Sunday, November 2, 2014

What just happened?

As I sit down to write this post, I don't know where to begin. My mind is racing a million miles a minute with way too many thoughts.

The last post I published here was over a year ago. I apologize for falling off the map, but this last year kicked my butt.

In August of 2013, I gave birth to my third child. Although I was thrilled to welcome a new, gorgeous member to our family with dimpled cheeks and the sweetest temperament, the events surrounding his birth left me an emotional wreck.
The week before delivery was a rough one for me. Unfortunately, I tend to worry too much. I allowed worry to run rampant in my mind causing me to lose sleep and remain restless the days leading to my delivery. When I went into labor, my blood pressure spiked. Here I was, ready to have a quick and easy delivery because it gets faster and easier with each one, right? Wrong. As a precaution to pre-eclampsia, I was induced. Labor was long, painful, and exhausting.

I don't think I ever fully recovered emotionally from the whirlwind of that period. Soon, I found myself in the deepest pit I have ever experienced. I had a case of self-diagnosed post-partum depression. I researched information online, but I was too afraid to seek professional help. Having had two children before and knowing myself, I knew something was not right. Something beyond my control. This wasn't the baby blues.  I felt alone, sad, helpless, and tired. All I wanted to do was sleep and cry. Life was heavy on my shoulders. You have to understand that my life was pretty much as close to a fairy tale as you could get. My husband is unbelievably supportive, loving, serving, giving, faithful, and wise. My two older children are loving, obedient, respectful, peaceful, independent, healthy and bright. Still, I researched ways of escaping and running away. I couldn't bare the thought of being in my skin. Anger took over my personality. I was plagued with irrational thoughts about how much I despised my life. The thoughts and the feelings were so real and so beyond my control, I was in sheer terror. The worst part is that I knew I was being irrational. I knew my life was wonderful, I had a lot to be thankful for and I was blessed, but I couldn't stop it, which made me feel out of control and guilty. Those days will go down as the worst days of my life.

During my battle with depression, my mom wasn't being herself. She kept telling me about a pain she was feeling and I kept telling her to go to her doctor. The doctors were stumped for weeks if not months, but her pain wasn't going away. I remember selfishly feeling upset because I expected her to help me more with babysitting at a time when I needed as much help as I could get. Eventually, the doctors diagnosed her with a bacteria in her stomach and said the antibiotics to kill the bacteria would be strong and possibly make her feel worse. Mami never got better. The weekend before Christmas, she landed in the hospital. On Christmas Eve, they removed her gall bladder, thinking it was the culprit. The Doctor told us it was one of the worst cases they'd ever seen. We sang karaoke, danced, and opened stockings at 10pm in the hospital waiting room.
We enjoyed an unusual Christmas Day last year. Mami was sent home around noon and we were able to celebrate at her house like we usually do. We were glad to have her back and finally put an end to the nightmare. Being around my family for the holidays helped my own feelings of emptiness. Seeing my mom in pain shifted my thoughts like nothing else could. I still felt the same feelings, but I had no choice but to push them aside.

After we went home on Christmas Day, Mami became violently sick again. My dad took her to the hospital where she would remain well into the new year. She was diagnosed with gastritis, then gastroparesis, then a tumor. A malignant tumor. At the head of her Pancreas. It had already spread to her liver and to a few other areas. On January 6th, she was formally diagnosed with late-stage Pancreatic Cancer. They gave her 6 weeks to live. My sweet dad stayed at the hospital during the days with her. My sisters and I took turns with the night shift. Since I'm the only one who lives in the same city as my parents and doesn't have a job, I was able to spend many nights with Mami. It was an honor and a privilege to be there with her during her final moments. Our lives were transformed as we did whatever we needed to do to be a blessing. Everything took a back seat. The business wasn't even on the radar of my mind. It was all about family.
On February 1st, Mami was sent home to receive her hospice and palliative care. She enjoyed long drives with my dad and lots of sweet family time. We sang together and did anything we could to make her smile. She was as comfortable as she could be. She was adamant about continuing her life as normal as possible. Although she hadn't eaten real food since before Christmas, she insisted on going to her eye exam, dental appointment, and didn't miss a service at our church. Every Sunday, my dad would dress her, get her in the car and bring her to church. The first few weeks she came with her walker, later in her wheelchair. She wanted to be around happy people as much as possible and hated when people got somber around her.
On March 21st, I lost her. My beautiful Mami went to be with Jesus.

The grieving process is something no one can prepare you for nor walk you through. The pain is raw and real and different every day. When you're as close to someone as I was to my mom, it's not just pictures, it's everything. My mom was a nurse by profession, a Minister by passion, and a comedian by nature. We had inside jokes about any and every thing. I adored her. My kids adored her. Their pain is so real, I see it in their eyes. They talk about her often, asking questions and recalling memories. I'm glad they will never forget her, but experiencing their pain is a dagger to the heart.

I feel like this past year has been a nightmare. I'm constantly asking myself, "what just happened?" I wish I could wake up and find out this all happened inside my mind. But it's real life. My life.

After a few months of juggling my grief, my responsibilities in our home, homeschooling 2 kids and a baby (now 14 months old), my commitments outside the home, and my business, I was spent. In his wisdom, my husband sent me away on a weekend retreat just me and God. I had to come face to face with the fact that God is calling me to a new work. My season as TiTi's TuTu's must come to an end for the next chapter to begin. I hope you will join me on my next adventure.
I can't wait to share what the new year brings for my family. For now, I just wanted to share my sincere gratitude to all of you who have supported my family and I in one way or another over the past 5 years. When I think about how far this little idea has come, it just blows me away.

Thank you, thank you, thank YOU!

With love,