Archives For Mom’s Journey to Freedom

The Journal of my Mom’s Life and Fight with Cancer

Face Lift!

May 17, 2010

Yup, it’s time for a change and no, it’s not my own face. Hopefully, you noticed the changes when you pulled up my blog and I hope that all of you out there like it. I appreciate any feedback you may have. This is still a work in progress and we are working to change the header at the top. As much as I LOVE coffee, it’s not what I’m really going for. So pardon the mess as we remodel…

Kudos to James who always helps me with this! Thank you, James!!

Please notice you may now sign up for emails that will come to you whenever I write a new post to my blog. You won’t have to constantly check my site for new postings, but it will just show up in your inbox. It is safe and will not put your computer in danger of spam or any other evils floating around out there.

In deciding to change my blog, I have spent a lot of time thinking about all the posts, updates and information that I had on my Mom. This is very sacred to me and it was the main reason that I even began this blog. So what do I do with it? How do you just package up a journey and make it so simple? There was no easy answer, so I did the best that I could… I have made a new category of “Mom’s Journey to Freedom” that you will see in the categories. This now houses the posts and online journey that we have all taken together. It is now in one place for reference to anyone who wants to go back and remember, read, cry or laugh. It is also there for anyone new to my site who may be struggling with an illness themselves and would like to find encouragement and strength from our experience.

I must say that revising my blog is a new starting point for me. I feel as though the past two months I have been camped out in the grey shadows with vast mountains to my back. In front of me is a wide open place, sunny and full of promise; it beckons to me and I can’t quite explain why I don’t run to it. When I look behind I see those deep, cavernous mountains that I climbed, scaled, scrambled and hiked. For the last five years it has been this way but all the while I was traveling with my Mom. I longed for this day when I would reach the base of these mountains and finally see something, anything different. A quiet plain, something peaceful; even something boring. Yet, I had not really counted the cost that to leave the mountains meant to bury my traveling companion. I would have to emerge from the shadows alone.

So I have sat for two months. Not daring to move forward. I want to and I feel like I am about to stand up and slap the dust off my jeans and take those first hesitant steps. They are coming…this change in my blog is one of the first movements.

Good things are ahead…

I will be glad and rejoice in Your love,
for You saw my affliction
and knew the anguish of my soul.

You have not handed me over to the enemy
but have set my feet in a spacious place.
Psalm 31:7-8

To Walk the Path

April 19, 2010

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This is my Mom a year ago today. April 19th is her birthday and she would have been 67. Instead she is a month and a day old in eternity…though in eternity I’m sure there is no time, no clocks, no calendar. I wonder today if someone noted that on earth it would have been her special day. Did my sweet Grandma wish her a happy birthday and bake her a cherry chip cake in the kitchens of heaven? What is it like? My heart feels homesick for heaven and eternity because I know that there is a growing party awaiting me there with hugs and reunions that will never come to an end. No more death or sickness or cancer. No more longing.

Scripture talks about how God has “placed eternity in the heart of every man”. It’s true. With every loss I have experienced in 40 years of living, that longing for eternity grows bigger. For it is not an empty place, a distant speck inside my soul, but a growing part etched with names and faces tied to my very essence. They have helped to make me…”me”. People I have loved, watched, looked up to and learned from. Babies I never chanced to name or even hold. A whole group of people who helped to fashion my upbringing by passing down my heritage. This is what continually draws my focus heavenward and causes me to yearn.

When this picture was taken a year ago, my Mom had turned down a new path in her journey with this disease. I remember she sat in this chair the entire evening and really tried to put on a happy face even though she felt terrible. I had to bring her birthday cake to her to blow out the candles, because the effort to come to the table was too much. My heart had begun to ache for her about this time because I knew this was different. This wasn’t a path we had walked before; it had been altered and was very decided. It wasn’t the wide road filled with drug options, hope filled verdicts and dropping tumor markers after rounds of chemo. This was a narrow trail, uphill and rugged and I felt like I could no longer walk beside her but only shout encouragement from a parallel and distant road. When she would stumble, fall and dashed hopes were bloodied knees, I could only watch with outstretched hands that seemingly hit a glass wall before I could ever actually touch her.

It was on this path, alone and watching that that I began to learn to test-drive my faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1) There is a small chasm between hope and faith. I think for so long I had “hoped” in God and in the outcome for Mom. But when we hit this road something else changed and faith was added to my hope as it was all I had left. Amazingly, the outcome was an unexplainable peace. Faith is actually being able to let go, to rest. That sounds so petty and simple but it was profound. When all “hope” becomes lost faith can keep holding you up. Not faith in self or providence, but in Christ alone. He is the rock that you can stand on. He doesn’t shift, shake or move. This rock provides great shade in the heat of battle and clefts in the rock when you need to sit a spell. He is above all and in all. He holds all things together by his word and he knows the ending at the very beginning. He is relentless with his love and he walks the lonely path with you. He never leaves or forsakes. He is merciful and doesn’t give us what we deserve. He deserves all that I can give him and at the very least my praise. Mom would say “God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.” I am not angry with Him for what happened with Mom. He is the answer to every question mark in my mind. He cares more for my character than my comfort and that humbles me.

