Sunday, February 24, 2008

"people are SO nice"

for the last two weeks i have uttered some version of "people are SO nice, this is crazy. i can't believe it" countless times. i'm going to try to give you a snapshot of the overwhelming generosity i and my family have been the recipient of lately.

people have cooked/baked/brought amazing quantities of food including the best brownies i have ever eaten in my life, baked root vegetables, vegetarian chili, a fruit bouquet, a fruit basket, a complete valentine's day dinner including fettucini alfredo, ceasar salad, wine, and a (prepare yourself-morbid humor coming) to-die-for chocolate cake, cheese and crackers, beans and greens soup, pizza, cherry pie, foccaccia, carrot salad, homemade chocolate chip cookies, and bags of groceries. as if this wasn't enough, i've also been treated to dinner out. and coffee.

i have also received a cd with calming music, a massage gift certificate and flowers delivered to my home in philly. the thoughtful, heartfelt sympathy cards just keep coming. many, many people made donations in my mom's name to the committee at her church that works with refugees (which she did for many years).

at the wake and the funeral, we asked people to write down a story or memory they had of mom. many people shared hilarious and/or touching stories about times they had shared with mom. and lots of hugs. lots of phone calls. my cell phone bill is usually $60. this month? $281! i mean lots of phone calls. and don't get me started on flowers. gorgeous arrangements. and plants. and friends who made time in their schedule to travel to albany to support me at and after the funeral.

and then there are the all the many acts of kindness done during the last weeks of my mom's life. mom's friends who came to her house to clean, to make sure she was eating, and who did her errands. mom's church family who drove her to doctor's appointments. the friends who responded when the lifeline service called them to tell them mom was in trouble. the friends who called me to let me know mom's condition was worsening. my childhood friend, who is going through chemo herself, who came over to the house and made me laugh for a few hours. the friend who came to relieve me in the morning at the hospital after i had spent the night. the friend who, when we were trying to find a place for mom to go to rehab, called everyone she knew to figure out which places were good and which we should avoid. friends back in philly who organized themselves to make sure i had someone to talk to and cry with each night while i was with mom. the nurses who held mom's hand, hugged her, comforted her, and took excellent care of her. the techs who lovingly bathed mom. the transportation aides who gently moved mom around the hospital. the social workers who helped mom to understand and process what was happening to her. friends who came for visits and handled mom's hallucinations with grace. the staff at the hospice inn who gave us so much privacy during mom's last hours and then so many hugs after she passed.

I have felt a great deal of support. Two different friends sent me emails with images of the support they were hoping I had – one was of feeling the wind at my back, that I could get through this not solely by my own power, but rather by a feeling of being sustained and carried by the support around me. The other envisioned lots of pillows put all around me by friends so if (when!) I needed to fall down, it wouldn’t hurt so much.

Both of these ring true. I thank all of you.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

back to blogging

everything has changed since the last time i posted.

i remember in high school, after my grandfather died, reflecting on how i'd survive without my mom. my mom in particular, and moms in general, are central. if you're lucky, your mom is the person you call when you have a miserable flu and need to be comforted. your mom is the person you want to tell first when you find the love of your life, or are pregnant, or get a promotion. your mom is the one you call when you have that knitting, sewing, home repair, cleaning, parenting, relationship, or, in my mom's case, training question that you know she'll know the answer to.

moms are where we all come from. in most cases, moms have some (and most of the time A LOT) part in bringing us up to be the intelligent, caring people we are. we owe a lot to our moms.

my mom passed away on february 10th, 2008 at 6:45pm. her death certificate says 7:01pm, but i know better because i was there when she took her last breath. i'm hoping to use this space to share some of the experiences i had directly before and directly after her passing.

here is a picture of her and i celebrating her 60th birthday. she died at age 62.