Saturday, October 08, 2011

Exhaustion Speaking


The week has been brutal.


Itty Bit was asleep before I turned off the light.

I feel like I could crawl into his mini bed and be instantly asleep too.




So you get randomness.  Because my brain needs to be defragged and the week has been a blur.




If you ever say, “no thanks, I don’t want to remember them that way”, please stop and consider…

The end of a loved one’s life is just as precious as the beginning.


The mass exodus of people who are uncomfortable with it… can lead to loneliness in what could be a very beautiful time.

Please hear me.  There are few worse regrets to have.  You’ll never get this chance again.  Dig in.  Do the unpretty things.  The things you’ve likely done without thought for a newborn.  Do them with love.


Because get this…




I promise.


It’ll be hard.  But the memories that fill those quiet moments will be the happy ones and the funny ones.

One of those beautiful things I would have missed?  Just the two of us.  I sang old hymns quietly to her.  I picked up her Bible, which lay open to a Psalm.  I read it out loud.  Faltering and then stronger.

She opened her eyes and as I reached the end of a sentence, she said the last word with me.



The last word she spoke.






Her service was today.


A high school auditorium full of people she loves.


I heard it in my heart before I walked out the door this morning.

She never worried about the economy.

She invested in people.

And her dividends will be filling those chairs.


Nearly six months ago the surgeon looked at us dazedly, “I didn’t expect this”.

Dad turned to me and said, “How is God going to be glorified in this?  I can’t see it.”


Today I pointed through the auditorium and said, "Dad, this is how He is glorified”.




The church worship team played some favorites.

My mom and sister harmonized with the flute and guitar soloists.

And by “It Is Well With My Soul”, I was speechless to see the crowd on their feet, many with arms raised.

This is how He is glorified.




It was hard not to notice them.

The gaggle of cousins aged 5 and below were boisterously screaming and laughing as they battled it out ninja style after the service.

The contrast of the earlier decorum and the childhood craziness now occurring…

And it made me smile.


They were too busy LIVING to be weighed down by the sadness of dying.


Giggling madly as they tried in vain to hide near a bank of lockers.  I couldn’t help but smile and be so thankful for what they brought to the day.





And because it’s my life, and apparently would be far too normal without surprises…

I spent Monday grieving over our loss and scanning hundreds of old photos into the computer.  I finally surrendered to fatigue at 2am and snuck to Itty Bit’s bed for the usual last check.

He was soaked.


Must have had a fever.

Wait… why is the carpet wet?

(aka:  why is my BARE FOOT wet?)

Of course.


An hour later…

a very groggy boy washed and in fresh pajamas,

1 pillow, 2 stuffed animals, 4 blankets, and 8 towels in the washing machine,

carpet cleaner applied,

vomit so bad a Dyson was required.


I wanted to burn the bedroom.


The three of us laid in bed with an overdose of Febreeze from 3 – 5am.


(Two hours of sleep if you are counting.)


Itty Bit woke me up with a proclamation that the food evacuation process was reversing itself at high speed.

We spent 5 – 7am on the bathroom floor.  Sleep was abandoned.

Alternate violent expulsions for the next four days.


Then a 24 hour honeymoon in which said kiddo got loads of this:


And ended with him throwing up on the cute suit and floor.


(of course, right?)

And because I love you and know that my “it could only happen to me” stories have got to make you feel better about your normal life…

They had turned the lights off in the facility 15 seconds after he threw up.


Dark bathroom.

Deaf and now-blind mom.

Throw up kid.

One hand holding an emergency flashlight (cell phone)

= kid drenched from head to foot by high volume pushbutton faucet.


Did I mention we were in the dark?




You know it’s sad when your kid names them.

That was my pink medicine throw up.

That was my grapes throw up.

That was my cookie throw up.

I hope he doesn’t remember the “Grandma’s memorial service when I nearly drowned in the dark bathroom” throw up.




And just to leave you with something that makes me smile.


It was only last summer that Mom totally made a joke out of me.

Just shy of 80 years old.

And she stacked more wood in that trailer than I did.



In my defense, I may or may not have been taking pictures of her strapping logger son.  She’s 50% responsible for those rugged good looks.

(And she is 100% responsible for the fact that no meal I ever cook will ever compare to those he grew up with.  I mean… except for the poop oysters  ;)




A very exhausted girl bidding you goodnight.

Thank you for living this journey with us.  For your prayers and encouragement and for simply honoring her by letting me share her.  Somehow I feel like missing her will be far more heartbreaking than the past few weeks.




Tamar SB said...

Rachel, so sorry you're going through this painful time. This was not random at all but beautifully written. May her memories be for a blessing!

Mrs. Mom said...

You are so so SO right Rachel. The memories ARE of the fun times.

Love you guys. Sorry for passing the stomach bug onto Itty Bit from here. At least we now know "computer virus" is possible eh? ;)

And thanks for sharing so much of your Momma.

Anonymous said...

Once I stop crying, I'll type more. But just know that YOU glorified her here, too, and folks who would never have known her gentle spirit otherwise grieve with you. And rejoice, as well, because we know where she is. I'm so sorry about Itty Bit; that just wasn't fair. Get some rest, hold Mr. Daddy tight, and smile as you watch your little miracle live out the legacy. Love you...

Floortime Lite Mama said...

I am cryiing here today too
Love u Rachel

stephanie said...

What a moving post. I love what you said "the end of a loved one’s life is just as precious as the beginning." and as far as the nonstop vom? it attacked our house too. only I was sick along with BOTH kiddos. ugh. I didn't have any help and it was terrible

Foursons said...