This last year I saw Mom grow more in her reliance on God and in letting Him increase as she decreased. That is something I can only hope to attain as I walk my seemingly charmed existence when compared to hers. To have a simple outlook of whatever He wills, then that I will accept. If I can learn that one life lesson from her and pass it on to my children, then it will eventually come full circle as our paths cross again when it’s my turn to go Home. When I one day walk again with her…

Happy Birthday, sweet Mom. How I miss you.

Crumby Blog

April 6, 2010

I have been looking at this blog of mine and wondering what to do with it….

This blog was born in a place of hope, during a horrific time of new pain in my life. It was started as a place to record and capture the moments of life during Mom’s fight with cancer. The fight is over, she has laid down her sword and her shield and turned it in for a new body and a heavenly home. I’m jealous of her. Who would have ever thought this blog would have lasted this long. None of us knew and as I look back throughout the pages of time I am wonderfully appreciative of the months and years that I was given with my Mom. I am also glad that every step was recorded here and that as I go back and read from a different perspective, I am blessed by it all.

During her illness I became even closer to her than ever. She went from Mom, advice-giver, nurturer to an unbelievable friend. I’m glad I recorded the moments in this blog and I now see the preciousness of my relationship with her. Walking with someone who is dying of cancer is not something I would have ever chosen for my life. Yet for her, I was honored to walk every step with her. I honestly hope I don’t ever have to do that again. There is something very magical and momentous that happens when you are in a relationship that is fragile because of a life-threatening disease. It causes the bonds of love and support to deepen and strengthen much further than if it hadn’t been. Yet because of it, now the pain of separation is very deep and very strong too.

Many times I have referred to hearing pages turn, chapters close and time swiftly fleeing as I see my kids grow and change. This is the first time I heard a book shut. It was not a slam. It wasn’t noisy and abrupt. It was a savoring of the last and final page. Breath and reading slowing down to put the polished quiet touch on the last and final word. Then a moment to pause; to let the entire story settle upon you. Then slowly the back of the book is closed upon the pages. Finished. That’s what it was like.

Life continues. My kids keep growing and changing. The world still moves at a very fast pace. Yet, I sit and feel like I am moving through jello. Like I want to be in the pace that I was, but somehow I can’t. There are moments I forget that she is gone, but they are so short lived. For life keeps reminding me of her absence. She is a habit in my life that keeps coming up and I find that I replace it with….I don’t know. Just whatever is there at the moment.

I have now entered a new time in my life. I have been enrolled in the school of grief. The training I will receive here will be priceless; even as the school of cancer has been in so many ways. Losing my Mother will draw me closer to my Heavenly Father. As hard as this class is, I cannot drop out. I must finish it and it could be a very long one. BUT, when I come through it I pray I will be wiser, humbler, more loving and kind. I pray that I will look less like me and more like the one who made me.

So this blog takes a turn. I promise not to write only sad things, but there may be some. A new book has begun and it is my choices that will determine the flavor and themes of the pages. It can be pathetic or passionate. As my Mom would always say “you can let it make you bitter, or let it make you better”…. I hope to make it better.

Funeral Arrangements

March 18, 2010

Thank you so much for all the love that each of you have given to us. We appreciate all the very loving support and prayers that have been sent our way. You cannot even begin to know how much we feel loved and supported. So THANK YOU!

Mom’s Funeral will be:
This Saturday, March 20th
9:00am to 11:00am – visitation
11:00 – Funeral Service
Abundant Life Baptist Church
414 SW Persels Rd.
Lee’s Summit, MO

We somehow missed the cutoff with the K.C. Star for her obituary for Friday’s paper. So it will not go out until Saturday but all the arrangements have already been made so we are going ahead. Please feel free to pass this information on to anyone you know who may not know about Mom’s passing. Thank you all.

We love you.

Dear All –

I am writing as a final chapter in the jouney we have all taken together with my Mom. Today, March 18th, Mom has gone home to be with Jesus. Her final moments here on earth were peaceful and she slipped into eternity in a very peaceful way.

Dad called me at 3:30 this morning and asked me to come, and she passed away around 6:00a.m. I’m thankful I was here with her for those last moments.

Thank you for your continued prayers for my family as we make decisions and plan the funeral. I will post the funeral information when we know more.

Karen

Tuesday is the Day

January 23, 2010

Just a quick note to let you all know that Mom is leaving Hospice House on Tuesday. We are starting to get the house ready for her arrival. Appreciate all your continued prayers.

I’ve been also getting Evely a new bedroom. She turns the BIG 5 years old this week and so she has requested a pink room that looks like a girl. I think she is tired of the boys leftovers and the blue. So Tom and I have spent a good part of the weekend painting. I’m excited to get her room done and will post picks when it’s finished.

The Latest…

January 20, 2010

Hello everyone –

I was at Hospice House today to visit my Mom and heard some great news. The Dr. comes by each day to see her and check on how she is doing. Mom asked her today how things were and she told Mom “very well….in fact, so well that you can start thinking about going home.” That was quite an amazing shock! Compared to those first days after we took Mom to H.H., she has really come along. She still has a long ways to go, but we are headed in a better direction.

