Remembering Claudette

My mother-in-law passed away the night before the Super Blood Wolf Moon, on the coldest, windiest day of the month so far this year of 2019. We joked that it was her, leaving the Earth and making her ascension into Heaven. That was Claudette, making the ultimate exit.

I had spent the better part of the previous week, sitting by her bedside where she resided on hospice, awaiting her final destination. So poetic then, as it turned out, she waited until the day everyone was gone except for my husband Dave, and the hospice nurse, Denise. He knew the exact moment she went to be with God. Now she is with her husband Robert, her son Charlie and her sister Wanda, not to mention all of her family and friends who passed on before her.

Similarly, in 2014 when my own mom passed, it was me who spent the majority of the time with her in her last month of her life, yet it was Dad’s hand she was holding as she took her last breath.

This whole day has seemed so surreal, we had prearranged all the cremation and burial details, pretty much taken care of the important accounts and bills, so we just pretty much carried on like any normal Saturday…except….it wasn’t. Finally, I suggested to Dave that he should spend some time with his brother, Bubba, before he had to go back to Houston for work. Turns out, that was a good decision. They did some reminiscing, and talked about important issues before he was to head out on Sunday.

It felt wrong to pray for God to take her home, yet I was not the only one who did it. I thanked Him when he did, my prayer was answered and now she is no longer suffering, safe in the arms of Jesus.

As we sat discussing details about her belongings and what our plans were, I snapped a picture of David with his baby blanket so I would have some type of memory to share of the day and how strange it felt not gathering with family, yet I know the time will come when we are all together.

David at his brother’s house, holding his baby blanket

Unlike many husbands wives, I always got along with Claudette, she was such an easy-going lady with a quick smile, good temperament, and nothing mean to say about anyone. I loved her and spending time with her.  She was generous and kind, and had many friends, lots of them visited her while she was in the hospital and the nursing home where she was placed on hospice. We always did Christmas Eve at her house and I will cherish the memories of family eating great food and gathering to play the game of the Chinese gift exchange.

We will have lots of pictures to go through to pick the most special ones for her memory reel at the memorial, but I have my favorite that I took one day not long ago as she sat on my couch visiting for a Sunday dinner. Her smile is so big, this was before she got started on her chemo and still had her own hair. She looks happy and beautiful, not to mention, quite stylish in her sparkly jeans, her beloved Paco by her side as always. Luckily, we were able to get Paco adopted, and that gave her peace of mind in her final days.

Our Claudette

Yesterday, we did gather with some of our family and after dinner, Dave showed Chris some of the old pics he found on MoMo’s computer and we told him about how after going through some paperwork, we discovered her actual birthday is the 23rd of July, not the 24th, which is when we always celebrated it. Her dad was also named Arvel, not Orvil, and I’m sure we will learn more interesting details as we make our way through the process of planning her memorial. There is so much forgotten history there.

Isn’t it sad how people like me who were not interested in history, now find themselves wondering who will tell the story of their loved ones when they are gone? How will I tell my Dad’s story, for instance, now that it is almost impossible for him to communicate? Learn from your loved ones, everything you can. Write it down, label pictures. Keep important documents safe. Don’t just love them and live with them day to day. Learn their history so that some day, you can properly share their story with those they loved.

Here are the details that I can remember about Claudette just from knowing her and being married to her son. She was born in July, she loved her kids and grandkids, she was scared of the water (unless she was on a boat), she loved her pets and had been a cat person before she got Danny (her Boston terrier) and then Paco (her chihuahua). There was Puddin, Tigger, and Scooter and many more that I never knew. She was from East Texas where she was raised by her mother, Viola, and lived with her sister Wanda. She liked to scrapbook and put together lots of framed pictures of her kids and grandkids. She suffered with depression. She loved clothes shopping. She used to work as the assistant finance director of the City of North Richland Hills where she made lots of friends who loved and cared about her. She was easy going and fun to be around. She was married to Robert and had three sons, Charlie, Bubba and David, they all lived the majority of the time in Hurst on Bering Street before they had to sell to make room for the mega mall. We spent Christmas Eve at their house and Thanksgiving with Wanda in Wylie before she became too ill to host it anymore. She loved her family and friends and her Marine friends she made when attending the Marine reunions before and after Robert passed away, and they loved her as well.

Please keep our family in your prayers as we struggle to learn to live without her and keep your own family close to your hearts. You never know when their last day will be, so cherish them while they are still here to love.

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WOD-Plan-1-15-19

Good morning everyone, today’s WOD is plan.

I’m one of those people that like to know the plan ahead of time, yet I don’t always get my way.

Going through what we are right now, waiting for the inevitable with my husband’s mom, it is hard to plan for anything, even a simple meal.

This past weekend, we went out to Red Oak where my middle son is currently living with his girlfriend and her two kids, brought them here so he could see his grandmother one last time. It’s impossible for him to come on his own because he is without a car right now. Had we known circumstances would be what they are at New Year’s, we would have brought him sooner, but we could not have predicted she would go back in the hospital on New Year’s Eve, so we took his Christmas presents to him the day before. Now we’ve made the trip twice.

