Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Me and Roger have spent a few weekends duck hunting. It is something I had never done, but I had a lot of fun. I haven't gotten to the point of actually hunting yet, but going is really fun. Hopefully Zeus will pick up on his role!

Christmas was nice. We got up and ate fried duck with buscuits and apple butter! YUM! I got a shot fun for Christmas, so we played out in the yard with that! It was a fun quiet time (other than the bang bang, of course!)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Holiday Season

This picture was Thanksgiving/Christmas last year. My mom looked radiant. You wouldn't even know she was so sick!

It's the season known as "The Holidays." This is a season that tends to make us all nostalgic and whimsical. Families get together, for either a peaceful traditional meal, or a crazy memorable one. Over the years, my family has experienced both. My step dad was a bit of an alcoholic, and the holidays did not tend to bring out the best in him. We had a good many crazy memorable holidays that we would probably just forget.

After he passed away in 2005, we started a new tradition. My sister, brothers and I all spent Thanksgiving with my mom. The 4 of us together on a holiday with my mom had been a rare occurance over the years.

We combined Thanksgiving and Christmas. My mom pulled out the Christmas tree for the kids to decorate. Most of the ornaments were on the bottom half of the tree. The only went as high as little fingers could reach, but we didn't care. Our goal was a peaceful, no rules holiday. Decorating the tree was the fun part for the kids, who cared what it looked like. We ate our traditional Thanksgiving turkey and dressing meal on Thanksgiving day.

After eating and cleaning up, we gathered around the Christmas tree and opened gifts! Of course, my mom got everybody calenders for the next year. We opened them a the same time, and joked about not knowing what was in the gift. She always gave herself one too! The morning after, we woke up and Mama cooked "Monkey Bread." This was a treat that was reserved only for Christmas morning. Biscuit dough cut up and thrown into a round bundt pan, drizzled with cinnamon, sugar and butter, and baked until it was an ooey gooey mess.

Last year, we continued with our tradition, knowing what the future would bring, but not knowing exactly when. My mother, who had been given a 3-6 month life expectancy in October was frail and worn out from Chemotherapy. She was on a constant supply of oxygen, and was having difficulty making it to the kitchen and back. I strategically placed chairs throughout the house for her to sit and catch her breath.

She was not scheduled to have a chemo treatment that week, so we were hopeful that she could withstand the holidays. Unfortunately, the week before Thanksgiving, her blood counts were so bad, she could not get a treatment and her rescheduled treatment was for Wednesday before Thanksgiving. She just gritted her death and said, "Let's do what we gotta do." However, generally the treatments left her so sick and weak, she basically slept for two or three days. We were both afraid that would happen, but didn't mention it.

After she had her treatment Wednesday morning, she insisted that we load up the wheel chair and go to the grocery store. I offered to just go alone and let her rest, but she insisted on going. When everybody got there on Thanksgiving, she looked absolutely radiant. She cooked the entire meal, helped decorate the tree and opened presents. What a gift from God! We all knew that was the last holiday we would have with her, but had low expecations. God gave her the strength and she was able to participate. The day after everybody left, she got very sick from the treatment, and slept for three days. It was amazing how it didn't affect our holiday! The weeks before our celebration, on her good days and bad, she insisted that I take her to Dandy doodles where she painted everyone a special piece of pottery. She also made Christmast ornaments for everybody with whatever nickname she had for us. We also all 4 got matching thumb rings, engraved with "Love and Peace." She told us that she thought those were the 2 most important words, and even if we didn't wear them to just keep them and know she loved us dearly.
December 10, 2007 (My Grandmother's 84 birthday), my grandmother was visiting. My Mom had been very weak. She was having trouble eating and mostly slept. She and my grandmother were spending some much needed alone time, while I ran to Walmart. My grandmother called in a panic, saying something had happened to my mom. They were talking, and my mom just passed out and was completely not responsive. I called 911, and drove as fast as I could home to meet the ambulance.
I will spare all the details, but my mom spent the next 13 days in the Tupelo hospital. She spent most of that time, under heavy sedation. She came out of it for 1 day. That day, she woke up thinking and feeling like the whole cancer experience had been a dream. She laughed and talked with everybody. She told us to go get her a burger from Wendy's. She was able to eat it. It was another one of those blessings that didn't make sense, but we were grateful for it. When we told her she had ridden in the ambulance twice, she said "Damn, I hate I don't remember that. I have always wanted to ride in an ambulance." My mom had such an amazing sense of humor!
I took her home on December 23 to spend Christmas. She spent the following week in and out of conciousness. My Uncle came from Kansas for a visit. They had a nice time. She was so worried about giving people from the church Christmas gifts because they had done so much for her. She wanted to make a pineapple and cheese casserole for a number of people. I went to the store and got all the stuff. When I got home, she was too weak to get out of bed. I made 9 casseroles, and called the people asking them to come by. My mom got to give them their casseroles, which was really important to her. In her final hours, she was so concerned with blessing other people. She was just an extraordinary human being! I try to be that good, but it's virtually impossible.
Christmas was spent sitting with her while she slept. I watched dvds, and did sudoku puzzles. We enjoyed the visits from the home health nurses. On December 30, my mom told me that it wouldn't be much longer and that when the time came not to try to keep her here by hoping or praying. (This conversation was discussed in a prior blog). Our home health nurse that day was amazing. She had actually worked in hospice for several years, and was able to guide us through the night. She was only going to stay for a few hours, but ended up staying the entire night with me. It was a major comfort.
On December 31, 2007, my mom passed away peacefully! Me and my sister were with her.
I have missed her so much this past year, but am so very grateful for the rich blessings, she brought with her life.
This holiday season has been different. My sisters, brother and I all got together to celebrate. We combined Thanksgiving and Christmas, on a weekend that worked for all of us. I spent Thanksgiving with Roger's family, and will spend a quiet Christmas with Roger and our dog. This is a year of change. Hopefully, it is a year that will set up some traditions for years to come.
I have so many things to be grateful for. I will have to write a whole other blog for my gratitude list. But, the biggest thing I am grateful for is my friends and family. This year has proven to be difficult for me. Losing my mom was the biggest bump, breaking my arm was bad too. My friends never gave up on me, even while I struggled. They sat through my surgery, drove me around, cleaned my house, scooped cat litter and just were generally supportive! And, Roger, well he gave me a chance even when I was not easy. Somehow, I found the love of my life when I was in my hardest, darkest hour. I am grateful for his love and support! My mom told me that if she could hand pick sombody for me, it would be him. She called him "The finest man she knew." I would have to agree with that.
So, as you get together with your families this year, enjoy it! It doesn't matter if you have a crazy, dramatic holiday full of drama and memories, or just a quiet one at home. I know it sounds cheesy, but be grateful for whatever holiday you have with your family!

