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My mother was a woman full of life. She made friends easily and was always ready to lend a hand to those in need. She worked hard as a single mother when I was growing up, always struggling to make ends meet. She was tough, courageous, and a loving woman, these are the memories I have of her, they are of strength, vitality, and determination. She was also a smoker.
I only have one memory of my mother being a non-smoker, and that was because she had bronchitis and went into the hospital. She tried to quit, but in the end, the addiction reared its ugly head.
As the years went by, my mom became sick more frequently. She had to take breathing treatments and relied on inhalers to help her breathe. She was diagnosed earlier with COPD, but it wasn’t until she spent the night at my place that I noticed just how badly her breathing had become. Thankfully, she had a doctor’s appointment the next day and she wanted me to go with her.
As we were talking to the doctor, I mentioned that I was concerned that her breathing seemed very labored at night. He ordered testing done that would monitor her oxygen levels at night. My mother was so mad at me for that, but after the test came back that she needed oxygen at night, she was glad I spoke up. Little did I know that this was the beginning of the end.
One morning before I took my son to school, my mother’s husband called and said that he found her on the floor. My son and I raced over to her house. The drive that took ten minutes only took us five. He was able to get her into bed, but something wasn’t right. She was so disoriented that I told him to call an ambulance. This was her first hospital stay. The doctors had said that her oxygen levels were so low that she passed out when she got out of bed. Of course, they encouraged her to stop smoking, but at this point, she had been a smoker for over fifty years. The damage had been done.
After that first hospitalization, I noticed her memory was worse than it had been previously. When I mentioned this to her doctors, they said she had what’s called vascular dementia. The memory loss was because there wasn’t enough oxygen getting to her brain. I had started taking over her medication management, reminding her to take her meds, and scheduling her appointments. By this point, she had been ordered to be on oxygen full-time.
Over the next year, her health continued to deteriorate. She had another hospitalization, hospice was called in, and she fell into a depression. Looking back, I feel like she was giving up. She had dropped to eighty-three pounds, and would barely eat. I called her doctors and they put her on antidepressants and appetite stimulators. After a few weeks, she showed so much improvement. She was slowly gaining weight and she was out of her room more.
She was spending Mother’s Day weekend (2017) with us when she started slurring her words. I thought she was having a stroke. I started to have a panic attack but was able to call for an ambulance. I have an anxiety disorder, so with every phone call, text or knock on the door, I feared the worst. This time she spent six days in the hospital. I found out that she had just eighteen percent lung function. I knew our time together was coming to an end.
Not only did I have to prepare myself, but I had to prepare my fourteen-year-old autistic son. He was so close to his “Naneena”, and I did the best I could with him. I have always been straightforward with him regarding life. I explained what was going on with her lungs and that they were failing. They could no longer get the carbon dioxide out of her system, and one day, she would just fall asleep and never wake up. It was a hard conversation to have, but even harder for me to realize I was losing my mother.
The weekend before she passed, she was spending the weekend with her sister. She was doing all right for the most part. She was having trouble making it to the bathroom in time, but the trouble didn’t start until the journey home. She started slumping and slurring her words again. My aunt and uncle were able to get her in the house, and shortly after, she perked right up. She was doing better.
I went over to see her the next day and she was in her chair, chatting and being her happy self. I was setting up her medications, as I had been for the last year. She was in such good spirits that I wasn’t going to go over the next day. About two in the afternoon, I got a call from my mother’s husband telling me that she was on the floor again and she hadn’t woken up since.
I called my aunt and told her that she needed to make the trip down and that I was on the way to my mom’s house. When I got there, I knew that it was only a matter of time.
My mother opened her eyes when my son and I entered the room. It was almost as if she was acknowledging that we were there. I laid next to her in bed and ran my fingers through her hair. I talked to her, told her just how much I loved her, and that would never change. I thanked her for a wonderful life, and for being an amazing Naneena to my son, and then I made those phone calls to her other siblings that lived out-of-state. I told them that I didn’t expect her to make it through the night and I put them on speaker so that they could say their goodbyes.
My aunt called and told her to hold on long enough for her to get there. I can’t imagine how hard that two-hour drive must have been for my aunt.
I stayed with her the whole time, even after my aunt arrived. I told her again that I loved her, and that it was ok to let go. My son tearfully told her the same thing. That we both were going to miss her, but we didn’t want her to suffer. It’s odd, for me and my son both suffering from anxiety, in those moments, we both felt a peace in the room.
