Thursday, April 2, 2009

Breaking Points

On a snowy January morning, when I was 7 years old, my mother and I were up early because I had CYO basketball practice.  Eventually my coach called to say that practiced had been cancelled due to the weather.  So, my mother seized this quiet moment when my 4 brothers and father were still asleep to tell me that my father was sick and he was not going to get better; he had Cancer.  I remember the surreal feeling later that morning when my father awoke and I knew this horrible thing about him.  He was okay for a while, even left the hospital that May to attend my Communion. But, as summer turned to fall, he became very sick.  I can remember going into his room every day after school  and reading too him- even after he stopped recognizing who we were.  Until  one November morning, a few days before Thanksgiving, one of my brothers woke me up.  I heard many voices downstairs and I immediately asked him, "did Dad die?"  He had.   In those last days before he died, my older brothers could not bring themselves to go in his room; even at 8 years old I knew, out of the 5 of us kids, I was the strong one.

About 2 years later, my Grandfather had another stroke, as my mom was a nurse, he and my Grandmother temporarily moved in with us.  We had always been so close with my mom's parents.  I used to sleep over their house every Friday night.  One day in March, I was playing down the block and I saw an ambulance zoom by.  I knew in my gut what had happened.  My Grandfather had died.   It was so awful to see my grandmother and mom in so much pain.  I remember trying to be extra good.  I guess when you are a kid, you think that will help somehow.

The following February, Valentine's Day to be exact, my 18 year old bother, who was a volunteer fireman, left for a call; a fire at a restaurant not far from where we lived.  About an hour later, the hospital called for my mom.  She left and my Grandmother and I stayed behind.  About and hour later, I was watching the sitcom, Mr. Belvedere, and my mother walked through the back door and told me that my brother had died.  I remember it seemed that world had temporarily stopped, everything had gone silent.  But, as soon as I recovered, I ran upstairs to be with my mom and see if I could help.  I remember when I got back to school after the funeral and everything, my teachers remarked about how brave an strong I was.  I guess even then I knew I did not have any choice. 

After this, my grandmother moved in permanently with us.  It was so nice; it was like having a 2nd parent back in the house.  When I was a Jr. in high school, my grandmother got sick.  I quit sports and my after school job so that I could relieve my mom's cousin who stayed with my grandmother all day.  I would sit with my grandmother all afternoon until my mom came home from work.  As things got worse, I remember my brothers could no longer enter her room.  While I would lift her to try to get her to the bathroom, they dealt by trying to avoid.  That July, my grandmother died.  I helped my mother pick out a casket, her clothing and the readings at her funeral.  I tried to be strong.

In April of 2006, 3 years ago, my beautiful mother was diagnosed with cancer.  I sat with her in the doctor's office when he delivered the news.  She was to start a regimen of Chemo and then eventually radiation which was to stop the cancer and then she would have surgery to remove the mass.  The chemo was so rough on her, I spent almost every day at her house, sitting on the bathroom floor with her, rubbing her back as she threw up from the chemo.  Her radiation treatments fell over my summer break.  I drove the 40 minutes to her house,  everyday, for a month and a half, to take her to her radiation treatments.  I stayed with her afterwards and watched TV and read magazines.  On October 20, she was to have a major surgery that would remove the mass from her esophagus and stomach.  It was an involved surgery that would take a few hours.  After 45 minutes, the Dr. came out.  I knew that was not good.  He said the cancer had spread all over her stomach, there was nothing more they could do.  I asked how long she had left, he told me 6 months.  I remember locking myself in the bathroom and sobbing.  But, I knew I had to get myself together .  I did and we went up to wait in her hospital room.  When they wheeled my mother in, she looked confused.  She said to me, " I looked at the clock, the surgery can't be over already, what happened?"  They had not told her yet.  So, I was the one to tell my mother that she was going to die.  

     She did not last 6 months.  I came up to see her the day I got out for Christmas break, she was in such terrible shape.  I rode with her in the ambulance and we spent Christmas in the hospital. By early January, it was clear the end was near.  We had already talked about her wishes, so I contacted the funeral home, went there, picked out her casket and planned my mother's wake.  During her final days, we held hands, prayed a lot, and talked about so many things.  On Friday, January 12, 2006, While at school, I got called to the office for a phone call.  A phone call I knew was coming.  They told me my mom was really failing and that I should get there as soon as I could .  I raced back to my classroom, told my kids I had to leave and I left.  I got to spend mom mom' s last hours with her; I was rubbing her back when she finally died later that evening.    The next day, I packed her clothes for the funeral home, gathered pictures to make collages for the wake.  Two days later, I gave my mother's Eulogy and then buried her.

