Archive for February 1st, 2010

Ten Days Post Mortem

Today just sucked.

I can’t pinpoint exactly what sucked so bad. It wasn’t a particular memory, thought or nothing like that. Can’t think of anything other than the Hole in my heart was screaming at me today.

I had this dream last night.

In the dream, I was in high school at Brentwood High School. The guidance counselor/assistant principal type (not one of the ones that was actually real) had called me to his office to discuss why my grades were so bad. (That part WAS real). This guy was older and he was nice.

I can’t remember what the Dream Version of the Guidance Counselor’s name was or what he said but he was very warm and friendly. I made a snarky comment about something and he said “I like your style.” He said he needed to call my parents to discuss my poor academic showing with them and I said “You can’t call my parents cause they’re both dead.”

No clue what that dream meant. Interpreters? Anybody? Bueller?

I did not want to get up this morning. I just didn’t. If I’d have had a vacation or sick day, I wouldn’t have gotten out of bed. I really wasn’t in the mood to work but I did.

It hit me, at one point during the day, that even though I didn’t feel like being there, it was important for me to be there. As crappy as it is, the doing the regular-stuff-you-don’t-want-to-do is part of the Healing or rather the “Adjusting To Life Without Them” thing.

Maybe tomorrow will be easier.

January 31

New Year’s Day, Mom wanted her Black Eyed Peas. Not THE Black Eyed Peas, as in the band. I don’t even think Mom knew who they were anyway. I barely do so I know she didn’t.

Mom wanted her sacred Black Eyed Peas for New Year’s Day, like she did every single New Year’s that I can remember. I neglected to pick some up from the grocery store before New Year’s Day and they were out of them. Luckily, Ben came to my rescue and had a couple cans and since he was sick in the bed, he didn’t do no cooking that day anyway.

I cooked Mom her BEP’s. Did the cabbage, and she also wanted Pork Chops. I threw in some mashed potatoes cause I just like them. She ate and thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it and I was pretty tickled to get to do that for her.

Now, here it is, January 31 and Mom is gone.

I got to thinking today about Mom’s last few months and the way she handled the fact that she was well aware that cancer was in her lymph nodes and spreading but she didn’t choose to take any treatment. I did not blame her then and I do not blame her now.

I couldn’t help but smile and shake my head at how she did this Dying Thing her way. She wanted to be able to enjoy what days she had left. I also know, just knowing her nature, that as a mother, she was thinking of us throughout the whole thing.

Mom took care of two husbands as they withered and died of cancer. Neither situation was pretty. She watched both men go through chemo and radiation and saw how it weakened them. She tried, as much as she could, to spare us some of the ugliness. I can’t help but feel like part of her “denial” was for our benefit. She was a typical mother, “protecting” her cubs, even though the cubs are 43 and 41 (in about a week).

Ben was talking yesterday about his mother’s weight dropped to something like 80 lbs during her final months. Mom was griping in the doctor’s office on January 13 about how she needed to get some of the weight she’d gained while taking steroids off. Photos taken the day after Christmas, she looked like herself, although a more withered version of the lady in the photos we took at Warner Park a little over a year ago. She ate good and kept her weight nicely.

I am reminded that today is the 38th anniversary of my grandmother’s death. Mom’s mother died rather unexpectedly, less than two months after my grandfather died of a heart attack. Maw Maw did not have cancer. I’ve seen her autopsy report (somewhere, I’ve written about the famous conversation of Mom answering the phone telling me she was sitting there reading “Mama’s Autopsy”, like she was telling me that she was sitting there reading a People magazine or something. Heh) Maw Maw had some arteriosclerosis and some other typical conditions a woman in her early 70’s would’ve suffered from. Most in the family believed Maw Maw died of a broken heart. One of the sweetest love stories I know is that of my grandparents.

So, 38 years ago this week, Mom was still coming to terms with losing her beloved father so unexpectedly. They were on the other side of the country, in California and she was in Tennessee. Then, her mother died, going downhill very rapidly. She was there at Christmas and before January was over, she was gone.

How in the world Mom coped with being 2000 miles from her family, with these two little kids, still adjusting to life in Nashville (in 1972, Nashville was not quite as hopping as it is today, folks. She lived in Los Angeles from the time she was a young teenager. BIG adjustment) losing both of her parents so close together….I can’t even wrap my head around that.

