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A Pearl of Thanks

WARNING: Tearjerker

It’s the night before, and so much to be thankful for, already✨✨✨ Starting with; we are side by side cooking, we are in love, and we actually LOVE being together❤️ especially after spending over 2 weeks apart, on 2 different continents😩 We are home, we are reunited, and we have our cranberry and our stuffing ready for tomorrow.

Tomorrow won’t necessarily be an easy day. 2018 will be the last Thanksgiving with my mom before she leaves us. May she finally be at peace.

A few days ago the hospice nurse explained she was beginning to ”transition”. This is the nice, polite way of saying she is about to ...sorry I can’t write it, nope, not yet, cannot do it! I know what they mean, but I cannot say/write the words. Not yet. Tomorrow Simon and and I will spend the morning with her. She may not know we are there, she will definitely not be aware it’s Thanksgiving.

Then we are blessed to have an afternoon dinner with our friends, including my goddaughter 💕💕This will undoubtedly be full of joy and laughter. #Thankful Then we we will go back and sit with my mom after dinner. I am trying to be with her as much as possible. I am so lucky to have married a man who will hold my hand as I hold my mom’s hand.

Last Christmas, I knew in my heart it would be her last Christmas. So, I enrolled my new (at the time) husband in giving my mom a real Christmas. One that, if she could remember (she has dementia, new memories are gone within seconds) she would love. We broke her out of her facility- or signed her out. I was trained in how to administer all her meds 👩‍⚕️ She spent the night with Simon the kids and I. We had dinner at a restaurant on Christmas Eve. She would order and then forgot: so eventually I ordered her all the things I knew she would love. Lamb chops! Dessert! A baked cheese starter course. We opened English poppers filled with silly gold crowns and gifts . All of us, Simon, Madison, Mckenzie, Max, my mom and I wore our 👑’s throughout dinner. Mom, forgetting she was wearing one, would continually look at one or all of us confused, and say “why are you wearing that ugly thing on your head?” I would show her hers and we would laugh. Wash- & repeat that scenario 5 mins later.

After dinner we all went home. Sat in the living room in front of the fireplace and opened our holiday gifts. We played Apples to Apples. Mom would get confused throughout the night, but she did laugh and engage as best as she could. I think she even won a round 🤔 The next morning the kids left to be with their mom. Simon went for a surf and Mom and I cooked. Now this wasn’t the mother-daughter cooking of yesteryear - I was afraid to give her a knife (smart move!) and she was in a wheelchair which made many tasks near impossible. But she was there, we were in the kitchen together, a place she always loved to be. Simon came home- he finished the cooking 🙏🏻 Mom and I sat outside, it was a beautiful warm Californian Christmas morning. We eat cheese and crackers. I asked questions about her childhood. She would tell me stories from her youth. Why oh why did I not record that time together 😩😩😩😩😩 We ate super and watched movies. When it was time to take her home, she didn’t want to go. It reminded me of all the times I didn’t want to go when I was having a good time as a little girl. At these occurrences my mom wouldn’t yell at me, she was always gentle, yet firm and eventually we would go home. I took the same approach with her then. Yet, sitting here now writing this I regret not having her stay another night. One more night. It was so hard for me, for us. She was not easy. She would act out, say mean and nasty things (it was the disease, but it still hurt). She would cry and get angry. She couldn’t fully move herself so I would have to change and clean her anytime she went to the bathroom. She would scream bloody murder at me every time we attempted to do this. My girlfriend has a 19 month old who goes into a full melt down when she changes his diaper. Same thing, but my mom is 76 and 200lbs. 24 hours was about all I could handle. I wish I could have been strong enough to have given her, given us, one more night. How I would love one more night, a story she may have shared, a joke she may have made, a loving word or look she may have given. What I wouldn’t give for one more night.

After we took her home I cried most of the night. I was exhausted emotionally, I knew it was her last Christmas. I hated seeing my mom like this, it wasn’t right, it isn’t fair.

Tomorrow I know will be our last Thanksgiving together. It will just be Simon, my mom and I. I am so thankful she got to know him before...before she fully transitions. She loved him, I know she was thankful for him. She never wanted me to settle, to be married for the sake of being married. Or to let someone take care of me, for the sake of being taken care of. She wanted me to be with someone who deserved me. Who was smart. Who was a kind person, but above all else was kind, loving & generous to me. She knows I found him. I am thankful that Simon and I will lay our head on the same pillow. and if the tears come he will be there to hug them away 😴 ❤️

I am also thankful for tomorrow we get one more night with my mom. I now record each time I am with my mom. Most of which I will never want to hear again and relive, but every once in awhile there is a pearl. An “I love you honey”, or a “Juliet hold my hand”. I savor each one of these and am stringing then together for my memories.

Have a wonderful, love filled thanksgiving. Love your mom a little extra this year. You to can start gathering your pearls, anytime you want.

UPDATE as of 12/7/18: Juliet's mom, Barbara is still with us. She remains unresponsive in hospice care and is expected to transition soon.

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