilty when the doctors finally told me she needed more care than we could give her at home. Like you, everyday I drove away from the hospice/nursing home I cried. I had always promised her that I would never let her go to a nursing home. She gave up and wouldn't eat or talk. I have had a very hard time adjusting to not taking care of her. I still catch my self getting ready to call her or thinking I should take this or that to her. She loved anything out of the garden, so now every time I pick something out of the garden I think about her. She was an excellent southern cook. She made the best corn cakes and peanut butter fudge. I have learned how to make the fudge but my corn cakes just aren't like hers. Life goes on, and it does get a little easier each day. They are gone but will forever be in our hearts. My Daddy has been gone 4 years as of yesterday and I still think of him everyday. I think the hardest part of losing someone isn't having to say goodbye but having to learn to live without them.

Denise Zendel said...

What a lovely tribute for your mother. My mother was a horrible mother (and she did it nine times), but one of the finest people I know. She was the kind of co-worker that if she wasn't at work, everyone missed her. And she was funny. She gave me my love of classic clothes, good homemade fudge, and the shopping gene.

You saw your mom out with dignity, you did not let her go alone and she went knowing that you loved her. I think this is all that anyone can ask. My sincere condolences.

Lorraine Bartlett said...

Thank you, Denise. I'm sure missing her, that's for sure.

mary kennedy said...

Lorraine, what a beautiful, inspiring post! As I read it, I realized more and more that your mother is always with you. She is with you in every word you write, in your love of nature and beauty and in the warm friendships you have forged with so many readers and authors. So happy you shared these reminiscences with us. She was a remarkable lady and so are you. Sometimes it helps to remember that the only thing worse than losing her...would be to not have had her at all. Hugs, my sweet friend.

Lorraine Bartlett said...

Oh, Jeannie, your words are exactly how I feel. I don't know what to do with myself in the mornings because I'm used to going to her house or the hospice home. My brother came over last night and said he doesn't know what to do with himself in the evenings, because if he wasn't working, we spent every evening with my mother. They would watch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. My brother bought my mother flowers at least once (and sometimes three times a week) for at least the last ten years. (Sometimes she used to joke that her living room looking like a funeral parlor because of all the flowers.) He told her he wasn't going to put flowers on a grave. He wanted her to enjoy them. She did.

Vicki said...

My sympathies for your loss. I lost my Momma in November after a 15 month battle with cancer. I was her caregiver the entire time. Although she said she would never seek treatment if she got cancer,when diagnosed she decided she had too much left to do and we left Virginia for Houston. She had the best medical team in the world, I am sure of it, and after chemo and radiation her PET was clear of cancer of cancer after 10 months. Unfortunately, the cancer returned in September and since it was not curable she returned home and after consulting with her doctor here, who must have learned bedside manner with your mother's doctor, she entered hospice care. Hospice had doctors to see to her needs and came twice a week. We had a wonderful hospice experience, what wonderful people. While her doctor told her she had at least a year, Momma passed away 9 weeks after returning home. She was always in good spirits and we had time to say and plan all the things that needed to be done. I had my list of things I would do, not do and since we loved to travel together, the places I would visit. My mother also gave me my love of reading in general and mysteries in particular. There are good days, bad days and awful days but good days will come more often in time. I know your husband is right in my mind but in my heart I too feel I failed her in some way. As I go to bed every night with her iPod to listen to audiobooks and the quilt she made for me when I graduated high school though I hope she knows I did my best and wouldn't trade that time, difficult at times, for anything. I hope you find your good days soon. I think our Moms are together discussing books, travel, sewing and quilting.

Lorraine Bartlett said...

Thank you, Mary.

Lorraine Bartlett said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Vicki. I hope my Mum and your Mom are talking books and quilting. I like that thought.

Joy Scaggs said...