I never asked Mom how she did it. She never talked about the effect those losses had on her. She talked a LOT about her parents…”My Mama and Daddy” she called them, with her voice getting a certain reverence and affection that she never used when speaking of any other person or thing. She adored her parents. I wish I would’ve asked her how she did it.

If you have lost parents, you know how it goes-everybody grieves differently. With me, I’m “normal” (shut up, I am too!) the majority of the time, but, I’ve had a couple days where the ache for my Mom is crippling. For me, it comes in almost being sore all over. I’m glad the bad days I’ve had have fallen on the weekend. I work with a bunch of hardened, smart ass construction types. I can’t have those moments around them.

Ben is good at being a smart ass when he wants to be. He was not like that to me yesterday evening when I had a meltdown. He was so warm and wonderful and I’m grateful that he was handy. He understands how I feel. He’s still going through it. I’m glad we have each other. I don’t know that it makes it easier but it’s nice to have somebody around you who knows what it’s like.

It’s Snowing Out There In the Gloaming

 Fri at 4:42pm |Mom loved snow. She especially loved snow when it was falling.

Back in the days we used to get decent snows in Nashville, she would be so excited when there was snow in the forecast. She’d sit up all night and watch it. She was crazy about the snow. Might’ve been all those years living in Southern California…I don’t know but she loved it.

She’d have absolutely loved this snow today. I don’t think she’s “missed” this snow though, no sirreee.
I think she has the best view of all from her vantage point and is enjoying it immensely.

Still doesn’t make me wish I needed to go check on her and get her a can of coffee.

And The Ironies Continue…

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 6:52pm 

I am a twisted person. I know this. You know this. Jesus knows this. Because of that, He will forgive me for giggling at the irony of hearing, from my former mother in law, of the passing of Shirley Collie Nelson today.

I am sad to hear that Shirley has passed away. I always hoped to have the chance to meet her. She was a fantastic singer, too. She was also married to my Dad, pre Barbara. Dad and Shirley’s divorce caused something of a scandal way back when.

I am not giggling because she has passed on. I have communicated with a niece of hers before. I know that Shirley helped to raise Willie’s oldest three children and that she leaves lots of friends.

How ironic that two of Dad’s wives should die in the same week?

Biff has been reunited with ALL of his wives. Heh.

The Box

Monday, January 25, 2010 at 10:19pm |

So we went to the funeral home today to pick Mom up. How appropriate the funeral home is behind the Krispy Kreme! AND it’s a hop, skip and a jump from the bowling alley Mom used to bowl at on Thursdays. The ironies just never cease. Not really, but I thought it was funny.

It wasn’t weird at all. It wasn’t a thing where I’m consumed with the thought that Mom is in a little box. No, it was more like I had a box with, say, her jewelry or her makeup bag in it. You go in the door and the lady that owns the place, Heide, is very warm and friendly and it’s like she’s welcoming you into her gift shop or something. It’s like you go into places like that on a daily basis to pick up your mother’s earthly remains-not like it was anything out of the ordinary.

Like most people I know who make their living in the funeral business, the Crawfords have a great sense of humor (I guess you have to to be in that business) and we exchanged some funnies about why I was there. The guy asked me if I was going to talk to her. This posed an interesting question.

I’ve said before I don’t feel a really strong connection with graves (other than historical signifigances cause I do love to go to cemeteries and photograph things) where my family is concerned. The Bible tells me that my Mom and Dad are in Heaven enjoying their Rewards. I believe that just as fiercely as Ted Williams’ daughter believes that someday she, her brother and her dad will be unfrozen and be a happy, thawed out family. We’ve already covered that here so I shall not bore you with that tangent again. You get my point.

I’ve never really “talked” to my father. Not a thing wrong with that but it’s not something I’ve ever done. I think about him a lot. Every single day, he is in my thoughts. I didn’t think I would address the Box directly.

Tara and I take the Box and get to the car. The first thought is “front or backseat?” We went with the backseat.

We drive along and we turn a corner and the box slid on the floor. I said something like “Keep still, Mom.” Tara decided to put the Box in her lap after that. I asked her if that was going to freak her out, traumatize her and scar her to the point that she’ll need serious therapy someday. She assured me it wouldn’t.

We went back to Mom’s house. I put the Box in Mom’s chair and put some boxes of Marlboros on top of it. That was her favorite place to smoke. I need to put a can of Folgers next to it. We put a coffee cup on the table next to her chair, with her glasses, her lighter. Sily, maybe but we laughed and we figured somewhere, Mom was laughing at it, too.

