Tag Archives: Death

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.

Undo – The Single Change I Would Make in my Life

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For the most part I wouldn’t change anything in my life.
Because with change means all the circumstances and things that come after could be altered or not exist.

So changing anything that would leave me without my wonderful husband and beautiful daughter is just not an option.

There is however, one moment in time I would change.

It was January 20th, 2012, the day before we were leaving to go on a cruise. We were taking my mother who had never been and always wanted to go. She and I were getting ready to go have a mani-pedi and I walked away from the kitchen as she stood up to go and get ready. In the seconds I walked away she slipped and slid down the back wall, landing on a hard ceramic dog food bowl and breaking her hip.

She didn’t get to go on her cruise, we had been counting down the days.

She would eventually pass away in September. I think the depression that came on after her hip was broken all led to the end for my sweet momma.

So yes, I would change that moment. I would have stayed. I would have made sure she got up and did not fall. I would have let her have her cruise. Maybe she would have still been gone by September, maybe not.

— This post is in response to The Daily Post Prompt – Undo

And now I realize I totally messed up the Prompt… it was to Un-Invent something…. So…. crap….. I would Un-Invent Ceramic Dog food bowls…. 🙂

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

And Yet I Always Knew

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As I reach the closing pages of the book

 I find myself wanting

 Needing more

In the verses before me told the life of a sister

 I never knew I had

I had chosen to finish these pages with the sand between my toes

 Because it was my sister’s wish

It was still almost impossible to imagine

 And yet somehow I always knew

I always felt something was missing

A part of me

It wasn’t until she passed away

And the journal found its way to me

That I felt whole

It sounds odd to feel whole after the death of someone

And yet

 That is what I am now

 I am whole

 In my hand I hold the life stories of my twin

And someday

 We will meet again

This is in response to The Daily Post Prompt: Edge of the Frame – We often capture strangers in photos we take in public. Open your photo library, and stop at the first picture that features a person you don’t know. Now tell the story of that person.

To Walk in Your Shoes

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Today marks 1 year since my mother passed away.

I found a poem I wrote to her in 1999 – This would be 11 years before I had a child of my own and so it was so fitting that “I could only imagine”.

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To my mommy – To Walk in Your Shoes

I can only imagine how you must have felt to hold my tiny body in your arms the day I was born.

How you must have rejoiced when I spoke my first words and took my first steps.

Or how your heart must have broke the first time I got hurt.

I can only imagine how you must have sat and watched me walk into school that first day

How proud you must have been when I read my first words knowing that you instilled such a love of reading and writing.

I can only imagine how you must have felt to see me turning into a young woman.

To look into the eyes of what you still remember as a baby and see a little lady growing up before your eyes.

I can only imagine how your heart might have broke the first time mine was broken by a boy.

Or how you must have been filled with joy, love, and a even a touch of pain, to see me walk down the aisle on my wedding day.

Your little girl, all grown up.

I can only imagine how it feels, to be the most loving, giving, selfless, beautiful mother in the entire world.

I can only hope that one day I have the chance to be half the mother you have been to me.
I love you mommy, Happy Mother’s Day, your little girl, Shelly

(c) Shelly Tennyson Taylor 1999

A Confession and Suppressed Grief

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So, for the past week I have been going through the motions of a mindless eater. Actually that isn’t entirely true, I have knowingly gone into the cupboards and found the hidden Nutella jar (by the way it is either heavenly goodness or the devil, I haven’t decided which yet), eaten spoonfuls of peanut butter & Nutella mixture, taken handfuls of cereal, eaten ice cream and basically anything I wanted. Now, for a normal person this might be okay, however I am recently back at my Weight Watchers lifetime weight and so this has put all of that in jeopardy.  I dread the scale next week…. Sorry Susan, advance warning of my breakdown.

Not only have my eating habits been bad, but also I have not written a single word or edited a single page in my novel in the past 6 days. I am not reading, and I am spending mindless hours a day trying to Crush Candy…..

The question is why?

I had an epiphany moment a bit ago when I opened a piece of mail from Cobb Hospice. Reminding me, As if that wasn’t all that has been going through my head since the start of September, that we are coming up on the 1-Year anniversary of my mother’s passing.

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Aha!
In all my mindless acts, I do not have to think.
If I start to think, I might be reminded that I have lived the past year of my life without my mother, my best friend, my daughter’s Nana. Without these mindless acts, I would have to think and realize how much I miss her and how I would love to just have her arms around me one more time in a comforting hug.  I might have to realize that I finally wrote and finished a story AFTER she died and so she was not able to read it. I might have to register when my daughter says she misses her Nana. I might have to take off the mask of “I am fine, I am strong.”
I might have to allow myself to grieve for her again.  

