Another day in my world.

In the fall of 1992 I was excited to start a new school year – teaching high school computer and business classes…….until I was assigned to teach a yearbook class. Oooooh, how could I possibly do this – (1) 19 students – which 6 to 8 would be the best scenario (2) no clue as to how to even start designing a yearbook and (3) this would be the first year to design the yearbook on paper and then transfer to computer. You talk about whining, complaining, crying, a continual pity party for Deb……..

My parents lived about a mile from the school. Almost everyday I would run by in the afternoon to visit a few minutes. Well, honestly, I wanted to vent to someone and my dear Mother was there to take it. I would whine “If I can just make it to the end of December, most of the yearbook will be done.” Or poor me. Pity, pity, pity. She would encourage me and say “You can do it.” This was a daily ritual during the entire semester. I’d wish for the days to speed by……little did I know what lay in the near future.

My Mom had just turned 65 in August, about the time school started. My parents never had medical insurance because my Dad preached as an evangelist and before then he owned a clothing store and also a hardware store. Mom hadn’t been feeling well for about the last year but she never complained, never. I had mentioned going to the doctor but she wouldn’t go because they had no insurance and deep down, I’m sure she knew something wasn’t right. At 65 she was eligible for Medicare so she agreed to go after Christmas.

Christmas was always a big deal at my parents – my Mom had these beautiful dishes with little holly branches and berries. She cooked for days and the meal was always so delicious…..turkey, dressing, giblet gravy, homemade yeast rolls, salads, corn, beans, potatoes, macaroni, fruitcake, hickory nut cake (made from 8 cups of hickory nuts that Mom & Dad had cracked and picked out the tiny nuts by hand), pumpkin and pecan pies, etc. Gifts galore for the family were placed around the tree – Mom shopped all year and made Christmas so special for my brother and I plus our families.

Christmas 1992 was bittersweet – we all tried to enjoy the wonderful food but when Mom couldn’t stay at the table with us and had to lay on the couch, sadness filled my heart.

On January 2, she said she was ready to go to her local doctor. As I helped her get dressed, I noticed how thin she was. After a quick check, she was referred to a specialist for further tests. When I arrived at the house to take her to this appointment, she was packing a little overnight bag, “just in case” she said. Again reality began to set in.

The month of January began a time that will forever be etched in my mind. My Mom died of lymphoma cancer on January 29, 1993. The entire month was absorbed with her in and out of the hospital, pain, heart aches, facing the truth that she wasn’t going to be here long. Thinking back over the last few months, I was so ashamed that I had complained to her on a daily basis about “if I can just make it thru December” as if my troubles would be over. Instead I lost my very best friend, the one who gave herself for everyone else, worshiped me, encouraged me and always loved me through thick and thin.

The most precious lesson learned was to never wish one day of your life away. You never know what’s ahead. After this eye-opening experience, I began each new day of school by saying, “Students, enjoy each day of your life. Don’t say ‘I can’t wait until I’m 16’, I can’t wait till I’m a senior’……live life, learn something new each day, be kind to one another, laugh, love your family.”

Mom’s favorite verse was “This is the day the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalms 118:24) I would like to hear her say it again.

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Comments on: "This is the day that the Lord hath made……" (3)

  1. This blog was very touching. I know how it is to lose a parent– it’s hard!!! Thanks for witnessing through this blog. I really like the way you started each day. That is words to live by!

  2. Thanks for recreating that time in my mind Debbie!

    I will never forget those final days with Mom…how trying they were. What a wonderful person (so inadequate a word to use for the one we loved so very very much) she was to me! I admired her so much!

    She accepted her role in life as the wife of a preacher, which seemingly limited her choices of experiences that others take for granted. There were things she could not do because they were “inappropriate”. But she took great joy in commonplace things that were allowed. Family members were cherished and her love for them could not be mistaken!

    I will mention one of her little pleasures. Visting her sister in Louisville and eating at the Blue Boar Restaurant was a treat for her. The funny thing was that I remember asking her, “Why do you choose to always eat chicken here, when you prepare such wonderful chicken dinners for us at home?” But, that’s what she loved!

    During the month of her passing, I was just starting a computer programming project that demanded much of my time. I so regret not being able to give her more of my time and attention.

    She was hesitant to try to get treatment. She had watched an inlaw die of cancer only a few years before. I’m sure she saw the same fate, terrible pain and the treatments.

    I asked her to stay with us longer. I needed her. She asked, “Why?” I said I still need your advice about things. I won’t forget her efforts to sit up and look me in the eye as she said, “You just do not want to accept the responsibilities of life.” She knew me well!

    The most enduring memory was the night I spent with her in the Lousiville hospital. Sitting in a chair, trying to watch over her, as she was strapped to a bed to keep her from flayling.

    At about 5 a.m. she woke and sat up as much as she could and said, “Rickey you have to take me home!” I knew what she meant, but I said, “Just a minute Mom”. I hurried out into the corridor and fortunately saw a nurse immediately. I said, “I need your advice”, and told her what Mom had said. She told me, “They usually know”.

    That’s all I needed to hear. I went to Mom and said, “We are going home Mom”. She relaxed.

    Mom lived thru the next day, but passed within about 48 hours.

    When I visit Dad, and see the bed where she last rested, I can see her lying there. Her final resting place was the home that she loved with the people she loved.

    Memories of life.

  3. What a wonderful mother you must have had…I am sorry you lost her.

    I often feel I am wishing my life away…and that I don’t enjoy it as much. Seems like I go from one hurtle to the next and don’t enjoy the time between…and your post confirms what I know…I just need to learn to do it.

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