We sat there for a good while in Mom’s den. We retold things to each other from the last couple weeks. Seems like every other sentence we’d say how we couldn’t believe that less than two weeks ago, Mom was there and now she’s gone. Seems to be the thing to do.

I’m going to work tomorrow. It will be good to be back in the routine and start the task of living everyday life like before, although life is not exactly like it was before. Even so, life goes on. As it should.


 Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 4:06am |
Numb pretty much sums it up.

Trevor and I went with Ben and the Girls to the Flea Market. It was the perfect thing to do. It was so great to be moving around and doing something regular-ish.

I’ve heard my mother in law talk about how the weekend after her father died, the family loaded up and went to Greensboro to see the Statler Brothers in concert. The whole family-her brothers, their kids…just seemed to be the thing to do. Her father dropped dead at the kitchen table while eating breakfast one morning when he was in his 50’s.

I find myself thinking how just a little over a week ago, Mom was doing her regular, Mom thing. Yes, she was hurting but in between the pain, she was doing her thing.

She was so bothered by the earthquake in Haiti. She said last Friday she had to turn the tv from it because she couldn’t stand it.

We watched Tabatha’s Salon Takeover a couple weeks ago and this particular episode was at a salon in Covina, CA. She mentioned how she used to get her hair done in Covina.

Last Thursday, she sat at the table and wrote out checks for her bills and handed me to mail them, which I did.

The taco soup she made two weeks ago is still in her refrigerator.

Her house still smells like her. So does her car. Turned the radio on in her car today and it’s on 650 WSM, where it always was. There’s a bottle of water in the car that’s still half full. There’s still a tube of hand lotion in the car.

There’s a spot of hair color on her carpet that a little over a week ago, she said several times how she couldn’t believe that she had spilled it and was so disgusted with herself for doing so.

A little over a week ago, she ate spaghetti I made with Tara and Trevor. She ate a big plate full. Her appetite didn’t go until she couldn’t physically feed herself anymore. Last Friday, when she went into the hospital, she wanted a cookie. She wanted Ben to bring her a cookie. Ben brought her two big things full of cookies.

The more we think about it, we realize she was in pain for quite awhile before she let us know. Her lungs were in worse shape than she let us know, too. I think she probably could’ve used oxygen on a regular basis. I guess she was not going to be seen with a tank and was determined not to.

Some months ago, before she got mugged, I looked at her one day and I can remember thinking how withered she looked and I bet there was more cancer. It was a passing thought but it was the same kind of thought I remember having that day in 1991 when I realized how sick my Dad was.

He showed up to my work one day, out of the blue, to take me to lunch. I don’t know how long it had been since I’d seen him but I saw a remarked difference in his appearance. It shook me so, I had to go into the restroom to collect myself.

She talked to a cousin of hers a couple weeks ago about her Aunt Helen who is the last surviving sibling of her mother. She has dementia and Cousin Rick called Mom to see if it was ok with her that he had Power of Attorney. It was fine with her. She told stories of Aunt Helen and we talked about how she was a modern, independent female who was way ahead of her time-the Black Sheep of her family.

Mom’s health declined over a good period of time, gradually, but then it all went downhill fast, in a matter of days.

I can’t believe my mother is gone.

This Ole House

 Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 8:50am |Warning-this may contain what some consider irreverent humor about mortal remains. If that might offend you, you might oughta just quit reading now.

Irreverent humor about mortal remains is something the Collie’s just do. I guess it’s cause we’re either

a)trying to cope with our grief through laughter

b)because of our strong faith and belief that the Tomb is empty, we don’t associate with This Old House cause like Brother Stuart Hamblen said so eloquently in that classic song he wrote of the same title(Dad LOVED to tell the story behind that song because it does explain death pretty well) “Ain’t gonna need this house no longer ain’t gonna need this house no more, ain’t got time to fix the shingles aint got time to fix the floor, ain’t got time to oil the hinges nor to mend the window panes, ain’t gonna need this house no longer, I’m gettin’ ready to meet the Saints”. The body is just the shell. It’s not the person.

c) we are just plain wrong and twisted

d) all of the above.

I go with D.

