Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mom....I miss you.

Four years ago on January 25th my Mom lost her battle with cancer. In some ways it seems like only yesterday, it other ways it seems like decades ago. The end came much faster than we expected. While we were glad that she no longer had to suffer, there were many things that I wished we could have talked about before she died.

Mom was a wonderful musician. She could sit at her piano for hours and could play just about any song by ear. I miss that so much. Ben and I sit at her piano some times and he bangs on it. But I no longer have any way to recreate the beautiful music that she could play. John took lessons for a few years, but does not spend much time at it any more. She also loved her grandchildren who were just 7, 7 3, 3, and 1 when she died. She never got to meet our little Ben.

In the days following her death, I was looking through Mom's jewelry drawer to find a piece of her jewelry so I could make matching bracelets for my aunts and sister-in-law to wear to the funeral. I was speaking with on of the nurse aids who was helping to care for my Dad who had just gotten out of the nursing home after a bout with pneumonia and had a necklace in each hand. I liked the one in my left hand better and said to the nurse aid, "Do you think this one might work?" At that very second I felt a tug in my hand and saw the the necklace had just broken while lying flat in my hand. I said" Oh, Thanks Mom! Since it is now broken, I guess you won't care if I use it." I had told my kids that Grandma was now one of their angels and that she would look after them, but until that moment it had not really hit me that she would be watching out for me too.

The bracelets got done in time for the funeral and each included a picture charm . I used a picture that was taken after Mom had gotten sick and I knew that she was not fond of it. However, it was the right size for the charms I had, so I used the picture anyway. For some reason something always happens to the picture in my charm. First it got wet, then it got smudged, then it just fell out all together. Each time I replace it with the same picture. I never did ask my aunts if thier pictures were still OK, but I would not be surprised if they were not. Currently my bracelet is sitting in a drawer in need of a new picture. I am going to try to shrink the picture on this post which she did like and see if that one lasts longer. I have a feeling it will.

A few weeks after the funeral, I still had the feeling that Mom was looking out for me. So for fun I bought a lottery ticket. She was always telling me how I needed to stay home with the kids, so I figured if she could do anything to help me win, she would. Not that I was expecting to win the jackpot or anything, but a few thousand dollars would have been nice. Needless to say I did not win.

Fast forward to October 2007. I had just lost my Dad and was pregnant with our third child. Taking care of Dad had been hard, but we were able to grant his wish and keep him at home also. In the weeks following his death, I felt very lost. I no longer had anyone to look after, other than my husband and kids. While they did and still do need me, they are all healthy and able to look after themselves for the most part.

The day was fast approaching when I would get to have the ultrasound to find out the baby's sex. I had convinced myself that it would be a girl. Mom had always told me that I needed to have a little girl. Somehow, I felt that Mom had pulled some divine strings and that this surprise baby was the little girl she always wanted me to have.

I was still in shock, and a little disappointed that I was having another boy, when the doctor told me that my blood tests were a bit off and my odds of having a baby with Down syndrome were something like 105 to 1. We decided to go in for the level 2 ultrasound. In my mind it was just to prove that my baby was completely healthy. I had not even done any research, and was convinced that everything was fine and the ultrasound would rule out any problems.

After finding out about a couple soft markers, fluid around his heart and and a very slightly thickened nuchal fold, we decided to have the amnio. I still was convinced that the baby was healthy and this test would put our fears to rest. While we waited for the results I started searching the web to find more information. Two days later we did indeed learn that our baby did have Down syndrome.

Fast forward to today. Our son Benjamin is a happy, healthy little 22 month old boy. Ben and I were playing the other day, and he was absolutely cracking up about something silly that I was doing and it hit me... I did win the lottery. I never seem to be lucky at anything, but this time I won. Not a monetary win, but something much more valuable. I completely believe that Mom and Dad were both looking out for us and that they helped to guide Ben to us. Because of Ben, I now work part time, and am able to spend more quality time with all my boys. We are able to slow down and enjoy things more, and we have gained a perspective on what is really important in life. To me those things are worth more than millions of dollars.

Thanks Mom! I miss you.