I'm so sorry to learn of your mothers passing. She will always be with you. I lost my mother to brain cancer when I was 10 years old. At that time we took care of my mom at home. Our dining room is where she stayed with all the noisy breathing machines. I helped to keep her clean and I fed her through a tube in her nose. Mom died June 7 1962 My birthday was the 9th. The one good memory I have is before she became so sick , she would brush my hair and sing You are my Sunshine . Funny after all these years in my mind I hear her beautiful tenor voice singing to me in the night. Love and prayers to you my dear friend.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Lorraine. This is one of the most beautiful things I have read in a very long time. I am so glad that you and your mother had the relationship that you did. {{hug}}

Diane LaBrie Leverson said...

As I read your post I was crying. You have such wonderful memories, keep thinking of them and the fun you had with your mother. My Mother died in 2000. She had a stroke and they put a tube in her stomach so she could get food. She only lived about a year after that and I moved her to a nursing home hear in Ct. She had lived about an hour away in Ma. She couldn't drive so I went up every week after my Dad passed in 1976. We would go shopping and out to eat. Like you My husband and I took my parents on vacations with us. Then just Mom and in 1991 when my husband died it was just Mom and me and once in a while with my best friend. We didn't go too far. DC where she thought the building were so white and asked if they washed them all the time. We went to Williamsburg several times and she loved it. To Cape Cod for 15 years in a cottage by the ocean. Pa and the Amish country were she went wild in all the outlets. To Maine too and many other places. Mom was a lot of fun but I do remember getting annoyed with her when I was young. She didn't always seem so much fun then. Now I am just like her and annoy my son too. LOL Sometimes I look in a window and see my reflection and think it is her. I really don't think I look like her but at times I guess I must. I also think you look like your Mom and once in a while you will see her in a reflection too when you are not thinking of her. Like I have said before, talk to her she will know what you are saying and might even answer you in some way. I still talk to my father and once in a while I hear some music right after I do that he loved and is not popular at all. Classical music. Once I even got some mail the next day from the Angel Record Co. Some will say it's a coincidence but I'm not so sure. It's always after I have been upset and talked to him. LOve to you and Mr L.

Lorraine Bartlett said...

What a beautiful memory. My mother got cancer for the first time in 1962. We were lucky she survived. I'm so sorry you lost your mother at such a tender age.

Lorraine Bartlett said...

We had our days ... but for the most part, we got along very well. (Especially on vacation. Oh, we had FUN!)

Lorraine Bartlett said...

What wonderful memories you have of your mother (and dad). I asked my mother to send me pennies from heaven. So far I've found three (in a week)! That's a LOT. I'm putting them in a special (pretty) jar to remember her by.

Leann Sweeney said...

What a beautiful tribute to the relationship you had with your mom and also your dad. You are a special person and that didn't happen by accident. I am so so sorry for your loss. :-(

Lorraine Bartlett said...

Thank you, Leann. (((((((((((((((U)))))))))))))))

Anonymous said...

My mother died 35 years ago. Every time I read about someone losing their mom I cry for all of us. I worry about my sons when I die. My mom also knitted and quilted. She was a chemist and she said it helped her relax. The big quilting frame was in the dining room. She taught me how to see on my grandmother's treadle machine. She was so delighted when my dad surprised her with an Electric Singer in a Real Cabinet! I still use it. It has all metal parts. I'm told these machines are valuable. What's really valuable are everything she imparted to me. I wish I could tell her.

Diane LaBrie Leverson said...

May you find many more Pennies from Heaven Lorraine.

Linda Reilly said...

Lorraine, I am so, so sorry for your sad loss. What a beautiful woman your mom was--compassionate and kind and fun to be with. I love the photo you posted. My heart and prayers go out to you and to Mr. L. Together you all made such a wonderful family. I hope that the joyful memories you cherish will be able to give you some comfort.

Maggie Sefton said...

Ohhhh, Lorraine, your post about your mother just squeezed my heart again. Warrior Maggie wanted to grab her sword and slice off that oncologist's head and all those unfeeling medical personnel you and she encountered on her final journey. Thank God your mom finally was in the hands of those caring and loving people at Hospice. That was a blessing to be sure. And I want you to know within, where it counts and where it hurts, that you were a wonderful and caring daughter and no one else could have done as much for her. YOU were the blessing in her life. Please Believe that. She is at peace and out of pain. Your mom and mine were both part of the Greatest Generation. They worked hard and they did not complain, and they are probably sharing stories right now. That love of reading and books was passed down. That is a treasure. We are both so very fortunate to have been raised by such magnificent women. Sendling Blessings to you. Be at Peace, Lorraine.