So anyway, people are asking about arrangements for Mom. Mom was cremated. We are planning a Memorial Service (tentative date February 13) for her. We are planning a wonderful shindig to honor and remember Mom. She loved a good Celebration of Life service. She loved good music, good stories…this is what we’re planning on for her.

Flowers-Mom did not like us to send her flowers. That’s not saying Mom did not like flowers. She did but she felt that flowers were a waste of money because they are so stinking expensive and are dead within a few days. We are going to do the “In Lieu Of” thing because I know Mom would’ve wanted that.

Memorials can be made to Alive Hospice. These people took care of both of our parents during their illnesses and take care of so many. They don’t just care for the patient but they care for the families. Anybody that’s ever dealt with Hospice knows what I’m talking about. They are simply sent from Heaven. They cared for Mom so beautifully and with such dignity and respect those last few days of her life.

And let me just say right here, while we’re talking about this, if you don’t know what your parents final wishes are, PLEASE find out what they are. If they have not made arrangements, PLEASE do yourself a favor and tell them to make said arrangements NOW so you can carry them out for them when their day comes (and it will come, boys and girls whether you want to think about it or not) so you don’t have to mortgage your home to give your folks a nice burial. It is not pleasant to scramble around when death is impending, trying to figure out what to do. Trust me on this one.

Also, for yourself, make your wishes known. I told Terry the other day, if he wants to be buried and all that, he better start paying on it now so the kids won’t be stuck with it.

If you don’t want to ask them face to face about it, do the Sharon Way and text them or email them. I wish I’d have been more firm about getting Mom to tell what she wanted. Mom did not make her Said Final Arrangements. She talked about being buried in some necklace once. She mentioned being buried at Woodlawn, Williamson a time or two. The day of her surgery last May, she stood in her den and said (she wasn’t even being funny or silly about it) “If something happens to me, just have me cremated.”

Last Friday night, I called Woodlawn. A BASIC funeral, we’re talking generic, Dollar General brand funeral STARTS at 12,000. That doesn’t include the “A La Carte” items you can get. (Yes, that makes me laugh. A La Carte. HAR!) And, the Not-Very-Friendly-Or-Warm-Guy I talked to the phone at midnight added “We don’t do payment plans unless you pre-arrange.” So, this funeral thing is sorta like it’s cheaper to get your tickets ahead of time rather than at the door.

Needless to say, we said “screw the funeral” idea. Mom wouldn’t have wanted us to go into debt over her burial, of all things.

We aren’t sure what we’ll do with the ashes. For the time being, Mom is going to get to come over here to Inglewood and hang out with me. Eventually, we’ll either scatter them or bury them or heck, might just leave her on the entertainment center and put a pack of Marlboros on top of the urn.

I asked Ben what sort of criteria one uses when Urn Shopping. He said “I don’t know but I’ve got a couple of old moonshine jugs.” He is so funny. Mom would’ve loved that.

Those ashes aren’t her anyway. She doesn’t need that old body anymore cause she’s got her a new one.

Friday Afternoon-I Dreamed Of A City Called Glory

 Friday, January 22, 2010 at 3:18pm | Edit Note | Delete
So Mom got checked in to her new Home at 7:45 this morning. She’s probably still having reuinions with people.

The first picture I have in my head is of Mom and her sister Pat. Pat showing her around “Bobbie…you gotta look at this” just the way they used to do when they’d go to antique stores, showing her all the beauty of Heaven. They’re just gigglin’ like crazy as Pat points out this person and that one…”Remember him?”

I bet they’ve met up with their older sister Tee Wee and the cackling has commenced accordingly. I also imagine their sister Alice (Little Tuh Tuh) who died when she was 18 months old, before Mom or Pat were born, right in the middle of them in her rightful place laughing right along with them.

I bet she’s run into her brothers Jack and Byee. Byee’s probably a little tipsy (as per usual) and Brother Jack-Handsome, Smilin’ Jack danced a little jig as their Baby Sister came into view. They probably took her over to the “Hero” section of Heaven so Big Brother Son could see the newest arrival.

I picture the brothers and sisters taking their Baby Sister over to where their parents are…”Henry!” says Rosena. “Look! It’s Bobbie!”

Somewhere in the family mix, Mom runs across her nephew Freddy, his sister Sheri (whom Mom had the honor of naming) and his brother Alan, as well as her great niece, Ashley and great nephew, Steven. All of these passings hurt Mom’s heart terribly. She couldn’t even express the sadness over these.