I guess the little box I had this all tucked away in is getting wet and soggy and breaking down.

For a moment, I will allow myself to cry and be mad and sad and happy she isn’t in pain anymore. I will feel sorry for myself and for my daughter for not getting more time with her. And then, I will wipe away my tears, put on my happy face, and put it all back in a new little box and tuck it away.

Of course, in 3 days on September 9th, when we come to the “actual” day that Momma went to be with Daddy in Heaven then I might have to pull that box back out and allow myself another good cry.

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!

A letter to my Pastor

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I wrote a letter to my pastor today and I realized when I was done that it was more than just a letter to him. It was my testimony and it deserved to be shared with all of you. So here it is:

Pastor Rick,

I just wanted to write you and tell you how much I appreciate you and Tonya. I have been telling my husband “I rebuke his thoughts” for years when he says stuff like. “I am getting sick.” “We are never going to get out of debt.” “We are never going to have a child.”

Your declaration sermon this past week really hit home. Tony (My husband) is better now. He doesn’t talk the way he did in the past but sometimes I hear those negative words coming out of his mouth and I rebuke them.

To tell you a little about us:

I was raised in a FIRE AND BRIMSTONE — HELL AND DAMNATION Church of God. And while I do admit I got saved because it literally SCARED THE DEVIL out of me at a very young age. I found it tiring and mentally exhausting to go to church every Sunday. I then went the opposite way and changed to a United Methodist Church (where I graduated high school) the sermons here left me lacking and wanting more. In the Church of God the Flock was at least lively and active. In the United Methodist the Flock simply sat staring and the man talking on the stage. Occasionally you would hear someone whisper an “Amen.”

My husband on the other hand was not raised in Church at all. It was a loving home but not a Godly home.

When we got married at the tender age of 21 I simply quit going to church. I was not happy at church at that time and Tony wasn’t used to going anyways. It was easy to justify not going to church. I mean I watched Church on TV on Sunday that was good enough, right……

When we got married I said that GOD was going to be my birth control. My mom had come close to getting Cancer from Birth Control Pills and I didn’t want to take that chance. A few years into our marriage and we wanted to have children and it just wasn’t happening. We went to a specialist and eventually found out my tubes were blocked. GOOD JOB GOD! That is one way to apply birth control. But now Tony and I wanted children. The only problem was in order to fix this we would need In-Vitro. This was in the late 1990’s and coming up with the $100 it took to go to the doctor was a hard task for us, much less trying to come up with $40K for In-Vitro.

We went back to our lives, knowing now that God really was our Birth Control. I prayed every day that God would open my tubes and give us a child. Tony began to drink. He escaped into the world of alcohol and gave up on the thought of a child. Maybe it was the woman in me but I could never ever give up that thought. I knew I was going to have a child even if that meant adoption. I WAS MEANT to be a mother. I KNEW it as well as I KNEW my own name.

Years passed 1996 turned into 2006 and Christopher Reeves (SUPERMAN’s) Wife died of Lung Cancer. She was not a smoker but a heavy drinker. Something inside Tony Clicked when this happened and he put down the Alcohol. Cold Turkey. DONE.

Things began to change; we started to work towards getting our finances in order with DAVE RAMSEY. In July of 2008 we were able to move out of a home that was eating us alive in payments and buy a home that was almost double the size and half the payments. GOD WAS GOOD.

In October of 2008 my company changed insurance plans. They are based out of NJ and when I read through the new plan at first I thought. This can’t be true……But it was. In NJ it is mandatory that you get the option of full coverage IN-VITRO and all other infertility treatments in your insurance plan.

I remember when I realized that this was true and about to happen. I sat down on the stairs of our new home that GOD had given us and cried like a baby tears of happiness.

It wasn’t easy. Satan threw things at us along the way. In 2009 while I was getting my tubes removed in preparation for In-Vitro my dad was in the hospital going through Kidney failure and in the process getting kicked out of their home (a small trailer near the lake – they said they didn’t want him to fall and sue them…). My parents moved into my living room.

They had told us that my tubes were THE ONLY thing wrong with me so getting pregnant should be easy. The first time it failed. I was devastated, HEARTBROKEN. I wondered WHY God had opened all these doors for us only to shut them in our face. The second time it failed again. We tried a 3rd time this was going to be the last for a while. I was tired. In case you don’t know IN-VITRO is hard work. There are bi-weekly doctor’s appointments multiple self given shots in a single day. It is a physical and emotional rollercoaster. But when I saw that word “Pregnant” come up on a home pregnancy test I have never been happier in my entire life.