I snagged this nifty little survey off of Emily Hanson's blog. It is something to pass the time for slackers like me with nothing better to do than ramble about yourself! I have not too well on keeping up with this blogging thing. I will update with things other than just random facts, soon!

  • Whats your middle name?

  • How big is your bed?


  • What are you listening to right now?

The dog snoring

  • What are the last 4 digits in your cell phone number?

5693, which spells JOYE

  • What was the last thing you ate?

venison burgers last night

  • Last person you hugged?

Rog, when he left for work

  • How is the weather right now?

yucky: cold and rainy

  • Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?


  • What is the first thing you notice in the opposite sex?


  • Favorite type of food?


  • Do you want children?


  • Do you drink?


  • Hair color?


  • Eye color?

Bluish Green

  • Do you wear contacts/glasses?


  • Favorite holiday?

Christmas usually, but this year Christmas is hard!

  • Favorite Season?


  • Are you in a relationship?

I am in the BEST relationship!

  • Last Movie you watched?

Mission Impossible 3 was on tv last night.

  • What books are you reading?

Actually, I am not reading a book right now. I read "Marley and Me" last week. It was sweet.

  • Piercings?

Just my ears.

  • Favorite Movie?

I really don't think I can narrow it down to just one favorite movie. I like ALL movies!

  • Favorite college football team?

MSU, even if we suck right now.

  • What were you doing before filling this out?


  • Any pets?

Zeus, Chonga, Oliver and New Kitty!

  • Dogs or cats?

1 dog, 3 cats! I want another dog, but Roger won't let me get one. Aparently Zeus is full of himself and enough!

  • Favorite Flower?

Gerbera daisy

  • Who would you like to see right now?

My mom, no question.

  • Have you ever fired a gun?

Yea, and Roger is SUPPOSED to teach me to shoot good, when duck season is over.

  • Do you like to travel by plane?

It doesn't bother me. I wouldn't say I just love it.

  • Right-handed or Left-handed?


  • If you could go to any place rightnow where would you go?

To the mountains

  • Are you missing someone?

My mom.

  • Do you have a tattoo?

No, I have always felt too indecisive for that. I know I would immedietly regret it.

  • Do you still watch cartoons on Saturday mornings?

No, I didn't even watch cartoons as a kid. I have, however, watched more than my fair share this past semester. I know all the Wonder Pets, Backyardigans, and Dora songs that any adult needs to know.

  • Are you hiding something from someone?


  • What is the wallpaper on your cellphone?

A picture of the dog, of course.

  • Did you get enough sleep last night?

No, I was not feeling so swell!

  • First thing you thought about this morning?

Shopping with Mary Esther

  • What do you have on your bedside?

contact solution and some candle things

  • Grilled or fried

grilled fish, fried chicken....if that is what that strange question was asking.

  • What makes you unique?

I am just me....Joy E.

  • Are you afraid of the dark?

I am not really afraid of much of anything.

  • Favorite hangout?

With my peoples!

  • Favorite song?