Cynthia Hogue said...

My mother died three weeks ago. Needless to say the tears are flowing as I read your blog. Just when I think I have a handle on my emotions my grief comes flooding back. The smallest thing, a comment or memory, can either bring on smiles or tears, or sometimes both. As I rehash the past year in particular I question whether I did enough, said the right things, hugged as often as I should have, was I a good daughter? It was a rough year for my mom. In less than a year she lost my oldest brother, her sister-in-law/best friend, brother-in-law, brother and her beloved dog. She had few friends left and wasn't able to get together with those still living. My dad lost his battle with cancer 12 years ago. I often wondered why she still had a desire to live while so many of those most important to her were gone. She was almost blind and for the most part immobile and life was a struggle. My siblings and I had healthcare workers come in to her home during the week so that we could maintain our jobs/careers and then took over on the weekends. My husband and I struggled with the idea of moving her in with our family. Ultimately it didn't happen because she wanted to stay in her own home and I needed to continue working for income. Will I regret that decision forever...maybe. I'm convinced that God eventually takes those souls back to a childlike state so that they can endure requiring the help of others for everyday things, the humiliation of needing assistance with personal care needs, allowing their children to provide and care for them as they did when we were children. How lovely that the love and care a parent gives to their child someday turns around so that the child loves and cares for them the same way. About 2 months ago mom went to the hospital with a severe UTI and sepsis and then to rehab. Ironically she died suddenly and unexpectedly of a blood clot in the lung. In the last year my mom took to singing songs from her youth and a favorite was "You Are My Sunshine". We played it at her funeral and I now find myself humming or singing it. It brings me comfort. Experience tells me that I will eventually stop crying and remember her in happier times when she was full of life. I pray the same for you. My thoughts are with you.

Lorraine Bartlett said...

I cry when I read the posts on Facebook, too. ((((((((((U)))))))))). My Mum left so many quilting project left undone. One of them will get finished, though. It's a baby quilt for my 2nd cousin's new baby. Her grandmother is going to finish it--and it will be a real family project. (Sadly, I didn't receive the "creafty" gene.)

Lorraine Bartlett said...

Thank you, Linda. I've already started going through her things. I think she saved every card she ever received. I'm flabbergasted by how many of them are THANK YOU cards. She sent her friends flowers when they were sick. Magazines subscriptions, quilting material. I must have found 30 so far. I'm sure there will be many more.

Lorraine Bartlett said...

Thank you, Maggie. I hope our Moms get to meet in the afterlife and compare notes on favorite books. (((((((((((((((((((((U))))))))))))))))))))

Lorraine Bartlett said...

Oh, Cynthia. I'm so sorry for your loss. (((((((((((((((U))))))))))))))) I feel like we have been walking in each other's footsteps. Until she went to Mt. Carmel, Mom was living in her own home. She never wanted to go to a nursing home (and neither did we). For peace of mind, we hired a couple of ladies to come be with her. Luckily one of them was her next-door-neighbor, Amy, who is a ball of laughs. They stayed up until 2 in the morning yakking and laughing. Amy told her boys they were girls sleepovers, when they said they wanted to join her. Mum was a bit wary of the home-health aide, and she didn't want her or Amy doing anything for her. So when I'd show up at 7 in the morning, she'd have me help her get dressed, do the laundry, and make her breakfast. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Random Felines said...

I am so sorry for your loss. While words can't change the inevitable, it certainly sounds like, despite the evil doctor, you made the most of the time you had....

Annette N said...

To each of you who have recently lost your mothers, it will never be gone, but it eventually will become less. Please know that the fact you had a warm and loving relationship with your mothers will bring you serenity eventually. You were blessed and your mothers were blessed to have loving children. Remember the smiles.

Dru said...

