Tag Archives: Cancer

The Mountain or the Molehill

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It is hard to believe in just a couple of days it will be 5 years since my momma went to be with my daddy in Heaven. Every year it’s hard and this year is no different. It has been a while since I wrote on here, but I thought this would be a good time to share something I had written a while back. I shared this as a devotion at my church recently. Maybe it can help someone else who might be going through the same thing.

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My mom and I in 2007

The Mountain or the Molehill

In the early weeks of January 2012, my preacher preached a sermon and encouraged us, in order to grow our faith and strength of character in God, we needed to ask Him for a mountain. In asking God for that mountain, we were acknowledging that God would walk the mountain with us or move it if we had enough faith.

I know the power of words and what a brilliant listener God is. I was afraid to ask for a mountain because I knew if I asked God for it, He would give it to me. So instead, I bowed my head that day, and I requested a molehill.

Just a few short weeks after that sermon, God answered the prayer. If what I received was only a molehill, I’m glad I didn’t ask for the mountain.

My mother was in remission, from stage-4 lung cancer with mets to the brain, for almost a year. We were planning a cruise. It was her dream vacation. On this particular morning, the day before we planned to leave, I walked out of the kitchen, where we just had breakfast together. Moments after I walked away, I heard a dreadfully loud crash. I rushed back into the kitchen to find my mother sitting on the floor with her leg and hip bent unnaturally. I knew when I saw it that my mom had broken her hip. The cruise was a trip she would never take.

Less than a month later, while she was recovering in the hospital, she began to talk crazy and say bizarre things. An MRI showed new spots on her brain. In February, they gave us the news. There was nothing more to do. They gave her six months.

I was devastated. I had lost my father in 2009, and now it was inevitable that my mother would join him soon. The brain mets combined with the hip fracture left her unable to walk, she was wheelchair and pretty much bed bound. Initially, she went to a nursing home, but it lasted merely a few weeks. I couldn’t stand the thought of my mother spending her final days in a strange place away from her family. My husband and I packed her up and brought her to our home. Hoping my two-year-old daughter, who my momma named Stormy, would bring her some joy in her final days.

It was hard. It was more than hard, I was working a full-time job from home and dividing my time between it, my husband, daughter, and mother. It was nearly impossible, without God it would have been impossible. But, I was now momma’s sole personal caretaker. I took her to the bathroom, bathed her, prepared for her and sometimes fed her meals. It was exhausting, but it was something I knew I willing to do, something I truly believe I was born to do. People would often ask me how I did it. My answer was always “Through the Grace of God.” Towards the end, mom weighed over 150 lbs. and lifting her was harder each time. Still, I mustered the strength through my God and did just that.

There were moments I would turn up momma’s TV and go outside on the porch and scream as loud as I could. I wasn’t screaming at God. I was screaming at this horrible Cancer that was taking my momma from me. There were times when I wondered how long I could do it. But, I knew what it would mean if I didn’t have to support her anymore. I knew that when I stopped having to do those things, then she was gone from me.

There was a moment at the beginning of the 7th month after they told us we had only six left that I could see she was declining fast. It was getting harder to lift her. Her strength was failing at an alarming rate. When I stood her up from the couch on this day, I held her close and hugged her. It was hard to hold her up. She was heavy, and I was tired. I had been her caretaker so much those last few months that I had forgotten to be her daughter. I hugged her close and told her how much I loved her. She held on as tight as she could. Her strength was gone by now. That day I sat at the breakfast table and fed her. She was too weak to lift a spoon of oatmeal. It would be the last time we talked because after this day she was too weak, even to talk.

I told her how much I loved her. I told her what a wonderful mother and friend she had been to me. All the things we hope we can tell someone we love before they die. She was by far the strongest person I have ever known. But, on that morning, I told her that it was okay for her not to be strong anymore. That is was OK. The last words besides “I love you” that my mother ever spoke to me were, “Now YOU will need to be strong.”

Less than a week later, my mom passed away surrounded by friends and family and totally at peace.

I often think back to that January morning when my preacher told us to ask for a mountain. Part of me wishes I would have asked for nothing at all. Part of me is glad I only asked for a molehill. And, yet the other part, deep in my soul, knows that even though I asked for the molehill God gave me the mountain because he knew that with Him I could cross to the other side.

 

I will leave you with this 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

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Breaking Through the Fog

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I haven’t written much the last few days. Every inch of my body and soul has been wracked with grief.

