Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"Death is a gift to something better."

First off, sorry for not being extremely talkitive lately. Sorry to those whom I kept giving hints to what's going on in my life but ever truly said what's going on. I know when people does that to me, it frustrates the hell out of me. So really, sorry. And sorry for sounding rude, irritated, pissed, bitchy, and so forth and so forth to anyone over IM, phone, online, or on Twitter. There's just a lot of stress going on right now and well, guess subconsciously that's how I deal with stress. By sounding rude, irritated, pissed, bitchy, and so on. A lot of things have happened for the last couple months and to the request (or maybe demand) of both of my parents, I restrained myself from posting any blog or tweet about what's been going on. But now...I need to write, maybe it'll make me feel bits better, maybe...

We buried Mom last week. My Grandparents, Sarah, and I were with Mom and Dad was on his way home. I could tell that Mom was waiting for Dad but she just couldn't. She had an appointment with God and just couldn't be late. I tried to reach Dad as soon as I could. I really did. Maybe I should have tried earlier. Dad and Mom wouldn't be hurting so bad. Dad was on his way home when Mom left for Heaven. I think because of that, Dad is hurting more than we all are.

Mom was diagnosed with Glioblastoma (GBM) mid-February. Because the stage we discovered this cancer, my parents decided not to operate ("one of the most difficult decisions we ever had to make, honey, but we should be thankful for the time we have together.") GBM is the most common and deadly brain tumor and like other forms of cancer, there is no cure. Mom never stopped fighting, though. Even when she was told there was nothing anyone can do, she asked about the possibility of doing both chemotherapy and radiation therapy. She even asked about current clinical trials for GBM because "it may cure cancer one day, honey." She truly believed that through her pain, she can help find a cure.

When Mom first started treatment, Dad wanted her to quit her job and stay with my Grandparents. My Grandparents live fairly close to Scott&White Hospital so Dad thought it'd be good for Mom to get treatment there. Mom refused and said she ain't quitting her job nor is she going to leave us alone by ourselves.

"Two grown men with a baby in the house and no one to take care of you two, you two will go nuts!" she told us.

She continued working till weeks before she passed away, she never missed a beat at work or at home. She kept telling us, "Nothing, NOTHING will ever stop me from being with my family, not even cancer."

She went to the Anniversary trip with Dad then met up with Nicole and me at Ohio State. And despite her pain and me telling her I'd like to stay and take care of her, Mom insisted that I go to the George Strait/Reba concert. She told me to enjoy the concert and just enjoy the time with Nicole. She would keep telling me, "it's your birthday gift, honey, don't ruin it." And while in North Carolina, I asked Mom if I can go home early so I can take care of her. She refused, "if you come home, I'll disown you."

Stubborn, ain't she.

One long weekend, Mom and I flew to Florida to enjoy the weather and visit University of Florida. If you're wondering why I didn't visit Miami, I got a rejection letter from Miami. Mom was more excited than I was, "Hey I'm in Miami! Just like Michael Westen and Fiona!" She went to the Spa like I had planned and caught my evil plan. "I knew there was a reason why you're sending me to the Spa, so you can go to the [shooting] range! Evil!" Guess Mama knew all along. After lunch that day, Mom was really sick and even that, she insisted we leave Miami as we planned, at 1500.

We left Miami at 1459. Precision, Mama, and I love you for that.

We got to Gainesville 3 hours later than we planned because of the pit stops we had to take. But trust me, she didn't go down without a fight. Even with the pain, she kept telling me NOT to make pit stops because we need to get to Gainsville on time like we planned. "If you keep stopping, I swear."

You're so stubborn, Mama.

The night we got to Gainesville, she was so sick she passed out as soon as we got to our room. I held her hand and told her to rest because we got loads to do in Gainesville in the morning. She scared me that night, she looked so peaceful, I thought I lost her. But she opened one of her eyes and told me, "I love you baby, go buy you something to eat."

How she knew, I don't know. Must be a Mom thing.

We got a call from Dad next morning. He told us he's got work soon and he most likely won't be home by the time we get home. And without a word, Mom grabbed the phone from me and talked to Dad for hours. They talked as if they were two teenagers in love. Mom reminded me, "I'm not that old! Still young!" We had a worry-free day that day. We laughed and laughed, it was as if she wasn't sick. She took me out to TGI Friday's after we toured University of Florida. I told her during dinner, "I have a good feeling about this place, Mama." She told me, "Me too." and smiled at me like she never did before.

What I would give right now just to see her smile again.

Mom never missed a beat. She would remind me to brush my teeth and nag at me when I was "slower than the worms". She made me dinner, fed Sarah, took us out to dinner, and still have time to make sure she gets treatment done.

A month or so before she passed away, it was no doubt that she can no longer go to work. She was simply in too much pain. I can still remember Mom crying when she quit her job. She cried and said, "Oh my goodness I'm so happy I'm unemployed! I've always wanted to do this!"

Silly Mama.

During all the days without Dad, there was no doubt in my mind Mom was in more pain than she was letting out. She didn't have to tell me she was hurting, I could see the pain on her face, the fear in her eyes, and the numerous tears that ran down her face. But, "Your Mama's fighting." she would say to me. "Mama's fighting so I can be with you babies just a bit longer."

I know, Mama. Thank you.

On Friday before Spring Break, out of the blues Mom said let's go to Grandparents. She said we can visit University of Oklahoma before going to Grandparents'. Then we can all visit College Station together. I didn't question why or how come on a such short notice, I just rushed home after school. I packed up my stuff, helped Mom packed up Sarah's stuff, and just drove. On the road, Mom and I sang to the songs on the radio, told funny stories, and took turns changing Sarah's diapers. Time seemed to slow down, Mom was back to her normal self again and this cancer thing never happened. She told me stories from when she was younger, from when she and Dad was dating (arg...) and stories of her college life I have never heard of. It was like knowing Mom for the very first time.

