Namesake

This past week has been…….rocky.  There is so much I need to get done and no time to do it.  At one point I ended up completely changing around my schedule to accommodate someone else, and really wish I hadn’t.  I tend to do that to make other people happy, but that really isn’t wise, is it?  In the end I feel resentful for doing it and didn’t fully enjoy what I went out of my way to do, so…..I just kind of feel like it’s expected of me, and so I do it without thinking.  That’s going to stop now.  It’s someone else’s turn to do the accommodating and that’s ok.  It’s ok to not please everyone.

Why is this relevant?  It’s relevant because I am dealing with so many emotions with my mom’s death.  With that, old issues have come to the surface.  Issues that were resolved.  I guess they are resolved, but the feelings that came with those issues are back and it’s hard to deal with.  I am wasting a lot of time thinking of those issues, instead of focusing on grieving and healing myself.  I am thankful I was able to recognize this was happening, and I am talking to someone about it.  I feel like I have to learn how to handle a family member all over again and put those bad memories and feelings aside.  I would love to talk to the actual person about it, but whenever I have approached her in the past to talk about my feelings about something she has said or done that have hurt me, she pretty much flips out.  I have always been able to approach her very calm, gentle, and non-accusatory, but it doesn’t matter.  It never works out.  So, I just need to work on it myself and I hope this passes quickly because I have much more urgent things to deal with.

I did have a day where i was able to go through some things of my mom’s and I was just flooded with really good memories.  Memories of just the 2 of us that I hadn’t thought about in a long time.  They made me smile and filled my heart with joy.  I can’t help but believe my mom was sending me these memories.  One was a conversation with my mom where for some reason we were talking about names, and I asked her if I was named after anyone.  I always wondered if I was named after an actress from the 60’s or earlier like Jennifer O’Neil or Jennifer Jones.  That would have been pretty cool!  I was shocked and amazed when my mom looked at me and said, “I named you after me” with a smile on her face.  I didn’t quite understand since my name is Jenny and she explained that Jenny is a form of Jane or a derivative, or something like that.  They are connected.  She didn’t want to name me her exact name……that wouldn’t seem right to her, so she just gave me another form.  How awesomely beautiful is that?  It is such a gift to me.  The conversation is a gift because I just don’t know if that would have ever have come up in conversation again.  Does that mean I am her namesake even though I am Jenny and not Jane?  I don’t know officially, but as far as I am concerned the answer is a very happy “yes!”  I gave the name Jane to my daughter Lindsey as her middle name, so she will carry that on too.

So when I came across an old bracelet of my mom’s one day while looking through an old jewelry box with my dad, my heart just stopped.  It was an old bracelet with mom’s name on it.  I instantly fell in love with it and just felt drawn to it. I knew Lindsey would love it just as much as I did.  I remembered the conversation with my mom about being named after her and how my daughter carries her name as well. It just felt right.  After holding it for awhile I put it back in the box.  I promised myself I wasn’t going to take any jewelry until I was able to go through it all with my sister.  My sister and I went through everything the other day, and I do have the bracelet.  I absolutely adore it, and I was right……so does Lindsey.

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Today i am taking the day off from all worries and stress.  Going to treat myself to a pedicure shortly then off we go to LBI for some much needed fun and relaxation.  My mom will be with me. ❤

xoxo

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And So It Goes……..

It’s been awhile since my last excerpt.  2014 has been the most challenging year I have ever had.  A roller coaster.  3 major life changing events occurring all at once…….a new job, my son graduating from high school and sending him off to college, and being a co-primary caretaker (with my dad) of my mom, and then mom’s death on June 23rd of this year.

I thought I’d come back on because I am going to eat clean again starting tomorrow.  I figured I would post my meals again.  You see, I decided to take care of myself once again since I had to put me to the side and take care of my beautiful mom instead.  Now I am thinking I may write about my mom too.  So, this will be about clean eating, being a care taker, dealing with cancer, and taking care of myself……whatever I feel like writing at the moment.

I’ve been writing with pen and paper the last month, and it helps.  Sometimes though, it’s good to get things out to an audience of strangers, if there’s any audience at all.

So where to begin…..?

Mom wasn’t feeling well for a few months last fall.  In fact, she told me the last time she felt good was in September 2013 when we celebrated my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary.  It was such a great and happy day.  We were all together and it was a day full of love.  I remember toasting and telling my parents that they were such an example of love and family after everything they had gone through together.  There was more than one reason other couples would have called it quits.  Not Joe and Jane.  They were committed.  They worked and fought to stay together.  It worked.  I toasted how even in my forties, they were still teaching me life lessons and how despite every thing our family had been through, we were tighter than ever.  But I had no idea just how much tighter we were going to get in the next short 9 months.

On Thanksgiving I noticed Mom looked different, and I didn’t like what I saw.  She looked like she was losing weight and just appeared…….different, I don’t know, but I didn’t like it. She wasn’t herself.  I pulled dad aside and told him I was concerned and worried.  He said, “I am worried too”.

Mom went to the doctors in December, just after Christmas I believe, and got some blood work done.  In January we learned she was a little bit anemic.  Ok, I thought.  There are a number of reasons she could be anemic.  But I also knew that aside from being tired, she was losing weight and had no appetite.  For some reason I was thinking colon cancer.  I don’t know why.  I never told her that.  Mom was worried though.  I tried to reassure her it was probably just diet related or something that could be reversed.  So, she was sent to a hematologist/oncologist for a work up with CT scans and more blood work.  I’ll never forget the call she made to me.  She called me as soon as she found out.  There was a tumor in her lung. Now of course the doctor wouldn’t say definitely cancer until it was biopsied, but I knew.  I just knew.  Follow up PET scans showed lymph node involvement and a tumor on her adrenal gland.  When all was completed, we were told it was lung cancer.  Stage 4.  There is nothing you can do at Stage 4 except hope to slow things down with some chemo and pray to get more time.  More time to do what you’ve always wanted to do.  More lunches and shopping with your daughter, more trips to Cape May with your husband, more time spent with grandchildren.  More time feeling good.  I knew then and there as soon as I found out she had Stage 4 lung cancer, that I was going to spend as much time with her as possible.  So, I did.   This cancer would not be cured at a Stage 4 and who knew how much time we would have.  I spent days with her every single week since she was diagnosed with the exception of 1 week.  I am so, so grateful and thankful I was able to do that.  We spent hours together.  Mostly just sitting together talking, and sometimes going out to lunch, watching old movies (we shared a love for old movies!), having martinis, sharing meals, and sometimes even a little shopping.  Those are days I treasure in my heart so deeply.  I am so lucky I was able to spend so much time with her and take care of her for those last few months.  Words can’t even express my gratefulness.  We talked about so much.  Those conversations I hold dearly in my heart forever.

There is so much more, but I am done for now.  Maybe another day.