Mom behind her desk at work. She hated having her picture taken, but she actually liked this picture and gave it to me as a gift one year.
KERI'S BIRTHDAY AT ESKIMO JOE'S
This is me on the left, my sister, Tammy, and Mom. It was taken about two weeks before she went into the hospital for the last time.
Okay, before you all get your tissues out, I'll let you know right up front that this is not meant to be a sad and dreary post. I hope I got that nonsense out of my system about three weeks ago, on Mom's birthday. My post today is simply to let everyone know that I miss my Mom terribly, and I want you all to know what a wonderful, loving, generous, funny, and caring person she was.
Mom was born on September 16, 1934, in Healdton, Oklahoma. She was an only child, due to the fact that her parents divorced when she was 5, and my grandmother never remarried. She, instead, devoted the rest of her life to Mom and to my sister and me after our arrival.
Mom was very popular as a teenager and looking back at her highschool yearbooks, it seems she was just about "Miss Everything". She was the band majorette, she was homecoming queen, she sang in the glee club, she presided over the Student Council, and she was voted "Miss Healdton High" her senior year. Due to limited funds, rather than go off to college, Mom attended secretarial school in Oklahoma City. After graduation, she was hired at Pan American Petroleum Company. That is where she met my dad, Ken. In 1952, they were married. Six years later, yours truly was born. (Me!) In 1964, my sister was born, and our family was complete.
I look back on my childhood, and I could not have asked for anything more wonderful. My sister and I grew up in a warm and loving home, with two of the most incredible parents anyone could ever ask for. One week after my 16th birthday, however, my dad destroyed everything our family had come to enjoy. He left us "to get his life figured out", but we later found out that it was because of another woman . . . one that was about 10 years older than me. They ultimately married, but that didn't last long, and he spent the next 10-15 years, searching. He went from job to job and woman to woman, but I think in reality, no one could compare to my mother, and therefore, he never settled down with anyone again. Today, he is a hermit . . . sad and depressed, lonely and pitiful, who finds really nothing of joy in life except his liquor, cigarettes, and television.
Well, now that I got off the subject . . . . . . back to my mom. What a beautiful person she was. When my dad left, my mother's heart was broken, I think literally. She never got over the loss of her first true love, and years later, it was the failure of her heart that led to her demise.
Mom was not perfect. She had her flaws just like we all do. She would not put down her beloved cigarettes, which she started smoking when she was 16, back when it was okay and cool to do such things. After her heart failure resulted in three-vessel heart bypass surgery, she still continued to smoke those damn things. Her cardiologist finally sat her down and flat out told her, very bluntly, that she was going to die . . . soon . . . if she did not stop smoking.
Alas, she finally stopped. But, it was too late. The cigarettes contributed to her lung problems, which of course, exacerbated her heart disease. Ultimately, the cause of her death was attributed to a collapsed valve, which they said could not be replaced because of the poor condition of her heart and lungs. I mentioned in my post on Mom's birthday (Sept. 16) that I took her to the hospital on September 16, and after three weeks in the ICU, she very quietly passed away on October 8th, 1996.
I don't really know how to explain it, without it sounding cold and callous, but I was somewhat relieved when the nurse told me that Mom was gone. She was dependent on a ventilator, and was being fed through a stomach tube. By the end, I don't think she recognized us, and we were unable to really communicate with her. I know Mom would not have wanted to live like that. So, it was somewhat of a blessing to know that she wouldn't have to suffer anymore.
So, today is not as difficult for me to get through as you might expect. It's always there, in the back of my mind, like a really scary movie or a horrible nightmare, but after all these years, I prefer now to focus on the beautiful person my mother was, and to remember her generosity and her love for my sister and me, her grand-daughter, Ryanne, and all her furry friends.
Thank you for letting me share with you. It's good therapy for me to express my thoughts, and I hope I didn't bore you or depress you too much. I would just like to end by saying that I hope all of you tell your family and friends you love them often, give them hugs whenever you can, and be patient and understanding, even though it's incredibly hard sometimes.
That's me, attempting my very first granny square! My, how time flies when you're having fun! I'm married to a sweet and patient man who produces commercials for a local TV station, and I'm the mother of two beautiful daughters, 28 and 11, and two rescue greyhounds. I love to crochet, and I love to spend time browsing and shopping for anything that's yarn-related. Since Thanksgiving, 2008, when I crocheted my very first granny square, my hooks and yarn are never far away. In fact, my life has been taken over by mountains of beautiful yarn!
Feel free to ride along with me on this journey, and we can share our accomplishments and frustrations with each other.