Speaking of Christmas, that was another event we didn’t plan the usual way. She had gone in the hospital the first time on Christmas Eve, therefore, Christmas was not the same without her there.

Only God knows the plan. So we have the difficult task of waiting with her while God makes room in his Kingdom for her place in Heaven.

Please continue to say a prayer for David and his family for comfort and peace during this most difficult time.

Change of Plans-Trying to Stay Positive

Things don’t always turn out like you planned, I know that anyway, yet was still disappointed this entire holiday season when my mother-in-law became ill and had to be hospitalized first on Christmas Eve, then again on New Year’s Eve. She is still in the hospital now, poor thing, with complications from her cancer treatment. We should have noticed sooner that she was having a hard time taking good care of herself, she laid around too much, we told ourselves she just didn’t feel well and thought her next treatment might remedy that. It did not. She began to rely heavily on her pain medication, which caused confusion and lethargy, she couldn’t take care of her dog, and her house became messy. We helped when we could, we should have tried harder. Now she is in the hospital with blood clots and pneumonia, bad circulation and fluid-filled lungs.

I feel so sorry for her, but they are taking good care of her. Because of her absence, Christmas just wasn’t the same. Gone also was my middle son who lives too far for us to go get with everything we were dealing with, he has no car, and his girlfriend is blind, so she can’t drive. We still have not done Christmas with them, due to mom-in-law getting sick again New Year’s Eve. I’m hoping we can all get together this weekend, but I’m not holding my breath, because again, things don’t always go as planned. I’ve discovered over the years that I’m too optimistic, maybe too positive for my own good. I tend to view the world through rose colored glasses where my husband is sometimes pessimistic and negative, and that gets on my nerves. I love him dearly, yet I wish he would just try to change his attitude toward things. We had been invited to a New Year celebration with friends and before anything ever happened, he had already made up his mind that we would not be able to attend. Me, on the other hand, knew she was in a safe place at the rehab center, so I went ahead and made sausage balls to take to the party. I sent the word to everyone that we would go, and then went to visit her again. She had encouraged us to go to the party since she was feeling fine and didn’t need anything, however on that second visit things changed. Once there I noticed her feet were swollen and purple and made the nurse take a look. Next thing you know, back to the hospital.

All this is not to say we didn’t enjoy our Christmas, we did. We had a houseful and yesterday my husband cooked New Year’s dinner for us and my Dad and brother came and ate with us. That was nice, just different. Not celebrating on New Year was different. We didn’t even feel like popping the champagne, it still sits, unopened in the fridge. It is hard not to let it get you down, yet I am trying to make the best of things. I want to start the year on a positive note, yet today is cold, dreary, and raining with freezing temps, and all I want to do is stay in and read, write, or whatever I can do to stay warm and comfortable. My Dad and I normally do lunch on Wednesday and then play pool for a few hours, yet I don’t think his shoulder is up for it and the weather is so yuck, I don’t want to get out if at all possible. I may just ask him if he minds not doing it today. We will see how I feel once I get dressed and moving around.

Currently, I’m at my makeshift desk (the dining room table) next to the still decorated Christmas tree, the diffuser is on spewing a lovely aroma of Frankincense and a calming blend of citrus essential oils into the air to combat my sinus problems I’ve had FOREVER. I’m watching the rain come down through the dining room window, the squirrels are still scurrying around gathering acorns despite the nasty weather and my pets are probably curled up on my bed in the back bedroom. It’s dark and quiet back there, I don’t blame them.

I’ve had an update from my husband that they are going to drain the fluid in mom-n-law’s lungs, the blood clot is almost gone, and she will likely not get any chemo for the time until all her issues are resolved, if ever. So some things are looking up and he is looking for a new rehab facility for her to go to after the hospital, so say a prayer that all works out. The plan is for her to eventually go to an assisted living facility when she is recovered enough….remember what I said earlier. Let’s hope for the best in this case!

My hope for you is that your holidays were beautiful and your plans went great, and that your New Year started off with a bang. Maybe mine will get better in time, for now, I’ll hide and watch. Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone, wherever you are!

 

Holiday Photos-Better Late Than Never

Prime Rib for Christmas Eve dinner? Yes please!!
Hubby Dave, youngest son Chris and his girl Rebecca (Becky)
Dave’s nephew Stephen-we were teasing him about his hair.
Dabs brother Bubba (Robert) watching Connie pick a present for the Chinese gift exchange
Young love…so cute aren’t they?
My brother Kevin, my oldest son, Sean, and a Dave laughing at the gag gift someone just opened. Some people just don’t get the concept of a Chinese gift exchange…not a white elephant!
Dave’s niece Tori and her hubby Greg-my dad on the far left

These three are from Christmas Day at my Dad’s house. Note the picture of my mom and dad in the picture. This was at their 25th wedding anniversary. She is always missed, but holidays are the hardest.

How did I miss the Christmas tree in my pics?

Ahhhh, that’s better!