This photo shows my Mom and my niece Stephie sharing a hug ... standing in my niece Amy's kitchen (Stephie's older sister) ... taken in the spring of 2012. Mom did not much like to have her photo taken so I don't have many of them. :)
Yesterday would have been my mother's 82nd birthday. Sadly, she died unexpectedly on December 2nd and so missed her celebration by about 20 days. Sniff.
Mom was a nurse all of her professional life - first earning her LPN from Berea College (now University) in the early 50's and then going back to school years later to get her RN degree from Eastern Tenessee State University (while my Dad was working as the director of new product development for Pet Milk in Johnson City, TN).
I went to her graduation from ETSU - I was really proud of her because school was not easy for my Mom, especially the various maths required to deal with patient medication and care. She worked hard to get her degree and worked for many years after that as an RN.
Mom developed an auto-immune disease in the late 90's (as many nurses do) for which she was taking prednisone (a steriod). Eventually she developed prednisone poisoning ... which complicated her life. :( If you knew her, you can tell in the photo above that her face and hands are swollen with fluid (one of the side effects of pred.). Early this summer she get some kind of intestinal infection which lingered for some time.
We don't really know what actually killed her - she was in a rehabilitation center, recovering from the gut infection and doing well, when she died one day around lunchtime. That was a shock to all of us - her family, her doctor, everyone.
As the oldest of Mom's five living children, I was named as her executor ... so I expect to learn quite a lot (that I don't particularly want to know) about legal bits and drabs. :P I don't know how long it will take to materialize the two farms she owned and all her worldly possessions ... at least a year I'm guessing.
And, of course, I am closing my quilt shop now, too. 'No rest for the weary' seems to fit here. :/ Lots of learning opportunities in my life right now. sigh.
Anyway ... I am full of things I want to share, tell, show, talk about ... but it is all going to have to dribble out in its own sweet time, on no one else's schedule. I am very slow to grieve and reserved about my feelings, usually. For the sake of history and (possibly) comeraderie, I'll try to share what I learn.
The first thing I have realized is that simple 'I'm sorry to hear that!' comments from other people actually _do_ make me feel better. Surprises me ... as the speaker of those comments, I have always felt inadequate when confronted with the emotional suffering of others in my past encounters with grief. Now I realize how much it helps to know that other people care how you are feeling. Hmm. Don't hesitate to say something to folks you know who are in pain - no matter how inane you think your comments might be. They do help - and sympathy cards do make a healing mark on the heart.