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Archive for the tag “mom”

Nano update, Thanksgiving, missing mom and a layout

So, I really thought I would use this blog to work on my NaNo entry this year.  Previously I utilized my NaNo blog a lot, keeping track of ideas and plot twists and just generally working out kinks by brainstorming online.  But this year…I didn’t need it.

I learned a lot doing NaNo this year and it is by far the best of my attempts.  I’m sitting at 45514 right now with the end in sight.  I’m actually going to win, barring a major catastrophy in my life.  The story is a shambles, though.  I finally learned how to just write to get it done and worrying about the quality after the fact.  So there are huge chunks of plot missing.  Some scenes just end abruptly because I realized I was getting bogged down in the details so I would skip to something I could write.  The night before last I did that twice because I was so tired I couldn’t concentrate on the scene I was working on.

I also ended the story that night.  I knew it was running long.  I had originally worried I wouldn’t be able to get the story to 50k.  Now it’s going to go way, way over which is good.  But Chris Baty (in one of his email pep talks) talked about ending the story just to be done with it.  In other words: skip ahead and write the last chapter because there is some psychological advantage of actually having a “finished” story.  You are more likely to actually finish it for real if you have the ending already down.  I believe he is 100% correct.  I have a lot of editing to do, though.  I don’t think I’m going to do that in December, though.  In fact, I think I’m going to stash this thing in the proverbial drawer for a few months because I’m ready to pull my hair out, lol.  I never wanted to be finished with something more then this story.  I’m so ready for November to be over because I am beyond stressed which leads into Thanksgiving.

Great segue, huh?.  Thanksgiving…my favorite holiday.  Why?  Because it’s a beautiful celebration of family togetherness and…  Oh, who am I kidding.  I love the holiday because of the food.  It has always been my favorite and because of that I go all out even though it is just us-me, hubby, the kids and my dad, just like any other meal.

The problem is we all have this romantacized version of reality in our memories.  When I look back on my childhood I remember things through rose colored glasses and Thanksgiving…it was always perfect.  The food was always ready and hot and delicious and we were all happy.  I know, intellectually, that isn’t true.  Stuff was never done on time, something was always burnt and my mom was so frazzled that she couldn’t eat and would just pick at her food.

So what do I do?  Get myself all worked up trying to put on this “perfect” ideal Thanksgiving meal, just like my mom and I end up in tears.  Yes, I was crying today.  Not just once but twice I broke down into tears.  Which leads me to missing mom.

It wasn’t only Thanksgiving but it was also my mom’s birthday.  She would have been 60 years old.  Unfortunetely she died 8 years ago, a few months before turning 52.  I was only 23 and I don’t think I ever really mourned.  I was in shock for a long time, just going through the motions.  My dad was a mess, my brother was a wreck and I had a newborn to take care of.  My emotions pretty much shut down and I was on auto pilot for weeks afterwards, trying to take care of everyone else.

I remember those first holidays being tought but I got through because I just turned it all off.  I stopped feeling anything and tried not to think about what was missing.  As I get older I realize I can’t keep doing that and I have to deal with the sadness eventually so every year, with every holiday I let a little more out.  I started scrapping about her and how much I miss her.  Every year on Mother’s Day and her birthday I make some pages about her.  It really does help.

But this year, with her birthday falling on a major holiday, it just overwhelmed me.  I couldn’t put a finger on why I felt so anxious and ill at the beginning of the week and then it hit me on Wednesday why.  It was because of her birthday.  It was because it was blatently obvious that she wasn’t here this Thanksgiving and suddenly I felt all this pressure to make this perfect dinner for everyone in her honor.  I felt that if it didn’t turn out perfect I was letting her down, even though, at the same time, I knew that none of her dinners ever turned out perfect and yet I still enjoyed them.

At one point my husband, as his habit, started teasing me about something.  I just couldn’t take it any more.  I yelled at him and tried to continue cooking but it was too much.  I just turned and walked into my room, shut the door and climbed into bed.  I thought he would come after me like he normally does but he just went back to playing video games.  That was fine with me because I didn’t want to hear how I was putting all this on myself.  I cried into my pillow for a good 10 minutes until I calmed down.