As my mother took her final breath, drifting away, she left this world surrounded by those she loved most. My son was holding her hand, I was by her feet, and my aunt was at her side. The date, July 26, 2017.
I wish I could tell you the peace lasted and that we were ok, but that wasn’t the case. After she passed, I still stayed with her. I didn’t leave until the funeral home came to get her. Seeing that bed empty, and the house quiet without her just didn’t feel right. As my son and I went home that night, we cried. We both dreamt of her that night. My son told me that his Naneena told him that she loved him. I dreamed that she told me she loved me as well and that she appreciated everything I did for her. I woke up crying. I knew she was finally at peace.
In the next few days, I just shut down. Thankfully, my son is old enough to cook for himself. He even made sure that I ate. I really only remember that much because I was lost. I was an orphan. I had lost my biggest cheerleader, my best friend, my mom. What I do remember is those numerous times I reached for the phone or expected her to call me any moment. I barely remember her memorial service.
For months, it felt like she was on a vacation and that she would be home soon. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that she was really gone. I read somewhere that grief comes in waves, that when you’re in the midst of it, you feel as if you’re drowning. I definitely feel as though that was the case for me. My son was being strong for me, and after a short time, it finally hit him. I had to pick myself up and take care of my grieving son.
Soon, that drowning feeling slowly started to subside and I felt that I could actually tread water. I still had moments where grief overwhelmed me, and I just had to let that happen. The hardest moments came when I had to clean out her room. Seeing her things, smelling her perfumes, the things I bought, and the things my son made her. It took me a few weeks to go through her things.
I donated her clothes to a battered women’s shelter. I wanted to keep with her spirit of giving and honor her memory. I know that some woman will benefit from our loss, and I am ok with that.
Now, we’re closing in on a year after her death and those moments still hit me. For example, I was having some tests done and the attendant asked if my mom was still my emergency contact. I started crying at the desk. Or the time my son and I went to Taco Bell and I thought, “Gee, I should get my mom a taco and take it to her.” I cried in the drive-thru lane.
I know that July 26th will forever be etched into my brain, but I don’t want it to take over all of the other memories that we had created together. I’m starting to have memories of us where I don’t result in tears. I’ve slowly adapted to my new normal, and there are still days when something happens that I think, “I can’t wait to tell mom!”
I don’t think this pain will ever really go away, it’s always going to be there, I’m just learning to live with it. I still talk to her, I have her ashes set atop of her jewelry box. I don’t know if I’ll get to the point where I will put them away, but for now, they are right where they need to be. The hardest thing for me is that there is no permanent marker to show that she lived, yet she lives on in me, my son, my sister, her kids, and grandkids.
I’m still riding those waves of grief, but I want you to know that it does get better. One day, I’ll stop focusing on what I lost, and focus on what I still have. Those memories are so very precious, and even though we will no longer create memories together, she will always be with me.
Just before the “season finale of Lucifer, fans found out that this devilishly witty show would be canceled after three seasons. Fans have consistently shown their outrage over Fox’s decision to cast Lucifer out and promptly took to Twitter to express their outrage and disappointment over this decision. The fans have spoken and the hashtag #SaveLucifer was born.
Tom Ellis, who plays Lucifer Morningstar, has spear-headed this campaign to find a new home for Lucifer. Not only is the rest of the cast behind this battle, but so is Ildy Modrovich, the writers and the company that owns Lucifer, Warner Brothers.
Who knows if this fight will be won, but one thing is for certain, fans have moved heaven and hell to save Lucifer. Let’s just hope that it’s enough.
I’m someone who struggles with eating healthy. I grew up during a time where tv dinners were king and eating healthy wasn’t in the public consciousness. Well, at least in my house it wasn’t.
So, fast forward to my middle-aged self and I’m finally realizing that I should make a lifestyle change. As of right now, I have lost 51 lbs, but the last time I stepped up onto a scale was three months ago. I know I’ve lost a lot more. While it’s nice to see the number on the scale on a downward trajectory, I’m trying not to focus on the number, and instead on how I feel.
My 15-year-old son is a black hole for food. He’s 6’3 and can demolish a newly bought refrigerator full of food in a day if I let him. Just because I’m eating better, doesn’t necessarily mean he has to all the time. So, today after we left my sister’s house, he wanted KFC, and I, of course, did too. He got some fried chicken and mac and cheese. I was left salivating.