During all this my mom was diagnosed with Cancer (She died September 2012) and my dad would die in 2009 when I was only 13 weeks pregnant. Bittersweet heartbreak but I knew the child I was carrying was my reason for living. She gave me hope again.

Our sweet bundle of Joy that we named STORMY was born on APRIL FOOLS DAY! After she was born Tony and I both agreed that we had to thank GOD for what he did for us, what he gave to us. We took our baby girl to my mother’s church (The HELLFIRE AND BRIMSTONE Church) and had her dedicated to Christ. We knew this wasn’t the church for us so we began to search for ours. We went back to the United Methodist Church I graduated from and although I love the pastor and he had good messages, the congregation was so sullen. It felt like they were just going through the rituals for getting to church on Sunday morning.

My best friend’s mother-in-law sweet Gail Yarbrough had been trying to get us to come to Bethany for years. Too bad we waited until she was gone to do just that.

I remember that first Sunday sitting in the parking lot and watching everyone I MEAN EVERYONE come in wearing jeans. I remember being judgmental and wondering what we were doing at a church who didn’t bother to dress up for God. This was how I was raised in BOTH churches after all.

But once inside I knew. I had the answer. They weren’t dressing up to please the other members; they were going to church in WHATEVER they had to worship and LOVE God. To simply hear the WORD of GOD. The GOOD NEWS…. Live life and HAVE GOOD Days.

I am so Thankful for you and Bethany and mostly to MY GOD who placed us there.

18 years after we were married and made that vow that GOD would be my birth control, I had my daughter. Truer words have never been spoken, “God’s ways are not our ways.” But I am so thankful that he is a GOOD GOD. And by DECLARING those words “I WILL BE A MOTHER.” For so many years, it came true.

I am sorry to have rambled for so long but I thought it was time I shared our story with you and thanked you for what you and Bethany are to us. Home.

Filled with God’s Blessing even in the darkest hours,
Shelly & Tony Taylor (& Stormy too)

What or Who Inspired You to Write?

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A passionate Reader

A passionate Reader

I don’t mean a particular poem, song, or novel, I mean what was at the core of you realizing that you wanted needed to write?

For me it was growing up in a home where my mother was an avid reader. She really opened me up to the world of books and I remember as a kid reading every one of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books. I was actually disappointed as a child when the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew show was not as good as the books I had read. Learning early on the written word gets instilled much deeper into you than what you see on the screen.

Oh and for those of you who don’t know about the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books, I am sorry you missed out. But you most likely grew up in a world of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Different generation same love and drive for reading.

Sometime in my teenage years or maybe it was after I left home, but somewhere along the way my mother quit reading. She never gave me a good answer as to why I suspect it was because my dad didn’t like her head stuck in a book all the time.

When my dad had his first Aneurysm surgery on May 8th of 2002 I talked my mom into getting a book to read so that she didn’t sit there worried the entire time my dad was in surgery. This was a tough one and he was expected to be in surgery for quite a few hours.

In that moment I opened her back up to the world of books and created a monster in my wake. She devoured books making up for all the years she lost not reading. I know this because after she passed I found her notes where she kept track of what she read. In that first year back reading my mother read 63 books between May and December.

Over the next few years it was much the same;
2003 – 54 books
2004 – 52 books
2005 – a slow year for her she only ready 26 books
2006 -45 books
2007 -36 books

And 2008 – The year before she got sick and was diagnosed with Cancer she read a whopping 81 books.

In 2009 she and my dad came to live with me and my husband. Dad was very sick in Kidney failure and would die that same year. Mom was soon to be diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer with Mets to the brain. She read 1 book in 2009 and that was the last book she ever read. She lived until September of 2012 but she was no longer able to enjoy reading.

Still her love for books always instilled in me a love for books and reading and to take it up a notch I love to create. I enjoy a story coming to life in my mind and then on the paper. It is not always perfect. We as writers know that we will always judge our own work the harshest but writing words on the page even as a teenager was I felt I was called to do.

Life got in the way.
I put my writing aside.
I let that little voice in my head that said, “Why are you wasting your time on this it is never going to happen for you,” I let that voice win.

Just like my mother put away her reading for some years I put away my writing for some years as well.
But I plan on devouring my writing just as she devoured books.

I can only hope I instill the same love for books and maybe even writing to my daughter.

So who or what inspired you? What is your story? Why do you HAVE to write?