Then, just as we were getting ready to serve dinner, I broke down again.  This time right in front of him.  It just all came crashing down.  And the crazy thing was…dinner turned out nearly perfect.  Almost all of the food was hot, the turkey was perfect, the mashed potatoes extra buttery, the rolls hot and on the table.  I’d say it was 90% perfect.  Yet I couldn’t shake the uneasy, sad feeling.  I haven’t felt this down in months.  I just miss her so much right now.

And that leads me to the last portion of this entry.  A layout.

Technically I’m not supposed to post this yet.  The products I used won’t be in the store until later tonight I think but I need to put it up.  Hopefully they will forgive me.

missing you

It’s a pretty simple page.  I wanted to keep the focus on my mom.  The picture was taken in the early 70s after my parents started dating.  They were on a camping trip.  My mom was about 23/24 in the picture.

The kit I used is called “El-naturelle” by Opal Scraps which you should be able to find at twolittlepixels.com tonight or tomorrow (sorry Sharon but I needed some therapy tonight).

I miss you, Mom

It’s that day.  The one day of year that seems to bring a fog over the house, a depression that settles in among the hearts of the occupants and just festers.

Eight years ago today the doctor came into the tiny little conference room and told the family that it was hopeless and my mother was brain dead.  Eight years ago I ran from the room to the nearest rest room feeling what little I had eaten over the last 2 days coming up one, my chest crushed by grief, my eyes burning with tears I couldn’t stop.  I had to use every ounce of strength not to give into the temptation to slam my head into the brick wall to stop the overwhelming pain of loss.

Five minutes passed before I heard a knock on the door and my husband asking if I was okay.  Okay?  No, not ever again.

Eight years ago my dad sat alone in the same room answering heart wrenching questions from the organ donation team.  Eight years ago I watched my uncle (my mom’s sister’s husband) pray endlessly at her bedside for a miracle.  One I knew would not happen.  Eight years ago…the last time I begged a god I barely believed in to have mercy on us and make this whole thing quick.

Eight years ago I watched my younger brother, then 21, break down in tears because he never got to say good-bye and hadn’t talked to her in months.  Eight years ago I watched as my mom’s brothers and sisters gathered for their vigil, holding each other, working through the pain of losing yet another sister (my mom’s oldest two sisters died in the early 90s).

Eight years ago I had to call my best friend and tell her they were taking my mom off of life support so if her and her parents wanted to say good-bye now was the time.  Eight years ago I stood and watched it all alone, like a stranger looking in on some warped family reunion, but never feeling like part of the events.  I stood alone, trying to hold it all together.

After it was over we went home.  My dad went to bed and didn’t come out for days.  My brother drank away the pain with some of his high school buddies that he hadn’t seen in a few years.  My husband took care of the baby (my oldest daughter was just a couple months old).  Me…I cooked for everyone and cleaned the house and kept busy.  I fielded calls from out of state family wanting word on how my dad was handling things, how my brother took the news, how the baby was doing, did my husband find a job yet?

I don’t remember anyone every actually asking me how I was doing.  And me–I was barely hanging on by a thread.  During the day I could keep busy with chores and the baby and visitors stopping by and my brother.  Night…night was different.  At night I curled up in bed, hugging my stuffed bunny and jamming a pillow as far into my mouth as I could to stifle the sobs of grief so I wouldn’t wake my husband and baby.

Eight years and the pain and the anger and the grief and the emptiness hasn’t gone away and on this day it is ten time more pronounced.

My parents would have celebrated their 37th anniversary next week if my mom hadn’t died.  She would have been 60 years old in November.  She would have been a grandma of four now…four very spoiled little kids if she had been here.

Things would be different.  Instead everything is the same.  The house looks almost exactly like it did the day she died, only 8 years of dust covers most of her knick-knacks.  Instead I sit here remembering what it was like those 3 weeks of hell as we said our good-byes and planned her cremation and memorial service.