In the middle of all this family reunionizing, Grandma & Pop Collie appear and Grandma says “Dad….it’s Barbara. Barbara, how much you weigh?” (Ok so that was a question Grandma Collie reserved for her grandaughters but this is my random thought so I’ll leave it at that. Har) Charles & June, Cousin Doug, Orville, Mandi, Mary Collie, Josh and Junie…they’re all kissing her smack dab on the mouth, cause that’s what the Collie’s do.

In the Smoking Section-there sits Judi Kirby and Goldie Smith. Yee haw! We can smoke all we want to now! Goldie’s got all the latest Heavenly gossip for her and Mom to catch up on but she’ll have to get back with her cause she’s catching up with her sweetheart, Carl, who just got there last Saturday.

Oh and Biff? Well, she’s been walking along with him already. When Mom was about to make her big entrance, Biff had the whole Hee Haw Gang lined up, giving them instructions on what to do when she entered- “There she is……Miss America….”

These are the things I’ve been thinking about this morning. I know she’s having a ball. She wouldn’t trade places with us for nothing.

I miss her already.

Thursday Afternoon 4:02 RTFTTF

Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 4:10pm | Edit Note | Delete

She was a little agitated this morning so they gave her something for it. I just got right up to her and said something and she made a noise so I think she can hear me.

I’m sitting here looking at Mom’s face and I’m telling ya, she’s as beautiful as ever.

The doctor says her stats have changed today.

I’m sorta starting to feel like I did when I was a little kid (again!) when on Thursdays, Mom would go bowl. She bowled in a league with Polly Simpson, Goldie Smith, and I don’t know who else. They bowled at that old bowling alley over off Thompson Lane, next to that old tunnel, before you get to the Krispy Kreme. You know, the one they widened but used to be really narrow and you always honked in it? Over there.

She’d go bowl and leave me in the “nursery” with these two, old, batty women. I HATED IT. The one old woman looked like Lady Elaine on Mister Rogers, that puppet that lived in the merry go round. They were mean. They probably really weren’t, but, I hated being in there. I’m sure I pitched a fit when Mom would drop me off in there. I wanted to hang out with Mom and the Bowling Ladies.

I’m really feeling some separation anxiety about now. I don’t want my Mom to leave me.

Wednesday Night-9:20 Random Thoughts

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 9:48pm | Edit Note | Delete

Mom is still kinda alert although I notice she’s awake less and less. When she wakes up, it’s usually a plea for water.

I have decided that there will be no more attempts at Hallmark moments at the bedside. Me and Mom don’t roll thataway anyway and it IS kinda silly to get all like that now.

Mom told me when I was about 14 that she knew how I thought cause she thought the same way so she was always a step ahead of me. This is still true, even today with our current circumstances in place.

There were things I didn’t say to my Dad that I’ve sorta regretted plus, when you see somebody you love suffer and struggle like this, you want them to understand that you’re ok with them going.

I told Mom today she was “good to go” and she said “Go where? What are y’all talking about?” We told her she could go home if she wanted to. “When?” Whenever you are ready. She said “Let’s go.” We were laughing about it and Mom said “I don’t think that’s that funny.”

Mom was not speaking of that “Home in Gloryland that outshines the sun”. She was speaking of her little house in West Nashville.

I wonder what’s going through her mind in those moments she’s awake? I wonder if she’s caught glimpses yet of the Skyline? Her face makes movements, like one does when they’re dreaming. I can’t help but wonder. I sho ain’t gonna ask her though cause she will set me straight.

Mom is a private person (yes, I realize I’m documenting these steps of her journey with y’all. I didn’t mean to do this, it’s just sorta happened) and there’s lots of parts of her life that she has never shared with us. I mean, look at that gorgeous woman there…that young woman in the photograph was not a girl who had a hard time getting a date, I tell you that right now.

she’s mentioned things in her life like being present when Eddie Miller and Don Sessions wrote the classic “Thanks A Lot” and writing the words down for them as the song was being born; the time James Garner winked at her in the Phoenix airport; sitting at a table at the Foothill Club in Long Beach with Patsy Cline;seeing Hank Williams, Sr. perform in her hometown of Alexandria, LA; The thrill of seeing people like Kitty Wells, The Wilburn Brothers and a ton of other country music legends in shows that came through Lousiana and then, many years later, getting to actually KNOW these people and hang out with them; waterskiing with a young musician named Glen Campbell; she worked at McDonnell Douglas Aircraft (as did her father), a bank and for the phone company; she remembers when they were filming one of my favorite movies “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” on the street in Long Beach; And those are the things she’s told us. There HAS to be a lot more.