After the funeral, everyone ccommented on  how strong I was.  My brothers even joked that it was amazing that I was the younger sister.  The next year was so hard.  But somehow I managed to get stronger, to move on.  It took a long time to wrap my head around being 33 with no living parents.  but I did, I got through it.  In the early days after my mom's death, I often wondered if I had reached my breaking point.  It was almost like I kept waiting for that to happen. But, I was able to move forward.

Yesterday, when I went for my first ultrasound and there was nothing to be found, I felt like I was going to die.  After 3 painful years dealing with countless procedures and appointments and a  M/C in August, it all came crashing down.  We had 8 blissful days of finally thinking we  were pregnant; of thinking that I was finally going to have a whole family again. But, there was only more loss.  

I did two things I never do.  I called in sick today and I have wept uncontrollably since yesterday afternoon.  I know I am the strong one, but I have nothing left.  I am tired of trying to get through and get over all of the curve balls life has thrown at me.  I simply do not understand why God has chosen this life for me.  I am just exhausted.  And, after all of these years, I think I may have finally reached my breaking point.  

11 comments:

MJ said...

I am crying as I read your blog today. You are a strong one, and even though I don't know you IRL, I know you will get through this. I can't say anything to make it better, nor should I. You need to grieve and you should take all the time you need to do so. Know that there are so many people out there praying for you each and every day.

((HUGS))

~Meghan

skychick said...

I am sending you a HUGE hug because I can not make all of your pain go away.

ladyred said...

Kelly... you have me in tears. You have to understand that you are a very, very strong woman. Believe it! But, don't ever be afraid, nervous or embarrassed to let it all out either. We are human, and that is our way. Take all the time you need to grieve, and know that your baby is with all of your loved ones watching over and protecting you. God does have a wonderful plan for you. Lots of hugs to you.

Hopeful34 said...

Smilee I am so sorry for ALL of your losses. My heart is just breaking for you. I wish there was something I could do to take your pain away. You deserve good things in life and I can only pray to god to help you get through yet another hard time and to be strong even though it is hard to be. I am praying for a miracle for you & your dh. Much love.

Kristen said...

I have a stream of tears running down my face. I wish I had the words or the know-how to make things even remotely better, but I don't. You are such an incredible woman. You have endured a lifetime of hurt in such few years. You are strong, and even the strong break down. That does not make you weak by ANY means, if anything it just shows how you are human and hurting. I wish you and your husband time to grieve and time to heal. And of course, if you ever need a friend I'm here.

kim said...

Oh man. I am bawling. Kelly, you have been through so much. Nobody should suffer the amount of loss you have. It just isn't fair. I am so, so sorry. You are an amazingly strong person, and it's totally OK to surrender to your grief when it gets overwhelming. I wish I lived near you so I could give you a great big hug.

stacey said...

Kelly-I had no idea of everything you have been through. You ARE strong. You have to be, to deal with/work through those horrible situations. Please don't forgot that. There's a reason why you are still going...you will be a GREAT mom...and your child/ren will be so lucky to have you.

theworms said...

I'm so sorry for everything you have endured. I have no clue why good people get dealt so much pain. For now you need to feel the pain, cry, scream, breakdown, whatever and because you are strong you will get through it and one day you will hold your baby in those strong arms.
We're here for you no matter what and prayers and (((HUGS))) coming your way.

jkt said...

Kelly, I can't imagine everything you have been through. Even though I don't "know" you, I can honestly say you are one of the strongest people I know. Your strength simply amazes me. We can all help you be strong during this super hard time... you don't have to do it alone. Lots and lots of hugs to you. (jmkatz)

Baby B said...

Wow, I knew some of this stuff but certainly not all and I already thought you have been through enough and it is your turn-- now that feels like the understatement of the year. I wish there was something I could do for you to make your pain go away. I'm not sure why you are being tested like this but I do know that when you get to be a mom (and you will!) you are going to be one of the best. Hang in there!!
Susan

Jessica said...

Wow! I don't think I know anyone who has gone through as much pain as you have in such a short time. Your story really helps me to put my life into perspective. It sounds like everyone in your life has been correct...you are a very strong person. I will keep you in my prayers. You really do deserve a healthy baby.