Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What I learned about being a Mom... because I lost mine.

I wrote this post for my blog Over the Big Moon and wanted to share it here.

Exactly one year ago today, I held my Moms hand while she took her last breath and I felt her heart beat for the last time.

A short 6 months earlier my Mom had slurred her speech for the first time, igniting a month of intense doctor visits that ruled everything out but ALS- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - Lou Gehrig's disease. A terminal degenerative disease that comes with a life expectancy of approximately 2-5 years. Not for my Mom, she lived 4 1/2 short months from the time she was diagnosed.

We knew her condition seemed to be deteriorating faster than most cases of ALS. With my husband's blessing, I packed myself, Davis, and Beckham up, and when we went down to my parents home for Thanksgiving we didn't come back. We planned on staying for the entire month of December. If there was even a chance this was going to be my Moms last Christmas, I wanted to be there for every moment and every tradition. By the time Christmas rolled around my Dad and I were full time caregivers and she asked me not to go home.

My husband and friends were amazing and I was able to care for her until she peacefully slipped from this world into the next. It was the most difficult and the most amazing experience all at the same time. Here is what I learned about Motherhood while losing my own Mom.

A mothers love is irreplaceable. I know this is something we all "know" in our minds but I am telling you there is nothing in this world that provides the same security and comfort as the love of a Mother or the Mother figure in our life. They are like an emotional security blanket that keeps us safe and secure in our darkest days.

I was 32 when my Mom passed away. I had a loving husband and 3 wonderful sons, and yet I felt as if the world had collapsed around me. I lost my foundation and felt so vulnerable. We as Mothers have a power that can not be replicated or replaced anywhere! It was empowering for me, as a mother, to realize the impact my love and presence has on my childrens lives.

I learned you can make a lot of mistakes as a Mother and still be a great Mom. My Mom made mistakes - as many as I make each day. It does not mean that my children will be less than they could be otherwise. In fact, my mistakes are as good of a learning experience for my boys as my perfect mommy moments are. I have wasted so much of my energy as a Mom getting down on myself for my imperfections and when I lose my patience. The only thing that matters in the end is the love you have showed your children. That is what your children will remember.

I also learned how important it is to be kind to everyone. The kind smiles and benefit of the doubt when my Mom was disabled absolutely made our day! The hardest part of ALS is that you look and sound like you are handicapped, but your mind is as sharp as it ever was. You are the same person trapped in a body that is slowly becoming more paralyzed and useless. A few people treated her like she was not as smart as she use to be. It was humiliating and frustrating for her. We never know what is in a persons mind and heart. Kindness is always the right reaction.

I learned that people for the most part are kind, well-intentioned, and doing the best they can. There is so much good in the people around us! We are all so busy with the little things that occupy our time, that for the most part usually don't matter that much. When you have a life changing experience like this, for a small moment you are blessed with the clarity of what truly matters most.

Most of all I learned how rewarding it is to be a Mom and how blessed I am to have my sons. My Mom got so much joy and pride in who I had become. It was an honor to care for her in many of the same ways she had cared for me as a baby and child. What a blessing to give her that same unconditional love. It changed my life.

Pam had talked to me about starting a blog before all of this happened and I had brushed the idea off. But losing my Mom lit a fire in me to create this little space to honor her. In many ways this blog is my little tribute to her dedication and creativity. She was amazing and innovative. I love sharing the tips and tricks she taught me, as well as the passion she had for creating a "home." She was one of the most dedicated Mothers ever! She always placed her family as her first priority. I am so blessed that I was her daughter.

I have fought back the waves of sadness that rolled in this week. It has been a year - a whole year- I have been forced to live without her. I miss her comments on my blog, I miss calling her when I have a bad day, I miss calling her when I have a great day, and I calling her to come save the day! She understood me in a way that no else does. I miss having someone who knows me so completely and still loved me so unconditionally.

And then today I was flooded with a sense of peace when I realized that the only thing that separates me from my Mom now is time. Each year that passes brings me one year closer to seeing her again. So today I don't mourn that she has been gone for a year, today I am going to celebrate being one year closer to being reunited with her.

My boys saying "goodnight" to Grandma.

Love you Mommers.You are the best guardian angel a girl could ask for!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Memory Medallion

My Mom would be so happy. We got this letter from the people at Memory Medallion...

Dear Brian,

I hope you had a lovely holiday season!

I am writing today with a request. I'd like to ask if your family might give permission to Memory Medallion to share your mother's Medallion story at the upcoming RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City. We have been asked by Gordon Clarke from FamilySearch to present at the conference and we are also exhibiting. Gordon requested that we provide some demonstration links to true Medallions that might show others ideas and inspiration for their own relatives and ancestors. Your mother's Medallion is so beautiful and was one of our first in the new system, in addition to the fact that we met her at a genealogy conference, so I couldn't help

but think that hers would be meaningful to share.

Here is Brians response:

Our family would be honored if you used our memory medallion story at the RootsTech conference. For such a small device, it has really been a fun connection for our family. It meant so much to her, I even displayed the device in her eulogy; the medallion just represented so well her passion for technology and genealogy. The Family History center in Orange California dedicated an internet learning center to her honor this last year as well. Another testament that my mom was always teaching and sharing with others around her.

I have attached 3 photos of the medallion on the actual headstone which is now in place. I’m not sure you ever saw any of these. It all came out so nice. Good luck with your conference, please let me know if you need any additional information.

From our family to your company, have a wonderful 2012. Thank you for thinking about us. May your line of work forever move forward bringing families and generations together through technology.