She’s going to carry lots of things with her when she checks out. That’s perfectly fine. I’m sure she’s not going to reveal certain Heavenly secrets beforehand. I think even with her impending transition, she is teaching us much the same way she taught us (or didn’t teach us) certain things growing up: by learning for ourselves and walking our own journeys.

Ultimately, that’s what we all do in life, isn’t it?

Wednesday Morning-10:35 RTFTTF

 Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 10:46am | Edit Note | Delete
I went home last night. I had to because Tara was coughing her head off. My throat started to hurt. Ben pleaded with me to go rest. He said since my throat was hurting, I was wearing down. He was right. I struggled with whether I should go or not but then I realized that when this is over, I don’t have any vacation or sick time. I have to go back to work as soon as possible. I have kids to look after, by myself, since their Dad is traveling out west until the 30th or so. Self preservation…life continues.

I slept pretty good. Ben knows what he’s talking about and understands the being torn. I’m glad I listened to him. He is such a gift.

She’s stil semi-alert this morning although I can see a change from last night when I left. It’s in her eyes. She fussed at me (I know lashing out is normal) for not putting her bed down. I had put it down bout as far as it could go.

I told her Sandra would soon be here to take charge. She laughed with her eyes. I could see it clearer than any other smiles I’ve gotten the last couple days. It was great.

A lady we went to church with for many years is up here, a couple doors down, with her mother. She came by last night. This lady lost her husband to cancer some years ago WAY too early. She was too young to be a widow. People have been so wonderful.

Tuesday Night 9:35-Random Thoughts From The Third Floor

 Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 10:21pm | Edit Note | Delete
First of all, if you have parents still living (“Parents” can be broad…whoever wiped your butt, rocked you when you had fever, endured your eyerolls as a teenager, bailed you out of jail :cough Darrin: cough) you need to right now call them. Or text, email, Skype, whatever. Give em a shout and say howdy. It doesn’t have to be a “You’re The Best Mom/Dad Ever” conversation. Just do that right now. I’ll wait.

I’m serious. I’m waiting.


:Picking at fingernails:

Done it yet? No you haven’t…go on.

We’re still here on the Third Floor at Alive Hospice’s St. Thomas location. Hospice has got it going on. They do some fantastic work here.

They have volunteers like a lady named Nancy who kept an eye on Mom here for a bit while Tara, Ben and I went to Dalt’s and got us some supper. Nancy does not have to do this. Betchya money Alive Hospice was fantastic to her family at a time like this or maybe she just feels called to do a little something to help people out. Sandra needed to go rest this evening (which she should do).

The beauty of Hospice is you CAN get out, go home and let your little underbitten dog named Judi P. Tatootie out to go potty and lay down. If something should begin to change, they call you. They don’t call after the fact. They have people like Nancy who are here not cause they have to be but cause they want to be. It’s fabulous.

God’s been good today to give me some more presents in these last days with my mother.

Her best/good girlfriend Margie Bowes (who could and can probably still flat tear UP a song) came. They’ve been good friends for over 30 years. They’ve been through lots of stuff together. It was beautiful.

Trevor and Tara have been here with me today. Trevor was beginning to wear down and was ready to go so his Uncle Billy came and got him.

Billy has known my mother for 20 years. He came in her room to see her and her response to his being here was just plain wild. She spoke almost clearly. When he left, she said, stronger than anything I’ve heard her say today other than “WATER!”…”Thank you, Billy.” I think she was very touched that he came to see her. I know he was touched by her response.

After Billy and Trev left the room, Mom asked me where Trevor was. I told her he was going with Billy. I asked her if she wanted me to get him and she nodded yes. I caught them going down the hall and told Trev that Mimi wanted him.

Trevor came to her bedside, put his little hand on his grandmother’s and said “Yes, Mimi?” I don’t know what she was trying to tell him, but I would bet the farm that she was trying to tell him something in regards to his concern about Charles’ potential jealousy of Biff. I told Trev again that Mimi was going to go see Grandpa Collie and was there anything he wanted her to tell him. (Keep in mind, Trevor has Asperger’s Syndrome, mild form of autism. He is not sarcastic and takes everything literally) He said this:

“Tell him my name is Trevor and I said Hi.” Mom smiled and nodded. I also told Trevor that she was going to see Charles, Granny Boone, others….he said “Elvis…Michael Jackson.” She smiled again and mouthed “Michael Jackson.”