A week ago today we were going about our lives in our normal fashion. Then on Tuesday morning I received a phone call that will forever change our family. Our nephew, my husband’s brother’s one-year-old son was on life support. Fighting for his life after the doctors found a large brain tumor and rushed him to surgery. The swelling around the tumor caused what I believe was a stroke. He was brain-dead. We prayed for a miracle and even though I know and believe that God grants miracles, we didn’t get one for baby Sam. Baby Sam went home to the Lord on Wednesday night.

My husband’s brother and family live across the ocean in Germany. So not being able to be with them and support them during this time has been extremely painful. I am afraid to fly, but I am going to get my passport so if any other kind of emergency arises I can be with the ones I love and who need me.

Today as I write this they are having service for sweet Sam and saying goodbye to him. I am a mother to an only child, just like my sister-in-law. I can’t imagine what she is going through. I don’t want to. My heart breaks for her and when I let myself slip into what I feel has to be her frame of mind, I lose my own.

My heart actually aches, the pain is palpable. I worry for them, they were just married when they visited us here in the states over the Christmas holiday. Today is the first day that I have been able to start to type without breaking down.  I am breaking through the fog, but I worry so much about my brother and sister in law. The only thing that gives me hope they will pull through this is something my brother-in-law put on his Facebook page yesterday. I have copied and pasted it below.

If you are a praying person I would gladly accept any you could give to our family especially sweet Sam’s Momma and Papa!

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When we got up this morning it was cold and raining. I cracked a few windows to let some air flow through the house. I started packing some of Sam’s things. One of the neighbors and Joyce’s good friend came over to help. Joyce was sitting alone in the living room, looking at Sam’s pic, talking to it, and kissing it…saying come back to Mama, Sam.

I was in the garage when her friend came to me and said Joyce needed me right away. I hurried to the living room and found Joyce and the neighbor on the couch crying. Joyce said Sam is here! Sam is here! I looked up and saw the most amazing thing. A unbelievably beautiful butterfly was flying around the living room and even landed on the carpet that Sam used to play on. we watched it fly for a while, visiting all of the places where Sam liked to play.Then I opened the balcony door to let it out. It came over and landed on the door but wouldn’t leave. I tried to gently coax it out by waving the curtains at it. Joyce went to it, held here finger out, and said come to Mama. It climbed on right away and she said its ok Mama is crying because Mama misses you so much. As she talked to it, It didn’t want to leave her finger so she sat it on the mat outside and said its ok you can go and Mama loves you so much, but please come back again. The butterfly slowly flew straight up into the sky towards heaven and disappeared over the roof top.

In the Philippines, the people believe that if you see a butterfly when someone passes away, it is the soul of that person.

I find this event truly amazing because as long as we have lived here, there has never been a butterfly of that species in this area. And, I have never in my life seen a butterfly in the dead of winter especially while raining………….have you?

From now on, I will be cracking the windows every morning.

A Sign… A Gift… on One of the Hardest Days of My Life

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For this weeks weekly photo challenge the topic is signs, I began searching for a few signs I knew I had pictures of: One that says: Arm/Leg for gas prices, one with the W missing from Waffle so it looked like it was and affle (awful) House, and a few more along this line. But then I saw the picture below and realized it was the greatest sign of all!

Besides the actual passing of my father and mother the hardest day of my life was the day I had to make the decision to put my mother in a hospice facility.

Only a few days later she would take her last breath.

The day she was admitted I was with her and when I left her that afternoon my heart was so heavy.

As I walked outside I looked up in the sky and saw this. It gave me chills. It also gave me peace. I really needed peace that day.

Maybe you can see what I saw that day or maybe what I see is just for me.

But it was one of the greatest signs I have ever been given!

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The Warmth of Your Love

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Two years ago today, my mother departed a sick, bedridden body and went to heaven. Walking proud and healed of all her sickness. It is easier this year than it was last year. I feel both sadness and comforted by that. I wrote this poem in memory of her.

 

The Warmth of Your Love

©S. Tennyson Taylor

 

Not a second goes by

When I don’t feel the warmth of your love

It has been two years today

Since I said goodbye

And yet, in each significant moment of my life

In each small act of kindness

I feel the warmth of your love

You taught me strength

You showed me kindness

You held my hand when we walked

You held me close when I was afraid

I felt the warmth of your love

I watched as disease riddled your body

The C word

The horrible, awful C word

You fought hard, squeezed out every bit of life you could

But in the end, the angels came

I can no longer wrap my arms around you

I can no longer sit up all night talking with you

I can no longer see your sweet face

But, no matter where I am

No matter what I am doing

Each and every day

I can still feel

The warmth of your love

My mom and I in 2007

My mom and I in 2007

Flash Fiction Challenge – There Will Be No Gravy

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It has been a while since I participated in one of these, but since I am between stories right now I thought it would be fun.