September 1st was the service, up in Michigan with her family…where she truly felt at home.  It was hot.  One of the hottest days of the year.  We were all soaked in sweat and miserable.  My brother drove to get his friend in another town 30 miles away.  We’ve known this guy since he was 5 and my mom had been a second mother to him.  He was absolutely devastated.  He cried harder then my brother and father.

The night before the service was a good night, though.  See, deaths in our family are different then most.  At least I think so.  We don’t so much stand around grieving and asking “why?” as we do celebrating the life they lived.  The night before the service we had what a normal family would call a “wake”.  It was an amazing site.  The funeral parlor director had to dig up more easels and tables to display all the picture boards and handmade items.  My mom was a crafter and made quilts and stuffed animals for most of the family.  Every available surface in the room was covered in these items that she made through the years.  The director said it was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.

After the service on the 1st we all went back to my Aunt Nora’s house, peeled out of our “Sunday best” clothes and brought in the keg.  Yep, my uncle got a keg.  This is where our family traditions become real apparent.  When someone dies in our family we throw a raging party.  My mom’s party didn’t end until 2am.  By that time there was just a few of us left, my dad was passed out in a spare bedroom and a lot of other people were sleeping it off on the floor in other rooms.  My aunt sat outside with some of my cousins just talking and reminiscing.

It’s been eight years yet I can still picture it all like yesterday, yet, I’m starting to forget her smile and her voice.  I notice, though, every now and then when I laugh or say certain things that I sound just like her.  Exactly like her.  It is kind of creepy.

Eight years and I miss her as much now as I did the day she died, the tears still come late at night and not a day goes by that I don’t think of her at least a dozen times.

I miss you, Mom.

Glenna Jean
11.27.48~8.19.00
gone but never forgotten


The last photo of her alive taken on August 17, 2000 with her sister, Nora (the two people I named my youngest daughter after).

scrapbook page of the day

Here’s a page I did in memory of my mother for Mother’s Day.  My mom died on August 19, 2000.  The anniversary of her death his next week.  It’s hard to imagine it has been 8 years since I spoke to her or saw her smile.  She has missed so much.  August is always a hard time of the year with all the memories that come flooding in, especially now that I’m living in her house again.  She is everywhere.

Brenna, my 5 1/2 year old, just came in this morning and asked if I was sad when my mom died.  I have no idea what brought up the topic.  She never knew my mom and I don’t really talk about her (I know my dad does, though, but he doesn’t talk much about her death).  It was just so odd.

My mom was just 51 years old and died of a stroke.  She had her first stroke when I was in high school (I think around 1994) but it was misdiagnosed.  Then she had her 2nd on in 2000, just days before my oldest daughter was born (in June).  On August 17, 2000, she went in to have surgery to unblock an artery in her neck to stop the strokes (the ones she had were minor and only caused temporary paralysis and confusion).  She ended up having a small stroke on the operating table, woke up afterwards confused and only long enough to ask my dad for some water then slipped into a coma.  They rushed her back into surgery that night and she had a massive stroke while in the OR and never woke up from her coma.  She was pronounced brain dead on Saturday, August 19, 2000 at the age of 51.

The last time I spoke to her was August 17 as she was leaving for the hospital.  I told her “see you later” and wasn’t planning on visiting her until the next morning when she was feeling better.  The next time I saw her she was just a shell with no brain function…she was dead.  It’s hard to think about sometimes.  And I regret every day I didn’t tell her I loved her and didn’t get to tell her how much I would miss her and didn’t take a picture of her in the hospital because I thought people would think I was morbid but she looked so beautiful even hooked to every machine known to man.

I think this page was done for a scraplift but I don’t remember now.  I really like the layout and red and hearts.

scrapbook page of the day

I did this one earlier this year.  It marks a change in my scrapping strategy as it is a scraplift.  Before this I was reluctant to do lifts because I felt it was cheating, but I realized I was getting nothing done by only using my own creativity.  The picture was taken at our family reunion in 1985.  That’s my mom on the right and her two younger sister (she also has/had 4 older sister and 4 older brothers).  Reunions were a riot when I was a kid and 1985 was one of the best ones.

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