I love staying at my Grandparents'. Just being around horses and at the Ranch makes me smile. And it makes Mom smile too. In ways, I think it was making her feel better more than any of the medications ever will. She would gather the strength to go out and watch me ride. She would gather up the strength to get up early in the morning to feed the cattle and horses. We would talk for hours just sitting by the barn. Just me and Mama.

On Monday, my Grandparents, Mom, Sarah, and I drove to College Station. Mom showed me the entire school all on her own and being the proud alumni, she told me I must attend this school simply because "this place rules."

That night, she slept with Sarah and said we were her most precious gift, "next to your Dad of course." She smiled and told me stories from when I was young. She told me the things I used to do as a kid and laughed at my innocence. "You were so cute." she would say to me. We laughed. We smiled. And the night seem to last forever.

Mom took a turn for the worse next morning. Laying in bed she had the strength to tell me the many chores I must take care of. She told me to never forget to brush my teeth and made sure Sarah will be taken care of. She made sure I will take care of myself. She told me she's proud of me for graduating high school and that she's sorry she can't make it to graduation like she would like. But she ensured me, "I will be there. I'm not missing my baby's graduation." She told me how much she misses Dad but knows he's coming home.

We said our temporary goodbyes to the most awesome woman I know. Dad got there couple hours later. He ran into the room and started bawling. I have never seen Dad cry before, let alone straight out bawling over Mom's peaceful body. He was bawling, truly bawling because he just lost the love of his life, his best friend, and he didn't even have a chance to say goodbye.

I'm sorry Dad. I'm sorry I didn't try to reach you sooner. I am really sorry.

We buried her in her favorite part of the Ranch, left her some notes, and said our prayers. We thanked God for bringing her to our lives and asked Him to take care of her in Heaven. We drove home that afternoon and got home around noon the following day. The drive home was one of the longest drive, ever. A strange silence filled the car. Driving down was full of laughter with Mom and on the way home, dead silence.

Several miles from home, we got a message from Mom. Funny how even when she's not here, she wants us to know what she's okay and (hopefully) we will be too.

There was no particular reason why we drove home so early. There was no particular reason why I went back to school yesterday. There was no particular reason why Dad decided to take two weeks of emergency leave instead of a month like everyone suggested. In ways we just want to "get away" and "stay busy". In ways, we just want something to do so we don't sit around the house thinking about what happened. So we don't have to think about losing Mom. Dad and I both know that to start this long journey without Mom, we'll need to take our first step, some how. Even if it means crying in your own bed for hours hoping no one in the world could hear you. I cried every night since we got home. I miss Mom terribly.

And as I read the words, "I know sweetie" I cried harder than I did before. I miss Mama and I am sick of crying.

There's a lot to think about right now, for both Dad and myself. We're not all sure what's going to happen. I don't know what my future holds nor does Dad. We don't because we lost a structure in our lives. We lost Mom. But I trust Dad and his decisions/plans, he always knows what to do to make things better.

I have never thought I would lose Mom so early. They said parents aren't supposed to bury their children. But children aren't supposed to bury their parents either, not at this age. Not at my age. Not at Sarah's age.

Mom told me once, "never, ever, give into Death and always see Death as a gift to something better." I'm not sure how losing Mom was a gift but you know what they say. "Mama's always right."

Life is a journey and this is only a temporary goodbye.
It's not goodbye, Mama, it's see you later.
I love you, Mama.
I love you.


A.J. said...


I wish you had told me earlier. I'll be praying for you all. I'm always available when you need me. Send me an e-mail/twitter or IM.

USMCWIFE said...

no words

HellcatBetty said...

Oh Matt. Oh wow. I... don't even know what to say. You have been through so much, even since I first "met" you and that was less than a year ago. I've usually got some cliche wisdom to try to comfort people, but I've got nothin right now. I'm so sorry. I know you know this already, but I am always here for you, whatever you need. I feel a little stupid now for saying retarded things to cheer you up these past few weeks, but by all means, if that's what you need I'm your gal. Hugs and love from your Twister.

Knottie said...

It hurts and will always hurt. You will get better at learning to live with the pain but honestly nothing takes it away. In time you will find joy again and with it in the beginning there will be guilt. Shed the guilt of it. Celebrate your Mom and all she gave you. dwell on the happy moments you shared with her.
Lean on others and share our strength. Know you are not alone there are many of us who are here for you, Sarah and your dad.

Knuckles said...

Thanks guys. Really...thank you.

RP said...

Matt (hugs)
I am in tears as I write this,I do not know what to say to comfort you, I am so sorry...you, Sarah, your dad all are in my prayers.Please accept my heartfelt condolences...............
take care.......

TheAlbrechtSquad said...

I am so very sorry...so very sorry...

Renee said...

We don't know each other - I just stumbled on your blog. I'm sorry about the loss of your Mama. I know the deep emptiness and ache! My Mama died after Christmas, my Daddy followed her 2 days later. It was a Notebook ending.
None of the cliche' things that people say when they don't know what to say, helps to ease the pain. My heart goes out to you and your Dad! Find your peace!

Knuckles said...

Once again, thank you for everyone's loving words.

It still hurts and like no other. Days still haven't got easier. I found myself trying to call Mom to see what's for dinner only to remember what happened.

Life is difficult to live through and it's harder without Mom. But Dad and I are living through it.

Thanks again everyone.

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