I talked with the Social Worker for Hospice this evening. They want to know about the person they are caring for-what they did for a living, what kind of personality they have, the names of the family members. The person in the bed is an individual; a real person with a real life. They do not view them as some semi-vegetable that’s barely hanging on. Very, very cool. Yet another thing that makes Hospice wonderful.

Mom’s work supervisor came this evening. She brought two uncashed checks they found in Mom’s stuff at work. After the mugging, Mom did not want to do Direct Deposit anymore. I guarantee you, she left those there on purpose, probably thinking we could use the money for something. I don’t know.

A number of her work peeps have been by the last few days. I don’t know these people but I can tell you it has been gut-wrenching seeing the sadness in their faces. They adore my little mother. She adores them. It’s fabulous.

Ben came up this evening. I know it’s hard for him to come around all this. His own mother’s passing from cancer is still so fresh. Yet, he’s here. He took Tara and I to eat and then by Target. We talked about the irony of all this…

Mom had said to me in the last few weeks how she hadn’t been to my new place and she wanted to get over there and see it. She said “You moved just about the time my back started hurting.” BUSTED! She was hurting for quite awhile then cause I moved August 30. Ben’s mother died on August 31. Ben and I were first made aware of each other through (his Baby Mama and former wife) Melissa on his birthday, September 22. We went on our first date on September 24 and knew right away we had found something rather special.

All of these things…I can’t imagine getting through this without Ben’s support, love, and being able to share his experience with me. God knew what I was going to need (and what Ben was going to need) come January 2010. We said on our second date that it was like we’d found our most favorite pair of blue jeans in each other…comfortable. Home.

I also see an irony in the passing Saturday of Carl Smith. Carl was a longtime friend of Dad’s. They went back to the early 50’s back when both were married to their first wives. They traveled together on the Philip Morris Show in 1957. Goldie was also a friend of Dad’s and later became a close friend and confidante to Mom. Two of Carl’s kids Dean and Lori Lynn are dear friends of mine and Sandra’s. Always been something special between us. I hated that I did not get out to Franklin for Carl’s visitation and funeral.

Tonight she’s still talking here and there. Asked why she’s not remembering anything.

This sucks.

Yet More Random Thoughts

 Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 10:43am | Edit Note | Delete
I’m at home this morning. I have two of my cubs with me. Probably should’ve sent Trevor to school today but I need him. I need his Trevor-ness.

I slept last night fairly decently for the first time in a number of days. Sandra stayed down there and she slept decently too, even in a recliner. The reason being is it’s quiet in this room. No beeps. Nobody coming in at 3 am to take Mom’s temperature or blood. Hospice is fantastic.

This experience is changing the Mother Daughter relationship between Tara and me, I think. I’m watching her mature in front of my very eyes as she experiences this from a 16 year old’s point of view.

I knew that Mom’s calling Tyler by his name yesterday would mean a lot to him. He was debating whether or not to return to the hospital because he wanted to remember his Mimi the way she was as opposed to on her deathbed, unresponsive, etc. She lit up when she saw him yesterday, clearly speaking his name and looking at him. What a gift for him, her first grandchild.

I have a video of Tyler’s first birthday. He’s sitting on top of this HUGE, wrapped present, in all his one year old, chubby baby glory. He smiles big, looks at Mom and says “Mimi.” First time he said it.

Tyler was such a gift to Mimi during the days leading up to my Dad’s passing and in that first year after.

I told Tyler last night if he wanted to stay out of school today and come back down with us, he could. He said he would but they are blocking for the next theater production today. He has a pretty decent sized part in this production. His Mimi would tell him not to miss that because of her.

Random Thoughts Part Tres 11:00 Monday Night

Monday, January 18, 2010 at 11:06pm | Edit Note | Delete

I wanted to get Trevor tonight to see Mom since she was quite alert today. He had been with The Grascals all weekend and had not seen her since Friday night before all the C02 issues happened and the for real, serious decline began.

Terry has been talking with Trevor about what’s happening and he was pretty clear on what all is going on. I haven’t had a chance to really talk about it with him so we got to talk in the car on the way to the hospital.