What a beautiful tribute to your mom. {{{{Hugs}}}}}

Grandma Cootie said...

Oh, Lorraine, what a beautiful post, as are all the comments that have followed. So sorry for your loss. Someone told me something when my daughter died that I have found to be true: you never "get over" the pain and the wondering, and at the beginning it's right in front of your face and you look at everything through it. But suddenly one day you realize it's moved to the side, so it's still always with you, some pain, the memories, but it's along side of you and not in front of you anymore.

My mom died of cancer when I was 34 and she was just 62. (I think I thought of her constantly the year I was 62.) We had convinced her to come and live with our family and she was with us for a couple of years, but when she realized just how sick she was she insisted on going "home" to the midwest and to live with her brother and his family. She said at one point she didn't want my children, then 14, 11, and 9, to see her at the end. She was a fiesty, often frustrating, woman with an often difficult colorful life. and raised 4 of us after my father died. She gave me my love of reading mysteries and those Reader's Digest Condensed Books :-), and could cook, bake and sew like crazy. I love the picture of your mother with the afghan - my mom made afghans for all of us and sewed matching shirts/blouses for my family. She's been gone a long time but sometimes I will still dream of her and wake up in the morning not remembering she's gone and all set to talk with her. Those are good times, though. For as long as I could remember she said she wanted all 9 verses of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" sung at her funeral. We thought she was kidding but she reminded us right before the end. So there we all were with our cheat sheets of the words, singing and crying.

My youngest daughter died in an auto accident just after she turned 21, leaving behind the granddaughter we subsequently adopted. Don't beat yourself up with all the could or should haves. I was mad at God for a long time, and I agonized over what I could have done to control and prevent her death. Should we have moved, made different decisions about schools, disciplined differently - I realized when I was practically backtracked to her birth trying to figure out what I could have done that the answer was nothing. I loved her and I did the best I could and that's what you should remember about your mother. You were a good daughter.

It's coming up on just a year ago that a favorite aunt passed away from cancer. She was my husband's aunt but had been like a mother to me (especially since I have a rotten mother-in-law). I went back to Indiana to see her one last time and to help the cousins if I could. Since my mom had gone back to my uncle's at the end, this was the first time I experienced being a caregiver. It was so hard to see her suffer, and at some point my prayers changed from save her to let her go. But I am very glad I was there and the hospice nurse was one of the most wonderful people I have ever met.

So now I think my mom and daughter are together drinking Cokes, smoking cigarettes (:-() and doing crossword puzzles, and my aunt is going from bingo game to bingo game! Just take one day at a time for now. Hugs to you.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry for your loss. I lost my mom in 2006 at the end of a horrible year filled with losses. We did not have a funeral. Instead, my brother, his daughter and I sat around and told stories about her. We spent about 4 hours just laughing together about some of the things she had done. My mom was a hoot and all my friends liked her as well. Some of the best times I can remember were playing cards or Trivial Pursuit with her. We used to laugh so hard we'd have tears running down our faces. My mom, like yours, sewed. She made my clothes when I was young and then taught me how to quilt when I got older. I have a lot of wallhangings she made that are scattered throughout my home with my own creations. Also, when she died, I picked out certain projects she had done and gave them to close friends as remembrance pieces. It made me feel good to know that others would have part of her as well. I still miss her. I don't think you ever get over losing your mother. But I think she would be glad to know that most of the time I miss her because there are good things I want to share with her. I hope that your pain fades and the good memories soon take the place of the agony her passing has caused.

KerryM125 said...

I'm so sorry Lorraine. My heart goes out to you. I love the picture you posted of your mother. She has a gleam in her eye like someone who is a joy to know. Shame on her doctor for not being the type of caring individual we'd think they'd NEED and WANT to be, considering their profession. I'm glad you found comfort in the wonderful hospice care. It seems to me that those individuals are angels here on Earth.
Another one of the comments reflected what I feel, in my heart also..that it's the learning how to live without them that's the hardest. I lost my dad when I was only 28 (I'm 54 now), and it never stops hurting. We just have to learn, slowly, a new way of life. Be kind to yourself during this whole process because your mother would want that. Life is a mystery and all we have is love to go on. You will always have that love, from your mother. You will see her and feel her in everything that you do or experience. My sincerest condolences to you and your family. Kerry Munroe Callahan

Anonymous said...

