Monday, December 13, 2010
My beautiful angel mother passed away almost two months ago, October 20, 2010 and since then I have been almost refusing to update the blog because I didn't want to write about it. But as I was thinking about my mom yesterday I realized I have started to block out some parts of the month long struggle that was October. So, best that I type it out now before I have totally blocked out the whole story.
As I have typed in a previous blog my parents came out to visit for my best friends wedding in the beginning of September. While they were here we were able to do some very fun things including; the wedding, Swiss Days, Avatar in 3D IMAX, and our fabulous family pictures by Janica Ellsworth. We noticed that for the first time in 11 years my mom was able to do everything that we had planned as if she hadn't been going through the extreme torment from over a decade of cancer battles. We knew this was a blessing from Heavenly Father, we just didn't realize at the time how big of a blessing it truly was.
They left to go back to Lancaster on September 9Th. I didn't realize that day would be the last day I would see the beautiful smile and light in her eyes. When she got home she had her normal doctor appointment. Nothing out of the norm. However, when they got the results back the doctors decided that her kidneys weren't functioning the way they should. Again, nothing out of the norm. This would require her to go into the hospital and get hooked up to an IV until her kidneys kicked into gear again. This was on Friday the 17Th but the hospital said they didn't have any room, so to come back on Monday and they would have a bed for her. Over the weekend she came down with a high fever and a kidney infection. When she went to the hospital she was immediately admitted and put on IV antibiotics. When after a week the infection didn't go away and she was having terrible pain in her artificial hip the doctors decided to draw some fluid from her hip. When the results came back they determined that her hip was highly infected and must be removed.
This was scary news to all of our family. As we have been told in the past that her body didn't have the immune system to make it through even a simple surgery. I spoke to her on the phone through all of this. I could hear the faith in her voice that she knew everything would turn out the way Heavenly Father planned, but that she was scared of what was to come. The day of the surgery I spoke to her minutes before she was to go in. I told her how much I loved her and how she has taught me so much but that I most cherish that she taught me how to be strong and never lose my faith. I think at that time I knew what was going to be her fate but I didn't want to believe it. She was a fighter and always pulled through in the past, so of course she was going to pull through again.
The doctors had to take out her hip and replace it with an antibiotic filled cement hip. Meaning she would never walk again. Sometime, either immediately after or during the surgery she suffered a stroke. The stroke effected the left side of her brain which meant that the right side of her body was paralyzed. Which was actually a blessing. This meant that she wouldn't feel the pain from the surgery.
Jeff, my brother Justin and I rushed down to Los Angeles from Utah the minute we heard the news. Only stopping once in St. George to fill up on gas. We spent the week with her in the hospital until Sunday when we decided that she wasn't getting any worse and was making small improvements. On Saturday she was moved to a skilled nursing facility where she would be watched over 24/7. We felt confident that we could head back to Utah and come back to visit in a few weeks when the stroke had worn off and we could talk to her. While driving back on Sunday we got a call from my dad that her blood oxygen level had dropped to 60%. A normal level is in the high 90's. She was taken back to the hospital until her blood oxygen level was back up. This scared us, however, dad reassured us that she would be OK and that we could come back down for the weekend but to go to school and work for the week.
Monday was the hardest day to get through, knowing that my mom was struggling and I was 700 miles away not being able to do anything. I called her and talked to her. She was able to hold a conversation. She was hard to understand with her right side paralyzed but I could still make out what she was saying.
That afternoon my dad called us to let us know that though she was showing signs of improvement, her body was actually failing her. The doctor at the skilled nursing facility gave her a few days to a week to live. Needless to say, Justin and I made the drive back down that day to be with her Tuesday morning. Jeff was unable to miss anymore work so we flew him back and forth for the weekends. She progressively got worse and worse. Before she was too bad off Justin and I were able to record her talking to us and telling us the things that she wanted us to know. We in turn we able to tell her how much we loved her and how much she has taught us. I told her that she had such an influence on me and that I know how to live and love unconditionally because of her.
My sister Pam, her son Shaun, and daughter Shelby, Shaun's girlfriend Diane and their son Jordan were able to come down a lot and be with us and mom. Also, my sister-in-law LaDona, her son Joe and her daughter Teresa were able to come out from North Carolina to be there as well. In a big surprise my brother John was able to get special permission from the Army to come back from Afghanistan to be with us as well. My mom's sister, my aunt, Jolene was able to come visit mom everyday. Also, other family members including my cousins Mike and Kim and my mom's best friends were able to see her before she passed as well. It was nice to have so much family with us at this time. It helped to keep our spirits up and know that everything would be OK.
In the final days we were able to stay the night with mom. That was some of the most wonderful times I had with mom. Though having all our family around was nice, it was amazing to be able to be there just mom and me. One of the days Jeff gave mom a priesthood blessing. At that moment I have never in my life felt so close to Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ. I knew they were there watching over mom and our family letting us know that everything will be OK and will work out the way it should. He was there in the room with us, protecting our hearts and our memories.
Two nights before mom passed away she began having seizures. She suffered about 14 seizures that night. They started at nine that night and went until about 11 the next morning when her body finally fell into a coma. She was in a coma from that point until 5:45 the next morning. Dad was with mom the morning she passed away. He said that in her last few minutes of life she let out a few sighs. I feel she was telling the world, "OK, I've had enough." She took in one last deep breath and released her spirit.
It was a hard few weeks but it was wonderful that we were able to be with her as a family. The morning she passed away Justin and I drove down to Los Angeles to say one last goodbye and see her before they took her body away. We said a family prayer and were comforted by each other.
I love my mom so much and always will. She will always be in my heart and will always be around to continually teach me. That was one of the things that made me the most sad. I didn't want her to die for selfish reasons. I needed her to be there for me. I needed her to teach me simple things. I needed her to call when I was bored and just needed someone to talk to. But I realized over the last few weeks that she is there. She is always around, more now than before. She is here when I miss her the most.
I know that because of our older brother Jesus Christ I will see her again in her most perfect body, smiling with that beautiful light in her eyes.