Friday, August 9, 2013


A year ago today was my mom's last radiation treatment - a day of celebration and smiles.  I had no idea what the next few weeks would bring us but I knew we'd fight through it just as we had the previous seven weeks.

It's true, there was a sense of fear once treatment was over.  With treatment there was a plan.  We knew what was happening everyday.  We fell into a routine.  Not a fun routine.  Not a routine that you ever want to find yourself in but a routine none the less.  Once treatment ended we just waited and prayed that all would turn out alright.  We had no idea.  We just had no idea.

Grief can be so isolating.  I truly had no idea the depth of pain of losing a parent until I was plunged into it - and really, how can you comprehend something like this unless you've experienced it yourself.  I guess I've found it even more difficult as time has gone on.  It seems like people expect that you will get over it in a few weeks, months, etc., but the waves of pain keep coming and I have no doubt will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.  I think being pregnant made me feel even more isolated.  Everyone was so excited and looked at me as if I should be exuding happiness but I just did not feel that way.  I guess being pregnant was almost a constant reminder that my mom was not going to be there, that she and my babies are going to miss out on that relationship. 

The chaplain at the hospital said to us that tremendous grief is the price you pay for tremendous love.  I don't think truer words were ever spoken.  In the end I am so thankful for the time we did have with my mom, that she and I had such a close relationship and that I have so many amazing memories.  This summer my mom, dad and sister Elizabeth (she was on summer break from grad school) lived in a hotel in Rochester, MN for seven weeks so that she could have treatments at the Mayo Clinic which was right across the street.  Rochester is only about a 75 minutes drive from the Twin Cities where my other sister and I live.  We went down there at least once a week and I was able to take a few days off from work to be there with her for some of her treatments.  As crazy as it sounds, it was a real bonding experience.  We were a team (I even had Team Dee Gee shirts made for everyone) and were there to support my mom in every way possible.  I can honestly say that we all did everything we could do, there are no regrets.  Sometimes you just can't understand why things happen but just need to believe that it was part of the plan.  I know that my mom is my biggest cheerleader in heaven.  I know that she was proud of me, that I am who I am because of her, that I can draw on so many good times and strong values to help shape my own family.  She taught me how to be a good person, to work hard, to treat others with respect, to help others whenever possible and to do everything with a positive attitude.  I know these things because of her and while I will miss her every day for the rest of my life, I can live my life as a tribute to her. 

This is such a "one day at a time" kind of process.  All of the "firsts" have been hard but it does get a little easier everyday.  My husband has been so strong and supportive through all of this.  I couldn't have asked for anything better.  I draw strength from my family, my friends and the knowledge that I will see my mom again someday.

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