What a lovely tribute to a lovely woman. It sure sounds like she did a fabulous job raising you.
There are so many losses in our lives that we have to deal with, but I think losing your mother has to be the hardest. I'm lucky, my mother, at 97, is still alive. She is, however, trapped by dementia and unable to communicate except occasionally and very simply. Most of the time when I visit, she does seem to recognize me, and sometimes I can even see joy in her eyes, rather than bewilderment. But she is not ready to quit, so neither will I or my sisters.
Your mother will forever live on in your heart and soul - she is obviously a big part of who you are, and that is her greatest gift to you. Moving forward with that gift into your new normal will be hard, but it is something she spent your whole life preparing you to do.
Be kind to yourself. She would be, too.
Liz

Unknown said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours at this time.
I was caregiver for my mom for five years, the last three were spent in a nursing home. We lost my father in law to cancer and my mother in Sept. 2014.
Many trips to out of town hospitals for both those last few months, made life difficult.
My mom and I did not have a great relationship but we did get closer at the end. It was hard as my brothers are both out of state.
But I would not have given up this time to really get to know those two important people in my life.
It was the hardest job I have ever done and I miss the long talks and advice she gave me.

Rachelle21 said...

I wish i could have written a tribute like you wrote. Your mom sounds like she was a wonderful person. My mother died very suddenly and my father did not know who I was before he died. Prayers for your family.

Lorraine Bartlett said...

Thank you. And yes, we did.

Lorraine Bartlett said...

Thank you, Annette.

Lorraine Bartlett said...

Thanks, Dru. (((((((((((((((U)))))))))))))))

Lorraine Bartlett said...

I'm so sorry you've such sadness in your life. ((((((((((U)))))))))) I'm still in "beat myself up mode" but I don't think it will last as long as when my Dad died (which was three years). Like you, I went from save her to let her go. The last two weeks of her life were terribly hard on everybody--most of all her.

Lorraine Bartlett said...

I'm glad your family had a good time telling funny stories about your mom. My mother (and father) didn't want any kind of service, either. I was dreading going to the funeral home to make arrangements, because I've had to do it two times in the past 6 years (for my Dad and my mother in law). This time my brother went with me (Mr. L was out of town). I'm so glad he went. He doesn't handle emotions well, so he kept cracking jokes. The funeral director was VERY young, and we ended up trading funny stories. I won't say it was fun, but laughing sure beats crying. We remembered my mother with joy, not sorrow. When we left, the funeral director shook my hand and said, "It really was a pleasure to work with you." He was still smiling.

Lorraine Bartlett said...

Thank you, Kerry.

Lorraine Bartlett said...

Thank you. I hope the next time you see your mother that she recognizes you -- if only for a brief moment. That would be a wonderful gift.

Lorraine Bartlett said...

Thank you. You were a wonderful daughter to your mother. I'm famous for saying, "A daughter's a daughter all her life" because it's true. I probably didn't have to do as much as I did for my parents. (I see lots of people who do NOTHING for their "loved" ones), but even if I complained, I wouldn't change a thing.

Lorraine Bartlett said...

I'm so sorry. The last two weeks, my mother didn't know who I was, either--because of the pain meds. That made it really hard. But your dad loved you like she loved me, I'm sure. ((((((((((U))))))))))

Anonymous said...

Sorry for your loss and what a beautiful tribute. Your mother will always be with you, as mine is with me.

Laurie Fancy said...

I am so very sorry for the loss of your dear mum. Please know that her doctor is in the minority regarding pain management. He/she should be brought up on charges of negligence. I'm so sorry that happened to your mum. Our Dr. Dennis Chapman is THE BEST when it comes to pain control. He says that in this day and age, with all the advancements, there is no earthly reason for anyone to suffer in pain. I, too, lost my parents and my in-laws - three of them over the course of a year. That was a tough row to hoe, I can tell you. I miss my mother every single day... and probably always will.

holdenj said...