The thought of going home excites Mom but also creates a lot of apprehension as to her care, comfort, meds, etc. So she would appreciate prayer for wisdom and direction as we think about this. They will not kick her out of H.H. and told her to think about next week sometime. However, we do need to begin to make plans, maybe see about therapy and other ideas to get her ready for this major move. Thank you for your continued prayers for my family! They mean more than you could ever know.

Hospice Hospitality

January 14, 2010

It has been two weeks since we moved Mom to Hospice House on New Year’s Eve. That was not a very fun evening for our family, but since then we have come a long way.

The Hospice House really is as beautiful as they had told us! The hospitality of the staff and volunteers is amazing. The building is very homey and doesn’t look at all like a nursing home or hospital. It’s more like a small hotel. The rooms are very large and nicely decorated, lots of bookshelves for pictures and things. She has a big window and a couch, chairs and table, desk and huge bathroom. Three people can actually sleep in Mom’s room every night, but so far Dad is the only one who has stayed. They have big family rooms with fire places, hot coffee, soups and bread and kitchens for our use.

Dad has been living there with Mom and it’s such a blessing for them. They can now really enjoy one another’s company without all the stress of managing medications and all the daily personal care that Mom needs. He seems to be doing well.

Mom, of course, loves on everyone that comes into her room and I think everyone that leaves feels as blessed as Mom does with their visit. She has come a LONG way and is doing pretty well. She isn’t out of bed at all yet, but her appetite has returned, her body is functioning well and she seems to be gaining in strength.

I spoke to her Dr. today and she said that Mom has really settled into a good “groove”. She has stabilized and we are definitely no longer looking at “days” but more like “weeks”. I am wondering if we may see those “weeks” turn into “months”.

Mom has really been a pillar of faith in God. She is really believing that God can raise her up out of this bed and she can walk out of Hospice House if that is His will for her. She knows that she may not, and may go Home to be with Him, but until then we just look to Him for all the answers for her life. Her mantra right now that everyone will hear her say is “NOTHING is impossible with God”. She said she has always known that and believed it, but now she believes it to her core and she is placing her faith there. No matter what the outcome.

I know that many of you were wondering what is happening with her and I hope this helps to give you some more answers for now. Thank you for all your prayers and support! It has been wonderful…

Hospice House

December 31, 2009

This is a short post to let all of you know of Mom’s progress. We enjoyed a nice quiet Christmas morning together. She was able to sit and enjoy everyone opening gifts.

Things have steadily declined since then. Today her nurse was here and evaluated her and we decided together that it was time to move her to Hospice House. They will be moving her today sometime. This will greatly give us the help we need with 24 hour nursing staff and Dr’s. It is not a nursing home but we hear it has a beautiful atmosphere, very peaceful and quiet. It’s set up more like a house with a family room and kitchen for us. We can stay with her 24 hours a day there.

This is but another step in our journey. This is not hopeless or a dead end for her. She is but a few hours or days away from her real Home in heaven and to be free of a body that is keeping her soul from freedom. I am so thankful for the hope that we have in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am thankful that His blood paved the way for our salvation for our eternal home and hope when we die.

These are some verses that I have read recently that I thought I would share…

II Corinthians 5

We know that the earthly tent we live in will be destroyed. But we have a building made by God. It is a house in heaven that lasts forever. Human hands did not build it.

During our time on earth we groan. We long to put on our house in heaven as if it were clothing. Then we will not be naked.

While we live in this tent of ours, we groan under our heavy load. We don’t want to be naked. We want to be dressed with our house in heaven. What must die will be swallowed up by life.

God has made us for that very purpose. He has given us the Holy Spirit as a down payment. The Spirit makes us sure of what is still to come.

So here is what we can always be certain about. As long as we are at home in our bodies, we are away from the Lord. We live by believing, not by seeing. We are certain about that. We would rather be away from our bodies and at home with the Lord. So we try our best to please him. We want to please him whether we are at home in our bodies or away from them.

Our Love to all of you…

Karen

Merry Christmas!

December 8, 2009

Well, the Christmas Season has crept right upon us and I hope this finds all of you in the Christmas spirit and enjoying all those traditions we find ourselves engaging in year after year. It’s such a great time for remembering and enjoying the wonderment of salvation and the birth of the Savior that provided it for us.

Many of you continue to ask how my Mom is and what’s going on with her now. So this will be a brief update.

She is doing much better for now! She is resting better, eating better and has cut back on the pain meds they initially had put her on. She is in good spirits and continues to trust our Good and Heavenly Father for His will in her life. While the Hospice nurses are doing all they can to make her comfortable and also “prepare” her for the end. She is comforted by the fact that in Christ, her life is hidden and she is already prepared for whatever may come.

She is looking at life as being further down the road now and is sure she will be here for Christmas. That is so nice to see and hear from her! Thanks so much for all the encouragement and prayers.

Merry Christmas to you all!