Thursday, May 12, 2016

A Year of Pain, Suffering and Loss


I must apologize for my absence from this blog, instagram, pinterest, and mostly to my patient clients of this past year.  Last year I shared the loss of "our friend Jim" here . Jim was a wonderful friend to both Steve and I and a mentor and surrogate father to both our children.  He passed last April. Steve's beloved father passed this April, and in July I had my hip replaced.  Hip hip hooray it is fabulous thank you! Three weeks after having my hip replaced I went to visit my mom and found her suffering from heart failure and pulmonary fibrosis.  I stayed with her for almost three weeks as she was not about to accept any outside care.  I finally convinced her she needed round the clock care which began an eight month journey.  I would go down every Thursday for 24 hours and relieve the caregivers.  

mom and colin 1980

Mom wasn't an easy patient to care for.  She was a retired nurse, wife of a doctor that preceded her in death by many years, and extremely strong willed and independent.  She was  often non compliant, refusing to take any drugs (other than one tylenol with codeine at night) until the very, very end. She wasn’t interested in being told what to do, and did it her way until her body would no longer put up a fight.  Her feisty personality birthed a survival instinct that  would carry her to the end.

Mom and I had a conflicted relationship. She grew up in a very disfunctional family and was ill equipped emotionally to parent. She never sought therapy and carried the burdens of her family life to her death. 

mom as a child in Michigan

The death of a parent is a major loss and difficult to cope with whether the relationship was good or bad. Our parents are usually the only ones who have known us since we were born, and often know us better than we know ourselves.

me in dance class


The skills mom was lacking as a parent, she taught me in her struggle with death. The walker, and later the wheelchair were always kept out of view.  She got up ( gotten up when she no longer had the strength to use the walker)  perched herself in her chair,  and drank her coffee every morning (in the end from a straw).  She ruled the roost from her chair, taking care of daily activities like she always did until she began making mistakes and misteps. She was a prime example of the strength of the human spirit and the endless bounds that it can stretch. 

mom and I on my wedding day

In the end mom was surrounded by the hospice team, caregivers, neighbors, and friends that embraced her character flaws and cared for her graciously. They dished out a healthy dose of love, kindness, care and sacrifice during her time of need. I will be forever greatful and enriched by their thoughtfulness and friendship.

mom and suzanne one of her caregivers

Here's to a healthy and happy coming year!  There is no where to go but up!  Thanks for your patience friends!!

77 comments:

  1. Cindy,

    I am heartbroken for you. I am sorry for your struggle this past year and for the loss of your mom. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your heartfelt thoughts Elizabeth.

      Delete
  2. Oh Cindy....I have been there with my Mom when she passed 10 years ago from cancer....she was one tough bird! I am so sorry for your loss...it is never easy to lose a parent or anyone for that matter. My thoughts and prayers are with you. xoxo Sherry

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sure you could tell mine was a tough bird as well! Thanks for your kind thoughts Sherry!

      Delete
  3. So sorry for your deep loss Cindy and the really tough year you have had. Your relationship with your mother is quite similar to mine and I struggle just as you have. Stay strong...thinking of you. xoxo Kelley

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It seems we have crossed paths in many ways Kelley..

      Delete
  4. Our heartfelt sympathies to you and your family.

    ReplyDelete
  5. No apologies needed. I love the picture of your Mom and her caregiver, both beautiful women with kind, smiling eyes. I lost my Mom nine years ago and think of her every day and feel your loss and I am sorry you have had such a rough patch lately. Better days are ahead and I also wanted to thank you for your creative, inspiring blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Zoe thank you so much for reading and commenting. It means a lot to hear from my wonderful readers.

      Delete
  6. Replies
    1. Thanks Pal...you hang in there too...when it comes to moms we lead parallel lives...

      Delete
  7. Oh my gosh Cindy I am in tears here... my heart goes out to your loss and more over to the strong woman who raised an amazing daughter like you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for those kind words my friend...

      Delete
    2. Thank you so much for those kind words my friend...

      Delete
  8. I am so very sorry for the loss of your mother. She certainly was a strong woman up to the end.
    I just lost a wonderful cousin last week so I understand the loss.

    Take care of yourself and have a wonderful weekend.

    Hugs,
    Mary

    ReplyDelete
  9. Cindy, I am so very sorry for the loss of your mother and all the sadness you have had to deal with over the year. I can't imagine going through such heartbreak. Yes, you HAVE to have a better year...most definitely! Here's hoping for a summer full of joy. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kelly! I am still caring for my 93 year old father, thankfully he is holding up so far!!