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your sweet mother. I think of mine everyday. We shared a love of mysteries too and I always cheer when I've discovered a new series over the years that she would have liked.

Anonymous said...

My mother got a memo about what a perfect dauhter would be. Unfortunately, she did not share, and I did not receive a copy. I did everything I could to live up to her expectations but was doomed to fail. When she died, I grieved the mother I wished I'd had, and tried to grieve the mother I got. You are so very blessed to have had the wonderful relationship you had.

Kaye Killgore said...

Ao sorry for your loss, but what a beautiful tribute. Prayers and healing hugs your way.

karolynyoakum said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I know exactly how you feel. I am older then you and it has been 40 years since I lost my dear mother at the age of 54 to the big C. . There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about my parents. I lost my dad in 2001 at the age of 96. They are a part of my soul. Maybe that's the way it is suppose to be. I too understand the guilt you feel. I was not with my mom when she passed. I will always regret that. But there are the little things we should have done or said but we didn't. Times when we should have been there but we couldn't. My mother was a short beautiful lady with a wonderful giving heart. But she could also be a little spit fire. My mom and dad had a wonderful relationship. He ALWAYS let her think she was the boss. LOL.... I loved that. He didn't care. He loved her. She will always be close to me and apart of me. RIGHT here in my heart and soul. Big ((((HUGS)))) and prayers that it all gets easier for you to bear. God Bless you. We have to celebrate our blessings.

Lorraine Bartlett said...

Yes, you're right. And you're also right about the little things left undone that bother me. We were going to visit a nearby tea shop but just never got around to it. It was either too hot, or too snowy or ... something.

Carrie @ Novel Destination~Used Book Emporium said...

Dear Lorraine,
You have joined the elder orphans club. None of us wanted to be a part of it but it happened. I am glad that you were able to write through your pain. I am ashamed to read about the way the Dr. and staff could not take the time to listen and make your Moms last months more comfortable BEFORE she left her home. What I thought was typical nursing care expectations--advocating for your Mom and keeping her safe/comfortable is not so universal after all. :( My dear Uncle recently died and I struggled with how I would tell my Mom (she had loved the younger siblings so much), then remembered she had died 4 years ago. Every so often you will get a jolt like that. I am happy to know that you have wonderful memories of all your trips together along with your Mom's skill at making things to wrap her loved ones in knitted, tailored and quilted items. Sincere best wishes. Carrie Wolfgang

katherine is love said...

What a beautiful post (and please, don't worry about making them shorter! I love reading your longer posts). I'm so sorry for your loss. Your mother was a beautiful woman and she looks so happy in that photo. I am 28 years old and have recently had two friends (both my age) who lost their mothers to cancer. It reminds me that I shouldn't take my mother for granted and assume she will be around forever. I hope that you find peace in the wonderful memories you have with her.

Barb W. said...

I was sitting by my window today, missing my mom, who passed away last August 31st. She was 98 1/2 years old. Everybody said, "She had a good long life. You should be glad you had so long with her." And that's true, but it doesn't stop this hole in my heart from aching sometimes, and it doesn't make the "anniversaries" any easier. I'm almost 70 myself, but I miss her every day and still cry a little, but not so frequently. I will keep you and your lovely mother in my heart and in my prayers.

Mary Beth at www.mbzinteriors.com said...

So sorry to hear about the loss of your mum. You wrote a beautiful tribute to a pretty lady. I was surprised how deeply depressed I was after my mom died. I was shocked because I was an adult and at first I did not handle it well at all. Luckily I had three small children. I remembered when I was 7 my grandmother (my mom's mom died). I don't remember my mom falling apart but I bet she was inside. So I stood tall and kept going for my children. They brought me out of the hole I could have quickly fallen into but when they weren't around I gave myself permission to cry. So go ahead and be depressed, be sad, don't write, do whatever you want and whatever you need to mourn your mom and relive beautiful memories of her. Take care, Sincerely, Mary Beth