This has been one of the most trying months of my life, second to the month of May when I first moved to Boston with all the blockages that seemed to arise.
For those who are not aware, my mom passed away Aug. 28.
This shouldn’t have been a surprise to me considering I’ve been receiving messages about it coming for over a year now, but it still was a complete shock that has rocked my world. I guess I had always assumed congestive heart failure would sneak up on her (as it had many times before) and that’d be it. I had no idea it would happen in any other way!
On the day she died, she’d gone to the gym and went out for dinner with my dad. As usual, he’d unwind watching TV while she’d unwind on the computer. Around 8:30pm usually she’d take a shower but never made it. Her last Facebook post was at 7:42pm, so we know it was between this time she passed away because she never did make it to the shower. She simply fell back in the computer chair and died peacefully at home and was on the computer doing what was usual. I am grateful she didn’t suffer, went quickly, and was comfortable at home! I know there was probably an underlying fear she’d have each time CHF would hit wondering if she’d make it home or not. Luckily, all happened naturally and all was well. My dad did not find her until after midnight, and he was in shock. I know he felt horrible but there was nothing that could’ve been done at that point.
I’ve never seen my dad so distraught. I’m so grateful I’m connected to the Spirit world in the ways I am and have connections to others who are as well. I called a good friend of mine who helped us all come to an understanding of what happened, and to realize her body just couldn’t sustain life anymore. She described my mom’s transition to the other side – she was surrounded by many loved ones. My mom made it clear she was okay, said it was strange without my dad, and for us to not forget about making the Christmas cookies!
She also said it was okay to get rid of her stuff because she no longer needed it. For anyone who really knew me or my mom, they were aware my mom was sort of a hoarder. Most recently, she was into buying beads for jewelry making. I had the thought pop up in my head that we should display all her handmade jewelry at her calling hours, and let her family and friends take as many jewelry items they wanted as a way to let my mom’s legacy carry on. It was a wonderful idea well received by all!
She had so much stuff that it took over the two ‘free’ bedrooms in our house. For a while my mom had a wedding card box business she ran out of one of the rooms, and the other room was full of gifts she’d buy in advance, her PEZ collection, etc. She also overtook the laundry room with her beads as well as countless supplies for rubber stamping. I told my siblings it would be a good idea to start clearing things out that didn’t matter to my dad (like the craft items) that would make a big difference. We did clear both rooms, and it looks amazing! Both rooms haven’t seen the light of day in years because the shades were shut. What a different feel the house has now! I was tempted to show you “before” pics…but I know that would upset my mom. So, you get to see the “after” instead.
When going through the wedding room I realized…wait, I’ll have a wedding some day, and should set some of the stuff aside for it. I saved this card box and pew bows as well as some other misc. things. Note they have angels on them – this will be the theme of my wedding. So appropriate! My mom will still get to be there with us in Spirit, too. :-) Obviously I’ll need to redo some of this stuff that’s yellowed, but it’s all good!
In this whole process, I forgot how creative and crafty my mom was, as well as is the family I come from. Over the years, my mom made the most beautiful Christmas cookies, created flower arrangements, crocheted blankets, got into rubber stamping handmade cards, created all her wedding card boxes and successfully ran a business without any formal training (just like me!), and got into jewelry making. I realized I resisted doing creative things because I was around it so much, and now I’m starting to shift my perspective on what I should do with this underlying hidden talent.
I used to scrapbook (and I still do now and again), and have decorated cakes, which I really loved doing. Last year I decorated all the Christmas cookies (except the Santa cookies – that’s my mom’s specialty!) and would like to continue this tradition. The ladies in my family all would like to do it this year together, so we’ll do that. I also found a baby blanket she had started to crochet a few years ago (maybe for one of my nieces?) and I got the idea to pick it up and make that my winter project this year. I think I’d like to keep that blanket for when I have my own child one day. I think it’d be nice. :-)
Speaking of which, the strangest thing happened to me the night I found out my mom died. I prayed out loud to God, which I rarely do, and asked Him to show my dad the way of life knowing how hard he was going to struggle and how hard the new ‘normal’ was going to be for all of us. Within a couple minutes, I started to realize my mom won’t ever meet my future husband, attend my wedding in person, or meet my kids. I was feeling sad also that she was my connection to my Italian roots, and that part of me felt like it died when she died. It made me so sad, and then I got the feeling I should honor her in some way. Then I heard in my head “Abigail Carmela” and realized I was being guided to name my daughter this in honor of my mom (Gail) and her mom, Carmela, a.k.a. Carmie. I thought that was awesome because both my mom and grandma were psychic (though they were scared of their gifts) and it would honor each of them and carry their names forward, and keep the “Italian” names of my family alive. I would call my daughter Abby…but it would still have “Gail” in it formally.
This was very odd because just days prior I was out with a new guy, Matt, and he asked me if I had names chosen for kids. I had boys’ names picked out but never a girl’s – and now I understand that the girl’s name had to come to me! Amazing!!!
So, yup, I’m officially nesting, folks. I’m set for a wedding, have babies’ names ready and will have a baby blanket…now I just need the guy and baby to come shortly thereafter ;-)
All in all, this experience has been beautiful and heart breaking. No matter how much you know, you’ll never really know what it’s like until it happens to you. I am so grateful I was privy to the information I was as I have no regrets, and was able to spend so much extra time with my parents this year. Life is quite the journey…
I’m humbled by those who showed so much support. I haven’t felt so loved and supported in so long! Even my best friend came up to Rochester with her 4 month old baby Tyler – talk about a special friend!!! Note: she is wearing the jewelry my mom made!
This past 3 weeks have been a whirlwind but we are coping. I go back to Rochester on Friday for a few days as we muddle through what would have been my mom’s 63rd birthday. Last year I was fortunate to have hosted my parents at my apartment and celebrated her birthday with her. My sister, aunt, and I will celebrate her birthday this year with lunch out at her favorite restaurant (where we also had the luncheon after her funeral service) and will have a quiet dinner with our dad that evening.
So, I am grieving, am okay, and am grateful having been able to celebrate my mom’s life. Though it ended too soon in my eyes, life is about choices…and the choices she made lead her to where she was. It’s a huge lesson on acceptance for one’s path to unfold as it will and to not interfere with the natural unfolding of one’s path, though I full well knew what was ahead. May we all live each day as our best with joy, love, and quality as we never really know when we are to be called back home to God.
This was one of our last pictures taken together on my birthday in June, just being “us” and goofing around. Great memories! With that, hug your loved ones extra tight. xo