Manassas, the Battle of Bull Run
Arlington National Cemetery
Pentagon 9/11 Memorial
In the midst of the sadness of my mother’s passing, we had a houseful (nine of us) here for graduation and end-of-school celebrations and events.
Why yes, we are proud parents!
Muchas gracias to my MIL for taking these last 2 pictures on her camera.
I’m still not back to regular blogging. In part because my heart isn’t quite in it right now, and in part because there is much happening on the home front. I will stop by and visit when I can manage the time and inclination to do so.
I got the call at 11:15pm from my brother.
My uncle (Mom’s brother) and my brother were each holding her hand, one on each side of the bed. Her best friend had been in to visit and had just left 5 minutes before.
She was surrounded by loving hands and hearts in her final hour, and for this I am grateful.
Strangely enough, I am also grateful for the gift that cancer gave our family: the chance to say goodbye over time. The grief process began in early January, when Mom was diagnosed with cancer. By mid-March, we knew exactly what type of cancer we were dealing with (stage 4 appendiceal cancer) and we knew the prognosis. We had 3 months (to the very day!) to prepare for her death, three months in which to say “I love you” and grieve and say goodbye.
So now, I am not numb. I had my tears and I will have them again, but I am feeling strong tonight — strong enough to face the morning with a different kind of farewell. Tomorrow is the last day of school for my younger kids, filled with goodbyes and thank yous.
And I can do this. I have to do this. EB’s graduation is Saturday morning.
This photo is from 2 years ago, when she was 70 years young. She looks nothing like this today. Today she is skeletal-thin and frail.
She went into the hospital on Friday night after being cared for nearly ’round-the-clock by my younger brother & SIL since Wednesday morning. Mom was in a great deal of pain — something she always insisted she had very little of, although we suspected she was just good at repressing it.
This morning my brother called from the hospital, told me the current situation (no more machines, just oxygen and a morphine drip), and then gave me about a minute to talk to Mom on the phone. She was so weak that one minute was her limit for talking. She was so weak it was difficult to understand her — the weakness prevents her from forming words clearly and she sounds like a stroke patient — but she did try to talk.
I told her I loved her and that I take comfort in knowing she will soon be with her mom and dad and ~M~ (her husband who died 13 years ago). I said I was sorry I couldn’t be there with her now (although honestly? I’m a little bit relieved that I’m not there. It would be so very hard. I’m obviously a big chicken) and that I loved her very much (true). And then she told me that she loved me. I’m glad I could understand those words.
So that is that. I’ve been given a gift, that one last time to say “I love you.” So many people don’t have that opportunity. I”m grateful to have been given that gift.
Now I wait for the phone call that tells me she has passed from this life.
When taking pictures on the parade route, it’s best to hold still instead of trotting along behind the
hay wagon float!
Whether it was a moving target (or a moving photographer!), a shaky hand at the camera, or a subject “oops” — I know you must have something to share!
Head on over to Thom’s place today to play along!
On Friday, I went over to SnakeMaster’s school and helped the kids create their 5th grade float… well, I helped to tape things down, the kids were the creators using a Candyland theme. [click on any picture to embiggen]
On Saturday morning, quite a few 5th graders climbed aboard and
began eating candy prepared to ride up the main street (aka, the business route of the highway) of our small town.
It was all very sweet. The weather was warm, but not sticky. Good thing, too, with all those giant “chocolate” kisses!
I even managed to
improve darken my farmer’s tan by adding a burn over the previous tan.
After the parade, the kids all worked together to dismantle their project and families dispersed. I walked with SnakeMaster & one of his friends over to the town park where there were plenty of activities and even some free ice cream
The grandparents arrived Saturday evening along with MusicMan and his girlfriend, Rapunzel (The Girl With The Magic Hair). It had been a year since we’d seen the grandparents, 5 months since we’d seen MM, and the first time to meet Rapunzel.
I am so relieved to not have the house on show during this time!
Sunday morning, Encyclopedia Blue preached a mini-sermon at the second church service for Graduate Recognition Sunday. Baccalaureate is next Sunday and the following weekend is graduation.
There are now 9 of us in the household for the next 2 weeks. We are completely out of bread and almost out of milk & eggs. Obviously I will be going grocery shopping this morning! The grandparents will be here for just 2 weeks (they never take me seriously when I invite them to move in!) but Rapunzel is staying with us until the end of July, when she will help us drive back across the country to our new (as yet unchosen and unpurchased) home.
With 9 of us here, and only one computer connected to the internet — and of course GRADUATION and the end of the school year — *and* packing boxes and sneaking a few of them on-board the grandparents’ motorhome — well, with all of the above, I will be lucky to read blogs, let alone write a post!
I’ll be back when I can. (Tomorrow is a scheduled post, but come by anyway to say hello!)
The magic words for today are: