Tuesday, October 24, 2017

My Mom...

I haven't blogged in nearly a year. Life just got way too busy way too fast with 4 kids. Then my life completely and totally changed. The bottom dropped out. I'm only coming back now so as to document my thoughts and emotions and to have a place to share more intimately than facebook or Instagram.  My mother died on August 29, 2017 and today marks 8 weeks since her passing. It was Bo's first day of preschool and my first day teaching preschool. I keep thinking of the last day I saw her and of what she did the last week of her life. She was with me and my kids like usual. 

Friday, August 18, 2017, was the last weekend all 4 grandkids spent the night at Mimi and Jo-Jo's house. And this was the selfie they took. The last picture of my mother. I never thought I would say how happy I am that Kellyn is in to taking selfies, but what a blessing this one is.
Max and I had our last date night that night and we went to eat at all the fun new places in downtown Lewisville, Twisted Root and Whitherspoon Distillery. Look at that happy, go lucky couple. They do not exist anymore. Our perfectly charmed life as we knew it is over, never to return again.

The week of August 21was the week I started teacher training so my mom had to keep all my kids. On Monday, August 21, I took all 4 them to the childcare room at school because Kellyn had 5th grade orientation then meet the teacher. It was also the day of the eclipse. My mom came to school to pick them all up around noon and passed out x-ray film to all my teacher friends then took and 4 kids home and put the littles down for naps. She took this pic at lunch time of them looking at the eclipse and sent it to me.

 Later that day she took all of them to 5 and Below to pick out toys and candy. I've never taken all 4 of them to a place like that. Thats a tough thing to do with a 1 year old and 3 year old in tow not mention the greedy 8 and 10 year old. :) But she did it and didn't think twice about it. This was the last day Kellyn saw her Mimi because every evening from 4:00-7:00 she had Dance Intensive this week.

Tuesday, August 22 was Kellyn's first day of school and Rhett's Meet the Teacher day so the 2 younger ones stayed in the childcare room at school while I was partly in training and partly with Rhett then my mom came and got them early again around 11:30 so the little ones could take naps and Rhett could play out at her house. I stayed at school until I had to get Kellyn at 3:30 and rush her to Dance Intensive. After I dropped her off I went out to my Mom's house to pick up the other 3.

Wednesday, August 23, was Kellyn's 2nd day of school and Rhett went to play at a splash pad with his friend Brett. His friend asked him to go to his house to play, but Rhett wanted to be dropped off at the school so he could go out to Mimi's house with Bo and Priscilla. She picked all of them up early at 11:30. Later that afternoon after I finished teacher training I rushed Kellyn to Dance Intensive by 4:00. I texted my mom to say I was on the way out to pick up everyone and she said to stop by Cotton Patch on the way to pick up the dinner she had ordered for us and to the Visa Debit card that I had for tuition and the occasional groceries. She was always providing for us and making sure I had an easy life. When I got there they were playing outside in the sandbox and the little 2 were wet and had to change clothes before we left to go home. I found those little clothes the following week in the kitchen as I searched for my mother's social security card the day she died. This was the last day Rhett saw his Mimi.

Thursday, August 24, I took Kellyn and Rhett to school with me at 8:15 to prepare for my Meet the Teacher Day while my mom came over at about 9:00 to stay with Priscilla and Bo and Max left for work. I got home at around 1:30. My mom said she had just put Bo and Priscilla down for naps. This was the last time they ever saw their Mimi. We sat at the kitchen table talking and discussing all the things I needed before my first day of school. She made a list of supplies she was going to get me from Office Max and The Dollar Store. She had to go run some other errands and I needed to pick up Rhett and Kellyn from school in about an hour. I walked her to the door and watched her walk to her black Expedition with the gun control bumper sticker and grass fed beef magnet on the side. This was the last day I ever  saw my mother.

She texted me from the property throughout the weekend. On Sunday, August 27, she texted that my dad had lost a lens to his glasses once again out in the field and that he had messed up her Instagram account. She was always blaming him for messing up phone for some reason.

I called her Monday evening and just to quickly discussed plans for tomorrow and to tell her I moved Priscilla's bins of clothes from changing table downstairs up to her room. I just told her where I would have things laid out and what time to be there. This was the last day I heard my mother's voice.
Then the next morning....

I only made it 2 hours into my first day back at work after 9 years of being a full times stay at home mom. My mom was actually getting ready that morning to come to my house to keep Priscilla. She was excited about having her all to herself every Tuesday and Thursday morning while Bo and I were at school. Kellyn, Rhett, Bo and I left early that morning at around 8:00 (school doesn't start until 8:45.) Max stayed home until 9:00. When my dad showed up instead of my mom to stay with Priscilla so he could leave for work he knew something was wrong, but my dad just said that my mom was feeling a little dizzy and hot, but once she sat down and rested a little she said she felt well enough to finish fixing her hair. She forced my dad to leave and stay will Priscilla until she could get there later. She never wanted to let me down or interrupt my life in anyway. My dad was very worried about her and kept calling her every few minutes. Priscilla slept in late that morning util about 9:30 Max said so she never woke up in time to even see my dad. My dad finally sent Maggie, the clinic manager, and very close friend of our family, out to check on my mom. When she got there my mom had passed out and Maggie called 911. My dad called Max to rush back to the house so he could leave to go to the hospital. By about 10:30 on my first day of work my husband showed up at school and I was escorted to a private room where he told me my mother was with Paw-paw, her father. I was very confused why he said that. I didn't understand what was happening. He finally just had to say your mom died this morning and we need to go to the hospital. She had a sudden and unexpected heart attack just like her father who died of the same thing when he was 64. My mom was 66 (2 weeks shy of turning 67.)

Losing your mom is like losing your soul. It's like losing your best friend, biggest cheerleader, and the 1 and only person that understands you in this entire world, the one person that always has your back and always wants to hear about your day. It's the worst thing in the entire world that could possibly happen to someone. I leaned on my mom for everything, everything! I told her secrets and complained about my husband to her and bragged on my children to her. I feel like my lifeline to the world has been cut off, like my emotional outlet has been severed. No matter how old you get you always want your mom and need you mom and love your mom.

What's weird is this weird parallel I'm living with my mom.
When my mom, Carol Ruth, was 28 she gave birth to her first born, a girl, me, Kristy Ruth. When I was 28 I gave birth to my first born, a girl, Kellyn Ruth. When my mom was 31 she gave birth to her 2nd born, a boy, my brother, Jacob. When I was 31 I gave birth to my 2nd born, a boy, Kellyn's brother, Rhett. When my mom was 39 her father, whom she adored and who lived with us, died suddenly of a heartache. My mom went crazy and had to be sedated for the funeral. I was 11 and my brother was 8. I am currently 39 and my mother has died suddenly of a heartache whom I adored and cannot function through this life without her. Kellyn is 11 and Rhett is 8.

The slide show my brother, Jacob Shaffer, put together for the funeral is so amazing. He did such a fantastic job and really nailed it.

I remember her singing the song by Doris Day, "Que Sera Sera" often. I also remember her singing the song, "Don't Eat the Daisies," by Doris Day as well. I would catch myself humming those. She often played the song "Jail House Rock" for Priscilla to dance to. My mom loved any and every song by Elvis. And she loved our dog, her grand puppy, Miss Lily. She would come pick her up once a week to give her a bath and have time with the grandparents. And we all know how much she loved John Wayne and was fiercely protective of her grandchildren so that that movie clip at the end was perfect. Try to find 10 minutes in your day to watch it, please.

I was asked to share some things that I remember about my mom to be read at the funeral by the pastor and friend of the family, Jason Fanning, so here is what I wrote:

My mom, Carol Ruth.

I remember being woken up in the middle of the night to go pull a calf. 
I remember birthing puppies at the veterinary clinic.
I remember every night before bed I would sit down on the floor and mom would dip a hairbrush in a cup of water mix with conditioner and brush and braid my wild curly hair. If she wanted it to look like Shirley Temple she would put my hair in pin curls. 
I remember her making roast every Sunday. 
I remember begging my mom for a miniature horse and then actually getting one.
I remember my mom waiting up for me on the couch.
I remember my crazy mom jerking me out of my boyfriend’s house and embarrassing me for missing curfew.
I remember my parents being at every track meet and football game I cheered at.
I remember rice crispy treats, mississippi mud pie, angel food cake, homemade ice cream and cherry pie…all kinds of pies. 
I remember all the notes scribbles on paper plates and paper towel and sticky notes all around the kitchen.
I remember her almost burning the house down many times. 
I remember my mom being friends with all my my friends.
I remember my friends going to hang out with my mom even when I was away at college. 
I remember my parents moving me in to my first apartment. 
I remember my mom always bringing me milk from Braum’s when they came to visit me in college because she thought it was the best. 
I remember my mom helping me set up my first classroom.
I remember my mom begging for her first grandchild.
I remember my mom always saying, “Cindy said this…Cindy goes here….Cindy stays there…Cindy thinks I should….Cindy does this…Cindy and I are exercising…I’m having lunch with Cindy… Cindy is afraid of the rain.
I remember being mean to my mom and resenting her for doing everything for me.
I remember needing my mom all the time.
I remember my mom being there every time I gave birth.
I remember my mom taking my grandmother to the emergency room.
My mom made food for us a lot.
My parents were at every single birthday party and event no matter how big or small.
My mom made birthdays and all holidays a big deal. 
My mom spent the night at my house so I could sleep a little after Kellyn Ruth was born. 
My mom slept on the floor of my living room with my sick baby and elderly dog while we went on one last vacation to Galveston before Priscilla was born because Miss Lily could not go up the stairs and Bo needed to be propped up to breathe. She never complained or even mentioned it.
She always kept things from me that would worry me or interrupt my plans. I often asked, “Why didn’t you tell me?” and she would always say, “Well we handled it.”
My mom would drop everything at the drop of a hat if we needed her even it wasn’t anything all that important. She did not want us to ask anyone else for help. 
My mom would call Maggie or Judy or Dorothy as her backup to help me or Maw-maw on those very rare occasions she couldn’t be in 2 places at once. 
My mom sewed costumes for me and for my children. She loved sewing and was happy to do it. She made all my kids nursery bedding. 
My mom ran errands for me so I wouldn’t have to get out with 4 kids or put them down late for naps. She would drop groceries on my doorstep.
My mom was always buying my kids new clothes and sometimes bought the same thing twice on accident. 
My mom hated shopping. 
My parents were eager to keep their grandchildren overnight. They were constantly wanting Max and I to go on a date and the kids loved to go there to play video games, swim, eat candy, and just play with Mimi and JoJo in the sandbox and on the trampoline.
My mom went swimming in her clothes.
My mom cut thing open with a knife and never with scissors. 
My mom gave my kids caramels and lemon drops just like my grandfather gave us. 
My mom loved her father deeply and expressed that to us often. 
My mom always wanted 4 kids, but got 4 grandkids instead. 
She kept Kellyn as a baby while I worked part time and was so excited about keeping Priscilla now as I was about to work part time again. 
My mom thought of everyone else first. She cooked meals for Maw-maw and Jean, for dad and Jacob, and for me and my family. 
My mom loved us through acts of service. If I just mentioned needing something she would get it for me before I ever got the chance. 
I’ve been so spoiled and enabled my entire life, now at age 39 I am going to have to take care of myself and find childcare on my own. My mother was the only one who watch our kids.
She even slept with Bo during nap time. And instead of sleeping in her bed she slept on a bed the big kids made on the floor in her room.
She had a crib at her house, diapers, toys for all ages, books, games, kid food. It was a regular wonderland. She has carseats in her car ready to shuttle the kids wherever needed. 
I never could have survived Priscilla’s first year without her. She came to my house every day, all day for that first month. She took Bo to her house so I could sleep and picked Kellyn and Rhett up from school. 
My entire life I never had to worry about anything because my mom would handle it. She always thought 2 steps ahead of us on everything. 
She always had arrangements for someone to watch our dog when we went out of town.
My mom was always wearing an Aggie t-shirt usually dirty and with a hole in it. 
My mom was always bragging on my brother and updating me on his runs or what they were doing at the property. 
My mom was my biggest cheerleader and thought I could do no wrong. She never wanted me to feel discomfort or not be able to do something. She always wanted to be the one to swoop in a save the day. And my kids knew it. I often heard, “Well, I’ll just ask Mimi.” She took all 4 kids to 5 and Below, something I wouldn’t even do, to pick out whatever they wanted on Monday, August 21. 
Last summer she went roller skating with them. I mean she bought herself and them their own roller skates and roller skated with them. She even took them to Main Even one day. All 4 of them plus Samuel! That’s insane!
My mom was always telling people how strong she was and what kinds of big things she could lift like hay bales, fence panels, and furniture. 
My mom was amazing and crazy and loved deeply and just made my life easy. To say she had a servants heart would not do her justice. She went above and beyond to serve others and she always put family first. Always. Being a “blood relative” was very important to her. I can’t comprehend my life without her. I am a broken shell of a person without her. I love her so much and wish I’ld told her that more often.

~Kristy Ruth

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