Talking about this and that…Trev had some questions and we’re having a nice chat about what alls been going on the last few days. I brought up how soon, Mimi would be with my Dad again. To that, Trevor said this-

“Well, I don’t know how Charles is gonna feel about that.”

Trevor wasn’t trying to be funny or sarcastic. He was serious. My Dad had been gone for years before he was born in 1998. Mom married Charles in 1996. When Trevor thinks about his Mimi and “husbands”, he thinks of Charles. I guess he figured Charles was gonna be jealous or something. I told him that I don’t think there’s any jealousy in Heaven and this should not be an issue.

Trevor then went down his mental checklist of things he was wondering about and what would happen after Mimi goes on to Glory:

“What’s going to happen to her house?”

“Did Mimi write up a will?”

“What about her silverware? You know, you oughta get that cause you could use some more.”

We got to the hospital and in Mom’s room and I said “Mom, look whose here!” She opened her eyes and said “Hey Trevor! How’s it going?” (for the record, I don’t think I’ve ever heard my mom say “how’s it going” ever). He said “Hey Mimi….I’m doing fine” just like nothing was any different.

I knew Mom would get a huge kick out of the Charles comment because she tends to get a kick out of the things Trevor says. She laughed. She smiled a bit tonight. Kinda a “Reader’s Digest” version of her usual smile but I could tell she was smiling.

We laughed a lot tonight and she did too. Fabulous. I realize that as alert as she was this afternoon/evening, tomorrow could bring something totally different.

Driving home, Tara, Trevor and I were talking about the evening and all the stuff and in the middle of the conversation it dawned on me that I most likely will never have a “regualr” conversation with my Mom again-at least not in this life. There won’t be any more phone calls that begin with our usual greeting of “What’re you doin’?”


Monday Evening-6:15 Random Thoughts From The Third Floor

Monday, January 18, 2010 at 6:36pm | Edit Note | Delete

I didn’t sleep much last night. I think the consensus was that a stomach bug of some sort went between Sandra, Todd and me.

Mom was moved to the Hospice wing of St. Thomas this afternoon. It’s like night and day from where we were. No beeps, a much bigger, more comfortable room (I said it looked like a Labor & Delivery room. HELLO? It used to be).

Mom is pretty comfortable and has been quite alert today. She’s tried to talk quite a bit, although you can’t really understand her a lot of the time. Tyler came to see her today and she said “Hi Tyler!” very clearly. i know that made Tyler happy.

This is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever experienced but at the same time, it is such a joy an blessing to be here. Mom has given us so many fantastic moments the last few days. Things we’ll be talking about for years and years.

I find myself just looking at her face because I know once this part of the Journey ends, she will be a memory. My beautiful mother…she looks so tiny and fragile in this bed. Her skin has gotten so thin. My hands look just like hers, except they’re younger. I wonder if my hands will one day look like hers do today and if my kids will stare at me so they can remember what I look like?

I can remember as a kid how being nestled next to her was the warmest and most wonderful feeling in the world.

I think of being in church with her, laying my head on her lap and her running her fingers through my hair.

I can remember (because I AM the female Rainman) her playing “Peek A Boo” with me when I was really little.

I can remember one time she came to eat lunch with me when I was in First Grade and being SO proud because I thought my mother was the prettiest mother ever. (I still think that)

I can remember going to the old Nashville Airport when we went to pick her up when she returned from either her father or mother’s funeral in California. These events happened in less than two months. I remember spotting her way on the other end of the terminal and she had on a red shawl (1972) and remember like yesterday, her running towards us with her arms wide open, glad to be back home.

Seeing her lying in this bed also reminds me of 1984 when she was in a horrible car wreck. She was in the ICU at Baptist Hospital. I had never been inside an ICU before. She had dried blood all over her-a huge cut on her forehead…being scared to death. She still bears scars from that accident, that I haven’t seen in years until the last couple days.

I had a moment a couple weeks ago that was surreal. It was during the Arctic Coldsnap and I took her to the grocery store one evening. We got separated in the store and I was walking aisle by aisle, looking for her. It was kinda deja vu-ish and I had a recollection of being a kid at the Brentwood Kroger (the OLD Kroger, where that deli place is now…can’t recall the name. Next to CVS across from Brentwood United Methodist Church.) and when I’d get done looking at magazines, I’d go hunt for Mom…aisle by aisle. I hadn’t thought of that in years.