What Family Means


Wow!!! What a hectic week!!! I have done nonstop training for work and boy did that mess up the family plans a bit. I have also been doing as much family time as I could all squeezed up into one day. It’s hard not to have an attitude when you are told one thing and plan for one thing and then the other pops up in your face and you’re told… you don’t have a choice. So here’s my issue. I’m already knowledgeable of what we are being trained on. The reminder was nice, but to go an entire week going over all the same things I already know, was a little repetitive. I was enjoying helping my coworkers in their endeavor to learn what was to be learned; however I did get tweaked on for this as well.

That’s what I had going on when I started my awesome day out with my family. I got to visit my mother that I haven’t seen in a good month or so. My partner and I decided to give her a mother’s day present early since our schedules are getting a bit hectic. We decided we would spoil her with her own dream catcher seat covers for her new car. I love it!! She cried and gave thanks and was more than happy for this as her gift from us. Then spending time with her was a little heart breaking since I couldn’t help but notice her skin color was off. Sure she was having a beer, but something was different this time. My brother wasn’t sitting at the table sharing a beer this time. In fact it was almost as if he was keeping a distance from her. Why? These two were inseparable… they were always playing some type of game or joking around with each other. He didn’t seem mad at her. He didn’t seem like something was particularly wrong with their relationship; however something was definitely off.

When mother came to my partner and I, she was all tears of joy and hugs and tried everything she could to be happy about the kids being there, but once again something was wrong. Finally she began to get something off her mind about her current boss. She felt played and lied to and full of deceit. This hurt her so bad it seemed or she tried to portray it as. Something still seemed really wrong with her. What was missing? She was crying from being lied to, she was over joyed about her gift, she was happy we were there, but something else was missing. As she was talking to my partner and I, she had a streak of pain. It made her squinch and pinch and gasp and try to convince me, that it was ok. The problem was the more she talked, the more it was hard not to wonder and worry about this pain.

I did try to be respectful of her conversation, since that was how I was raised. It shouldn’t matter what an elder is saying… you show full and complete attention and respect regardless. I was trying to with the eye contact and everything, but for some reason something just didn’t seem right. She was in pain every few minutes, couldn’t seem to stop crying, her belly was bigger but layed low, and her color on her face was sad… greyish… off. What was going on with my mother?

It’s also not polite to judge and stare, but I noticed myself doing it more and more while putting out my most caring self that I could. She kept saying her belly was hurting from her surgery that she had months ago. She said over and over that, “it didn’t matter”.

Finally, she took me aside from all the hectic happenings and brought me into her room. Tears in her eyes, short of breath, holding her belly in pain, and trying not to make her sense of comfort too obvious. She brought down beside her on the bed and told me not to worry. Then while holding her pain every few moments and shaking uncontrollably, she began speaking to me about her worries, stresses, concerns, and so forth. While she was mid-sentence she ended up confused about whatever she was saying. Usually this is a classic sign of “I’m drunk” and the words follow, but this time it wasn’t. Sure she had been drinking that day, but very well-informed me that her drinking had just started that day. She actually hadn’t drank in a week! Wow!!! That was awesome right???

Well I thought so too, but turns out she mentioned something about not taking her meds in a week as well and now she was in pain. I told her she needed to go to the doctor and get things checked out. She cried once more and told me she didn’t have energy or time. Then she covered her face in what seemed to be shame of herself and told me to please understand… “I’m comfortable where I’m at”. What was that supposed to mean? I continued plunging for answers hoping for a light at the end of the tunnel… hoping… hoping…

She began to let me know that she had done everything that she wanted to do and she was getting too tired to work anymore. She was getting too tired to do much of anything anymore. She told me if she had the real decision, she wanted to quit work and go to her sisters home in Wyoming and relax. Ok… that sounds great, but why quit work… she’ll get better right??? Go see a doctor and get back on her meds, and get some rest right???

The Color Of Sadness
The Color Of Sadness (Photo credit: tamahaji)

She continued to cry then asked me, “what was I saying?” I almost lost myself in tears and told her what she was saying. She said she was so confused and didn’t know what she was saying and just knew she was tired. All this was beginning to sound a bit unsoothing now. She told me she wanted to know my boys and I were taken care of before she died. Woah!!! Wait a minute… what was that? Of course by the time she died everything would be fine right? I told her me and the boys were fine and my partner was doing well for us. She once again continued to cry and instead of the mother I knew to constantly tell me what was wrong with me, my children, my mothering, my housekeeping, my clothes or anything else… she turned it around on me.

She was telling me I was doing great, she was proud of me, she was happy to see my boys and I taken care of by my partner, and offered to help me financially so I could get my house for real. She was offering to help me with my complexion and complimenting me on my work and my mothering and telling me that she knew what she was going to do would all make sense, but I had to be patient and understanding. She continued in pain and I finally asked her the ultimate question. I asked how her cancer appointment went the other week. She put her head down and told me everything turned about fine. She kept repeating she was fine and everything was going to be ok. My mother has been a fighter her whole life. She was born and raised in Detroit MI and if anyone knows anything about that place, you have to be real strong willed and minded to survive such a place.