Wow Rachel, you could not have honored her in a more beautiful way. I love that you see the rainbow through the storm and that you are able to smile through the tears.

My prayers continue to go up for you and your family. I know once the dust settles that there will be more hard times. I will pray you through them.

Sorry to hear that Itty Bit has been so sick. I hope he is feeling better by now. I had to smile that he was naming his puke-fests, much like I name my runs.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post. You're right, dig in for it all,and the good will always come shining through. You all are an amazing family. Take care of one another. Thinking of your family...

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry, Rachel. While I'm just catching up - I barely visit the blogger-world anymore, I feel like I've been there step by step with you. Your voice and way of looking at things through all of this is inspirational. Your posts are not only cathartic for you, but also for someone in the blogosphere. Thank you for sharing. God bless you, Rachel, and of course your amazing mother-in-law. <3

danette said...

((((hugs)))) I am so sorry for your family's loss. I'm also grateful for the glimpses into the love and richness of her life that you've shared here... truly inspiring.

Hope Itty Bit is feeling better, poor baby :(.

Sending love and prayers.

Krulls in Haiti said...

This is beautiful, I have tears. God IS glorified, what a wonderful woman, and amazing legacy!

Janie Fox said...

I am crying while reading this. It is so beautiful I hope I leave a legacy as wonderful as that. I loved every word of this. and you are right. God was glorified. hugs.

Unknown said...

Sweetie my heart breaks for you.. caring for my elderly mother currently I am learning that my sisters are missing so much of this time. Sending hugs and loves.

robin said...

I had to read this post three times! And each time, my emotions were back and forth! That song 'It is well with my soul' always makes me teary eyed, especially at memorials and funerals. Picturing you guys in the bathroom kept me laughing hysterically (so sorry!) You guys saying the last word together 'God' also brings tears to my eyes. That pic of the young ones giggling is precious. I can't imagine such a week for all of you...hope nobody else gets sick and I'm so glad you will have these great memories so close to the surface that you can write them down for Itty Bit to read in the future (and so many other people who love you and your MIL.) *hug*

Anonymous said...

A life so well-lived... Thank you God for Grandma...

GunDiva said...

Rach, you and Mr Daddy and Itty Bit are rock stars.

Missing her is going to be hard; I still miss my grandma at the oddest times. Stupid times. But the memories are getting easier to bear and enjoy.

Allenspark Lodge said...

Bushels of hugs and kisses from Colorado!

Angie Vik said...

What a week! You did a great job, as always, writing about your MIL. Thanks again for sharing your heart.

So sorry you had stomach crud and other inconvenient issues to deal with at the same time.

Marley's Mama said...

Beautiful, just beautiful. Thanks for sharing your life so eloquently... even the puking part :) I hope things are easier this week!

Kmama said...

That was a beautiful post. I'm so sorry for all you are going through right now. I was at a memorial service yesterday for a friend who lost her dad and my thoughts kept alternating between her and you.

Stacy said...

I am sure you are all so exhausted from the week, especially throwing a sick little kiddo in there, too. You know she had a life well lived, with so many coming to remember her spirit. She sounds like she was a wonderful woman, and I know, sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with you guys. (((HUGS)))

Danielle said...

I agree with you. Those things you do for them in the end aren't the things you'll remember. You are serving someone in their time of need and the stuff you remember is all the good stuff in the middles. You're awesome. Your poor sick little boy! :(
Hope he's feeling better!

Beth Zimmerman said...

Love you Rachel! Praying for rest and peace!

Amy said...

Yes, missing her will be the hardest. But even harder for you will be watching sweet Itty Bitty and your dear husband miss her. We will continue to pray for all of you!

If I could go back and see my Uncle Larry before he took his last breath... I would. I will never ever make that mistake again. That was the worst mistake I have ever made and I will regret it until the day I die. I am grateful that you had all those moments together. And I am even more grateful that you were there until the end for her. You are amazing and so strong and I have loved "meeting" your sweet mother in law through you.

Much love to you all! Get some rest dear!

Kelly said...

Rachel I'm so very sorry for your loss.

I pray that you feel the arms of God wrap around you as you walk throught the days that are to come. I know how very hard it is, and I'm praying for you and Mr. Daddy.

I'm so very sorry.

Tina said...

I have been thinking of you alot, and praying for peace. Oct 7th, marked the day that my daddy passed away, three years ago. I was with him when he left this place, and I would not trade it for anything. Yes, it WAS hard and devastating, and heartbreaking, but I would not have missed it for the world.

And of course, you ended up drenched in a dark bathroom. Bless your heart, I know you ARE exhausted. Rest your heart and mind friend!!

Dyann said...

**reaches out to hold your hand, while the other one covers her mouth so as to not inhale your barf germs**

sara said...

oh my word, the story of her last word.....gave me chill beautiful!!! When my aunt passed, she had been unresponsive for 3 days and without food or water for 8, she started stirring and a small tear squeezed out of her eye and down her cheek and then she was sweet. I envision that was when she saw her savior face to face!

Tara G. said...

I was thinking of you just last night and wondering how your mil was doing. Sounds like she is completely healed. Praise God that He has given us birth into a living hope! (I Peter 1:3) Praying for your family as you face the days ahead!! {hugs}

Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm so behind... and I have no words. this was heartbreaking and beautiful....

and we had some nasty throw up here in the last week. I ripped out half of the carpet in his room the next day. I'll do the rest over the weekend so we can get rid of it on MOnday (garbage day!).

Thinking of you..,,

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