      Delete
  10. I understand your pain and grief. My Mother was much the same and passed at age 96 two years ago. I suppose that she was very conflicted through life and had a very difficult time being anything but distant with me. Her childhood was very complicated. I made my peace several years before she became ill and that was a good thing. Having endured the death of my dear Son at age 33 I had nothing left to give. Time will provide perspective, I am testament to this. Sometimes it is not what you were taught but it is all about what you learned in spite of what you were taught. Take time to process and grieve, a good life awaits.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Celkalee I wish I had your email address. I only hope you get this. Your comment "it is not about what you are taught but it is all about what you learn" will be my mantra. I cannot imagine enduring the death of a son at age 33. You are one strong woman. I am lucky to have you as a reader.

      Delete
  11. Yes... this will be a better year, Cindy. I love the beautiful photo of you and your mom...you were a child bride! Wish I could give you a hug. I know your mother was/is very proud of you.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Cindy, I'm so very sorry for your loss. It certainly was a difficult year between losing your dear friend, your hip surgery and then your mom's health decline. What a JOY you and your family must have been to your mom, and what a blessing for her to have kind caregivers and you with her until the end of her life! You are a beautiful person, a treasured jewel in your mother's life I am sure. XO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lisa
      As I said my hip surgery was a piece of cake compared to the rest of the year. Thanks for always being such a sweet blogging friend. I hope we can meet in person some day!

      Delete
  13. Cindy, I am so sorry for your loss. I have to admit that this post hit home for me. I have a very strained relationship with my own mother. I grew up in a very violent dysfunctional home. My mother was married multiple times and, as the oldest, I was often the parent to my younger siblings. My mother is now battling stage four ovarian cancer and she too has been a very difficult patient, often refusing to do what the doctors tell her is best for her treatment. Thankfully, she is responding well to the chemotherapy in spite of herself. My heart goes out to you and your family and I hope that the coming year is much better for everyone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Angie you sound like the model daughter to me. Thankfully there was plenty of dysfunction but no violence in our lives. Mom did the best she could given her upbringing. I know that now. I wish you luck on your journey. It is tough to take care of someone that doesn't want to be cared for.

      Delete
  14. Cindy... you have had some tough months. So sorry for your loss.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Katie my therapy will be reading one of your hilarious posts! They always make my day.

      Delete
  15. My sympathy to you, Cindy, and your family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Victoria I appreciate it very much.

      Delete
  16. I am so sorry for your loss. I appreciate the honesty with which you write about your mom. The love and dedication you gave her is so evident. What a rough year, I am sending healing and hopeful thoughts for good and joyful things to come your way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Ssprague. I had been meaning to write a post for several days but had a hard time expressing myself in the most honest way I could.

      Delete
  17. I am sorry for your loss Cindy. Your mother was very beautiful as are you! You are a fine daughter and should be proud of your devotion to her:)
    You can rest easy now knowing she is at peace at last.
    Blessings,

    Terri

    ReplyDelete
  18. I am so sorry to hear of your sorrows this past year. sometimes "when it rains, it pours" is all too true. My father died in a plane crash when I was just shy of six years old and my mother never recovered. re-married twice and both times were bad choices, she struggled with depression and alcoholism the rest of her life. we too had a difficult relationship. she has been gone eight years now and my memories have mellowed as time takes the sharp edges off of harsh words and bitter actions. I wish you serenity and rest after this difficult year. xx-hb

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Holly I cannot imagine the pain you have suffered. I feel foolish even mentioning mine in light of yours. Thank you friend for your kind comment

      Delete
  19. Cindy,
    I'm so sorry for your loss. I lost my mother several years ago and our relationship was complicated, but you're right, you miss a parent who knows you and holds the history of your family. Best to you through this time of grief.
    xo,
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks friend...your comments always make me smile.

      Delete
  20. Not all of us got the mother we needed, but eventually—if we struggle enough—we can find the mother we need and want in others and most importantly learn how to mother our selves. I believe that forgiveness is a complicated issue. I have grown to love Alice Walker's observation about her mothers late fall garden still filled with some good tomatoes, some almost, some still green. Her mother said, "Take what you can use and let the rest rot." I raise a glass to you for navigating emotional and physical land mines. Here's to better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I cannot tell you how your comment has touched me. I forwarded it to my daughter. I ran right over to your blog but found that you are no longer posting. I am sorry I missed your posts. I know I would have enjoyed getting to know you better.