She’s never asked for help, she’s never admitted weakness, she’s never given up for anything. She’s always taught me, “where there’s a will, there’s a way!”. She’s tell me, “We are from the ways and means committee, there’s always a ways and means of doing anything you need. If it doesn’t happen… it wasn’t meant to be!!” I’ve carried this through out my whole life. I’ve raised my children with it, I’ve taught my partner this, I’ve carried this through relationships and through all the challenges and struggles I’ve come across. So having my mother sit here in tears and tell me, “I’m comfortable where I’m at”, or “It’s ok if I’m in pain, It’s fine!”. This was a big thing for me to choke down!!!

With an agreement of having my brother say the night for as long as he wanted, she offered to pay dad the gas money to bring him to us. Her awesome best friend and companion was shipped off to my home with no argument or debate. I waited for some type of smart ass joke or comment to follow, but none had. His bags were packed and he would be dropped off to meet us there, when we arrived.

I gave her a hug with a few promises to keep between us and told her I understood and that we would leave her a lone now. As we packed up the boys and headed down the road, my heart crumbled with the thought of what was just said to me. I choked down the tears the absolute best that I could!! My lady noticed my issues and reached over to hold my hand. How do you deal with that kind of news? How do you deal with your mother giving up when she never has before? How do you deal with the vision of your mother is such pain and turmoil and for once in her lifetime she doesn’t have the ways and means of doing anything about it? What does it all mean? Is she really dying? Would she even tell me if she was?

We continued on to our next destination and I did everything I could to breath and remember all positives I could about the situation, but it was so hard when all I saw was her tears and grey skin. All I could remember was the pain in her eyes and how she kept holding her side in pain. All I could hear was the silent cry of forgiveness she had begged for, for all her decisions.

Before we reached our next destination, I had mostly cleared up my tears and calmed my emotions. I promised this to be a great day for our family and we didn’t get to do it very often, so it was important to make it the best it could be.

The next destination was another grandmother’s home. My partner’s parents were the next on the list to catch off guard with smiles and lots of love. They knew we were coming, but they did not know what was in store for gifts to come. We had gotten a few gifts late of the holidays they were meant for, but brought them all at once. We also figured the mother’s day present wouldn’t hurt either, since we really had no idea when our schedules were going to permit family time together once more. Our gifts this time consisted of a late Xmas gift for dad (suspenders), an early father’s day present for dad (brand new Carhart jacket), a late Valentines Day present for mom (a birthstone ring with all our names and birthstones on it), and an early Mother’s Day present (an official NASCAR Jimmy Johnson jacket).

Jimmy Johnson Wins
Jimmy Johnson Wins (Photo credit: jhsmith1967)

All of which went over real well!!! I loved seeing the bright shining faces and smiles!!! It was great to show someone love and appreciation and watch the real love and appreciation come back full force. In all the smiles however; I do feel I may have hurt dad’s feelings. How rude right? Wait!!! You don’t know even know why yet…

I was asked to untangle a little girl’s necklace that was Xmas gift from us early and I was apparently shaking pretty bad. Dad noticed this and asked me why I was shaking… I told him after a few more responses that I had received news that wasn’t all that great and he tried to get me to share this with him. I closed down and pretty much ignored his request. I wasn’t trying to be rude, but I knew if I was to open up I would have ruined the visit and the boys would have noticed something was wrong that I couldn’t explain at the time. I was also really scared of being judged, “as a drama queen” since both times he’s seen me… I’ve ended up shaking and in tears over something. I was starting to gain a good relationship with him and mom and I didn’t want to make them think bad of me for being emotional all the time. So I continued with the visit pretending nothing was wrong.

However; after an awesome meal and a great time to talk… was well worth the trip to see the smiling faces, good moods, have full bellies, and warm hugs to top it off!!!

Was a great day and lots of memories to carry!! I apologize to anyone I “blew off” and “ignored” as it was a day for my kids to relax and be happy, not a day for me to be the “center of attention and emotional”.

I love you mother with all my heart!!! You have been my rock, foundation, knowledge, certainty, and the drive of my passion that will complete my book when it’s done!!! This song I dedicate to you:

“Wind Beneath My Wings”

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh.
It must have been cold there in my shadow,
to never have sunlight on your face.
You were content to let me shine, that’s your way.
You always walked a step behind.

So I was the one with all the glory,
while you were the one with all the strength.
A beautiful face without a name for so long.
A beautiful smile to hide the pain.

Did you ever know that you’re my hero,
and everything I would like to be?
I can fly higher than an eagle,
’cause you are the wind beneath my wings.

It might have appeared to go unnoticed,
but I’ve got it all here in my heart.
I want you to know I know the truth, of course I know it.
I would be nothing without you.

Did you ever know that you’re my hero?
You’re everything I wish I could be.
I could fly higher than an eagle,
’cause you are the wind beneath my wings.

Did I ever tell you you’re my hero?
You’re everything, everything I wish I could be.
Oh, and I, I could fly higher than an eagle,
’cause you are the wind beneath my wings,
’cause you are the wind beneath my wings.

Oh, the wind beneath my wings.
You, you, you, you are the wind beneath my wings.
Fly, fly, fly away. You

Holding tears aside, I hope to develop a strong, deep, passionate, real, and loving relationship with my mother and father in law as much as I have her daughter!!! I also hope they will accept my proposal to their daughter to be my life partner for years to come!!!

Reese proposing to Bianca in American daytime'...
Reese proposing to Bianca in American daytime’s first same-sex marriage proposal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I still trust everything happens for a reason… we just don’t always know what the reason is…