While we were waiting for his food, Macklemore’s “Let’s Eat” came on. I started laughing. Never in my life have I related to a song as much as I did with this one. While I paid for my son’s food and the cashier was looking at me like I had lost my mind, I hit repeat on the song. It made my choice to eat healthy just a little less frustrating.
At 1:30 this afternoon I received a phone call that the school was placed on lock-down at 11:40 a.m. The message said that it was a lock-down drill. However, there was a threat made to another student’s life. My son said that students weren’t taking it seriously because it was labeled as a “drill”. While I understand they don’t want the children to panic, I do believe that every time the school goes on lock-down, it should be treated as if there is a threat. Thankfully, this turned out to be a prank, however, if it were real, these students should not be told it’s a drill when it’s not. Part of keeping them safe is letting them know when there is a credible threat to the school until it is determined otherwise.
Don’t get me wrong, I do believe the safety of staff is very important, but I do believe that students and teachers should be told when it is a very real scenario and not a drill. One child’s blase attitude could get others killed.
Also, when should that call to parents go out? I was just pulling into the school when I received the call. How long before the all clear was given and the phone call to parents went out? When I arrived, only the school’s resource officer was there. If this was a credible threat, I would imagine more police would be there. I understand that the school doesn’t want panicked parents running up there, but I would also like to be notified the moment the school was in the clear.
When my son got in the car, he broke down crying. He was terrified today, and that broke my heart. I read from other parents on the school’s Facebook page that other students were so scared they passed out. This hurts my heart so much. Our children shouldn’t be afraid to go to school. They should be given all relevant pieces of information as well so that they can act accordingly.
Let’s work together to keep our children safe.
As the ripples continue to reach far and wide after Harvey Weinstein’s fall from grace, woman are finally seeing the atmosphere of sexual assault change. It’s a glacially slow pace, but the fact that these conversations are being had is very important.
I was molested by my father as a child and the first person I told was my step-mother. I was terrified to tell her, but I did. Her reply? “You’re paranoid.” She said that to a nine-year-old child. I didn’t even know what the word meant at the time.
My abuse started to become more frequent and I finally broke down at a church event I attended with my cousin. What I didn’t know was that this HAD to be reported, and the woman I confessed to was a social worker. I don’t remember how many days passed before I was pulled out of school and my father arrested. He admitted to the police that he did it and even with his admission, I STILL had to testify against him. That was one of the scariest things I’ve been through. I was a kid and I wasn’t believed. Years later, I was told by my grandfather “that I should have kept it in the family,” I wish I was kidding.
So, when I hear women’s stories years later, my heart aches for them. I know how it feels to be scoffed at and ridiculed. I will always believe a woman’s account of sexual assault. And, I know what you’re thinking, “What if she’s really lying?” Then she should be prosecuted for that because it makes it harder for those coming forward.
Women know that when they come forward, their lives will be under a microscope. What were you wearing? Why were you out that late? You were asking for it. How many sexual partners have you had? And the ace-in-the-hole, how much did you have to drink? As if any of this matters. Stop blaming the victim. Men do not get autonomy over a woman’s body. We go where we want to go, wear what we want and sleep with whomever we want, and that does not mean we are begging to be assaulted.
I’ve heard men say that they won’t be able to approach a woman without fear of being accused. This is the fear women have when a man approaches. Is he going to say inappropriate things to me? Is he going to call me a cunt if I turn him down? Will he assault me for saying no? If you think this is an exaggeration, ask the women in your life.
The courage it takes to come forward with any type of assault is amazing. Women know they will be belittled and called liars, but before you jump on that train, (women, I’m speaking to you) think about your life. Have there been instances where things were said and done that you brushed off as “boys being boys”? Seriously examine how your life may have changed if you had spoken up. It isn’t easy. I get it, but why are you so willing to give men who behave badly a pass? What does it hurt to believe the victim? Even when the victim is believed and there is evidence, sentences aren’t adequate. Brock Turner got six months in jail because it would ruin his future prospects. Brock’s well-being was taken into consideration over his victim’s. Her life will forever be changed, why doesn’t that matter to our justice system?
This is why #MeToo is so important. It is giving voices to many women who couldn’t speak up for whatever reason and showing others that they are not alone. I wish I could say that I was surprised at the number of my friends who said #MeToo, but I’m not. The tide is changing and it’s about time. Teach our little boys what behavior is appropriate and teach our girls that their bodies are theirs and NO ONE has the right to touch them.