      Delete
  21. Rough Luxe perspective seems to be a good metaphor for life and yours in particular. There are always lessons to learn in the most difficult times. I grew up in a home of abuse and addictions, and in the end, value the opportunity to stretch my own ideals of what love is. Love is all. It is transformative and powerful. You get that. Thank you for sharing. By doing so, you provide encouragement and strength to all who live in the rough/luxe continuum. xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brenda, I never really thought about the parralel you mentioned here. You are a wise woman. Thank you so much for commenting. I hope you will inspire us more often with your thoughts.

      Delete
  22. Cindy, I'm sad to read that this has been a year of loss. My heart goes out to you. I love the photo of you and your mom on your wedding day. I hope you have that framed and out so you can see the love. Even though my mom lived to be 99, life without her is not the same.
    Yes, I raise my glass to you and a happy, healthy year ahead.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sarah for that reminder I must frame that photo. My father is 93 and I am thinking he may hit the same milestone as your mother.

      Delete
  23. I love your blog and have missed you. I send you warm thoughts to help you get through such a difficult time. This blog was very inspirational. Thank you and God Bless

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mimi I so appreciate your thoughtful comment

      Delete
  24. Your blog post is so loving and honest. It is hard to lose a parent whether they let go easily or not. And whether the relationship was an easy one or not. Wishing you the best as you move forward. Sending Love!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so very much. I so appreciate your comments.

      Delete
  25. Cindy, I love your blog and read it all the time. When you read someone's heartfelt thoughts and feelings, you feel like a friend although you've never met. I am so very sorry for your loss and, as another said, no need to apologize. Your time is your own and you should take whatever you need. I think we all look forward to hearing from you again when you're ready! God Bless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oma I feel the same way about my readers. I am always so touched by your sweet comments. That is the beauty of blogging.

      Delete
  26. God bless you Cindy. Thank you for sharing this story of love and challenges, which you told so well. I can relate on many levels and appreciate your story all the more for that reason. Your time is your own. You are so generous and talented and warm, any post from you is a delight, so don't worry about going silent. No need to worry. Take very good care of yourself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jen thank you so much for commenting. You sound like someone I need to get to know!!

      Delete
  27. Blessings my dear, and it's your all around style with posting that always inspires as well as the sadness that weights heavy on a heart that touches ours. I too have dealt with a whole lot of cancer in my family, the list is way to long.
    Share all you want, we have strong shoulders for you to lean on beautiful.

    We love all you share here.
    Xx
    Dore

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Dore...you are such a lovely writer. You inspire me with every post.

      Delete
  28. I'm so sorry sweet Cindy, what a sad and challenging year, my heart aches for you and all that you've gone through. Sending love and prayers that you'll be blessed with a brighter year ahead.

    ReplyDelete
  29. AND To think I TEXTED YOU On the DAY she LEFT!!!!!!!YOU were a WONDERFUL DAUGHTER to GO and stay with HER each week.I have one question........is that a BOB CAT she is petting in the first photo?As you know I too have problems with MY MOTHER...........I sometimes wonder if I was REALLY HER DAUGHTER!I am SORRY for YOUR LOSS..........it cannot be easy.
    I want to put a BUG in YOUR BONNET..........BLOGGERS LUNCH as we discussed this summer!Something to plan and think about which will give you a SKIP to your STEP!
    XX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know I need to get on that but my yard etc is such a mess do to neglect!! I want to!!

      Delete
  30. Cindy--I've been meaning to get back here and leave a comment. When I read this post I felt so touched . Just thinking about all the losses you've had to absorb and how emotionally draining that can be. I'm so sorry for your loss. Our relationships with our mothers are so complex aren't they? I can relate to the difficulties with your mom that you alluded to in your post. It wasn't until I turned 40 that I made real peace with my Mom, although we are still so very different. I love seeing those pictures especially your mom as a young girl. It helps me feel like I know her better, especially hearing about her painful childhood. Blessings to her in heaven. And love and support to you as you regain your life back again. If you ever get down to SoCal let me know I would love to hook up over a glass of wine. I know we'd have lots to talk about.
    xo
    Leslie