TerribleMinds is a blog run by Chuck Wendig – He is smart, talented, and very potty mouthed. But his advice for anyone who writes is superb. If you haven’t checked him out and you don’t mind a few a lot of curse words, then you should. Check him out that is.

Anyways, each week he has a Flash Fiction Challenge – This week it is to write an entire story in 100 words. Not as easy as it sounds. Plus we are supposed to make the reader FEEL something.

I decided to give it a try and my story is below. Hope you enjoy.

 

There Would Be No Gravy

I stared at the empty pan. What was I doing?

My job was turkey and dressing. I never made gravy.

It seems like a simple task, making gravy. But she made the best. I never watched or learned.

Even while cancer ate away at her, I lived in denial. Mom the invincible made the gravy.

In a few minutes, the house would surge with family. I stared at the empty pan. The clock blinked 3:25, it was time.

The knock on the door came, “We’re here, Merry Christmas.”

I crumbled and wept. It wouldn’t be a merry Christmas without gravy.

© Shelly Tennyson Taylor 5-2014

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 11

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For most contributors to this challenge initiated by GoodBooksandGoodWine.com have completed all 15 days, I am still chugging forward!
As you can see I am not great at posting every single day on this challenge but we are winding down and todays challenge is to show off 5 of my best blog posts!

1st up would be: February 12th, 2013 – The Opposite of a Bucket list. 

– When a Facebook friend commented about something she or her husband would “never” do, it got me thinking. What are somethings I would never want to do? This is how this post came about.

2nd would have to be: August 6th 2012 – The Ghost of the Woman She Was.

– I wrote this just a little over a month before my mother passed away from cancer. I had been her caretaker and I could see the cancer progressing and getting worse. I knew she wouldn’t be here much longer and I wrote this to try to release some of the pain I felt.

3rd would be my only recipe so far and by far the yummiest (I know that is not a real word): November 6th 2012 – It’s Soup Time

– My yummy chicken soup. Pretty self explanatory!

4th I would pick: June 10th 2013 – A Photo Journey of the Sleeping Child

 – Simply because it is a bunch of pictures of my sweet adorable angel sleeping! I mean come on, what is cuter than that?

5th and finally: July 1st 2013 – They are Watching Me

– This is one of the pieces of flash fiction I have on the blog. It was fun to write and might just find its way to the opening of a future book.

There you have it, some of my favorite blog posts.
Just a few more days with the challenge as we wind down!

Courtesy of goodbooksandgoodwine.com

Courtesy of goodbooksandgoodwine.com

The First One Without Her

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Me and mom

Me and mom

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It will be the first Mother’s Day without my mom. She died last September 9th, the day after what would have been her and my father’s 45th wedding anniversary if he hadn’t passed in 2009.

On one hand it seems like she has only been gone a moment and on another it feels like she has been gone forever. I don’t think my 3 year old daughter remembers her that much anymore. It makes me sad to think that she won’t remember the endless amount of love that my mother had for her. I try to talk about her when I can but that is hard. Talking about her reminds me that I will never be able to put my arms around her and hold her close again. My heart breaks.

My mother was my very best friend. She was smart and funny and strong oh my was my mother strong, both physically and emotionally.

As I sit here I am trying to remember a “just” me and mom story and I am reminded of a time when I was just maybe 9 or 10 years old and mom had a gym membership.

Looking back can’t help but wonder why she even had the membership she was always so fit. I don’t remember her ever being overweight. But she had the membership and my dad used to drop us off at the gym and she and I would go in get changed and then go play racquetball.

We weren’t very good at it but we had fun playing, plus we got our exercise in.

Afterward we would go to this little bar inside the gym and get a fruity drink. It is pretty much what is called smoothies these days but back then in 80’s they were just icy fruit drinks.

When we were done daddy would be waiting for us outside in the station wagon. We always had a station wagon or a white van, lol!

I have no idea what those afternoon racquetball games were about. We didn’t go long. A few months was all maybe. But I loved that time with my mom. It was just us girls. And I had forgotten all about it until I sat here to write today.

Everyone says life is short but we never seem to realize it until we begin to lose the people closest to us.

Mommy in Heaven, I love you so much. I miss you every day. I dreamed about you a few days ago and in my dream I was hugging you. It felt so real that I didn’t want to wake up. Enjoy your Mother’s Day in Heaven and I will see you again one day!