    ReplyDelete
  31. Leslie thank you so much friend for your kind thoughts. I am always so inspired by your writing I feel honored that you were touched by this post. Yes our relationships with our mothers are complicated. I hope we can meet one day soon as well. If you come to the Central Coast you always have a place to stay!!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Dear Cindy,

    {{{{hugs}}}} my friend. i am so sorry for your loss. truly. thank you for writing this post. its honesty brought tears to my eyes and the words "me too" in my heart...your mom sounds just like my mom even down to them both being nurses. i struggle internally constantly with our relationship mainly for the sake of my kids knowing their grandmother. i tell myself she is doing the best she can and that i can only control my attitude and my actions, not hers. i will remember you and your mom and this post forever especially how you loved her through her last days. peace and blessings to you and your family.

    xoxo,
    nancy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nancy your words brought tears to my eyes. Your words "i can only control my attitude and actions not hers" were my mantra. My heart goes out to you in your struggle as well. Thanks for your lovely thoughts my friend

      Delete
  33. So sorry for your loss, Cindy. I just loss my mom too. Such a difficult thing to go through. I hold you in my thoughts today and send light and love to you and your family. ~LeAnn, (l&l)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Leann I am so sorry to hear about your mother's passing. I know you were very close. Thank you so much for your kind words.

      Delete
  34. so sorry for your loss. You mom sounds a lot like mine. She made life so difficult for herself and those around her. Sending prayers and peace for life's next chapter.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Oh Cindy...I'm so sorry...You and your family are in my prayers...I lost both of my parents last year and a day doesn't go by that I don't shed a tear...I'm sending tons of hugs to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Julie I know what a struggle you had last year. Thank you so much for your kind thoughts...

      Delete
  36. Cindy dear, I am just seeing this post for the first time. I am so very sorry for the loss of your mom. What a bittersweet time. I know that she was fortunate to have your love and care to the end. I remember the weeks of hospice when my dad was diagnosed with cancer. It is so emotionally draining. I hope that you are able to take some time to rest and recharge yourself after this difficult time of care-giving and loss. The journey of grief is like none other. I know you've walked through it before, yet each time is different. I hope you feel the love and care that surrounds you from all over. I'm reading such loving comments here on your blog. Sending love and prayers for comfort and peace for you and your family. xx, Heather

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much friend and good luck in your retirement!!

      Delete
  37. cindy dear cindy, i was thinking of you just now and wondered why i had not received any posts. when i came here to visit you.......oh so sorry for the loss of your mom.
    having a front row seat on this journey is one of our most difficult.
    i lost my mom last may and today found myself picking up the phone to tell her something...sigh
    prayers for healing, hugs to a dear friend, wishes for peace within
    xx
    debra

    ReplyDelete
  38. Dear Cindy, well I'm sorry I'm quite late in sending you my heartfelt condolences. I commend you for hanging in there with your mom, as that must have been very difficult for you given the relationship you described. I too have a very strained relationship with my mother. It's the reason I prayed for boys (and got them) each time I was pregnant, as I was afraid of another failed mother-daughter relationship. You must feel a sense of peace in knowing you did your best until the end. You've had an extremely tough year so look at it this way...things can only get better!! Wishing you a very happy and healthy rest of 2016, which sure is flying by quickly!!

    Hugs,

    Celia

    ReplyDelete
  39. I'm sorry to be so late in sending you my condolences, Cindy, I don't read the blogs regularly. I empathize so much with you in your caring for your elderly, ill parent. I'm sorry you have had such a tough year! I liked seeing the pictures of you and your mother, she was a beautiful woman (as are you.) I know you'll have an easier time now and hope your summer brings plenty of good times to lift your spirits! Anne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Anne! We still need to get together!

      Delete
  40. Cindy,

    I feel horrible that I had no idea of your mother's passing. I too have been busy; behind on blogging myself and reading yours (and others) so I am only now catching up. I did notice you were not on IG as much, but I figured you were busy with clients. I am so sorry for your loss. I sometimes think it's harder when you have a more complicated relationship; so many things remain unsaid and so many painful memories are buried. Those parent/child bonds are strong!

    Hopefully you are doing better now and have the support of your wonderful husband and children to rally around you. I do hope you will have a much better year this year! Looking forward to (hopefully!) meeting you in person in August:)

    Sheila
    xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Sheila...I appreciate your kind words.

      Delete
    2. Thanks so much Sheila...I appreciate your kind words.

      Delete

Please leave a comment! Your comments are what make a great post!