Again, can we narrow things down to one song? I don't even have a favorite type of music. I love it all.

  • Are you a giver or a taker?


  • What are your nicknames?

My mom called me "Priss" which was becuase I have never been prissy and sweet. Also, Joyous, Joyful...all those kind of Joy names

  • What is your dad's middle name?


  • What is your mom's middle name?


Friday, August 15, 2008

The Beach

Well, we went to the beach last week. Me, Roger and Zeus. It was fantastic! Getting away for a few days and just relaxing was really good for me. Things have been and are so hectic the past year, I really enjoyed just sitting without a to do list. Zeus had an absolute blast chasing the waves and sand fleas. During the day he had to stay on his leash because he got so excited around all the new people. Believe it or not, not everybody loves my dog as much as me...ha ha. We took him out at night and let him run crazy and it was hilarious!! Roger cooked lots of good food of course! One of the night a couple friend of his and their son came and ate with us, which was nice. We went out on their boat the next day for a few hours and than had lunch before they left. I really enjoyed meeting them.

I have been keeping mackenzie this week while Mary Esther has been in DC. It has been quite an adventure having a two year old added to my already zoo like house. It's difficult to keep things spotless since the realtors can call at any moment. It has been slightly stressful at times, but I have enjoyed it. Ha ha, it does give me even more respect for Mary Esther, and affirms the ideas that I don't think i want 24 hour 7 day kids!!

I am toying with the idea of grad school so that I can be an elementary ed teacher. Which, with a Master's degree, I could teach for a while and later possibly pursue an administrative position such as a principal position. I have not really decided just yet, but have gotten some materials to sift through.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My Life Right Now

My Life Right Now
"Always remember that no experience in your life
has the power to "ruin" it. Every experience can only change or reshape it. Embrace and face that change without fear and grow. Be at peace, always." ~My Mom, December 2007~

This was the last conversation that I had with my mom...or that she had with me. Over the past 6 months I have had to remind myself of that constantly.

It does however seem that my life is now starting to semi fall into place. July 23, my mom's estate finally closed. Ironically this was exactly one year from the day that they told her she was sick again. Her birthday was July 21 which was fairly hard, but I reminded myself that it was just one day and she is celebrating the true gift of life right now in heaven.

I have an absolutely amazing boyfriend. He has been so supportive during the past several months through all of my ups and downs and my ski accident. He has been a tremendous source and of friendship and support through all of this, and now is a wonderful boyfriend!! I have never met someone as grounded and patient as he is. And ironically, my mom knew him and told me a long time ago that if she got to hand pick one person for me, it would be him. Ha ha, I wish she was here now to see!! She would be pleased!!
I (which really means "we" since Rog loves the dog as much as me) just got a new puppy who is great. I feel like the love of the puppy and the focus on him has really helped me. He is only 11 weeks old and weighs 27 pounds. (Mackenzie weighs about 28 if that puts it into perspective). He is a black lab and will most definately be swimming in very cold water retrieving ducks. Again, my mom would find this very fun since, although most people here dont know this, she herself used to be quite a duck hunter. Duck season was her favorite season. She and my Dad had this really keyed up duck blind with speakers that blaired out the duck calls. She was different with Gary, but that's ok. She would probably still be proud of my new duck dog!!!
Although, I graduated from MSU with my PR degree.....finally, I have not gotten a full time job yet and do not plan on looking until around December or so. I dont think that I am emotionally ready to tackle a real job yet. I am going to keep working at the Y coaching gymnastics which I love and than I will keep Mackenzie while Mary Esther does nursing school. I am so grateful that I get this opportunity, because I love that little girl and I know this opportunity will never come up again, and I wont get this time back with her.
Jay is going to MSU in the fall. He is extremely excited. I am so proud for him and of him. We have our bumpy moments, but overall things are pretty good. I know that if he puts his mind to it, he will be so successful in life. He is an undeclared major right now, but is leaning toward sociolgy and psychology (double major). He really feels like he has the experience and compassion to really reach out and help alcoholics and drug addicts and wants to pursue the knoweledge that education can bring. Ironically again, when he got clean my mom said "If Jay will ever admit and realize it, he would be one of the best D and A (Drug and Alcohol) counselors out there." Ha Ha, I dont even know if she ever told him that, but I think he is realizing it. Funny, how we remember little things in life after the fact. I am proud of my brother and hope that he continues to stay focused and do well in life.
I have a relator coming to my house on Friday to do a walk through and give some suggestions. I am ready to put the house on the market. There is a little bit of work to be done, but I am ready to move on. This was my childhood home, and has a lot of memories, but it is just too big for one person with the house, the acres, the pool and the pool house. So if you know anybody looking for a 3 bedroom 2 bath house with an inground pool and pool house, let me know! Wish me luck!
I guess that's what's going on with me for right now. It has been a bumpy bumpy year, but I made it and will c ontinue to make it. This experience has sucked in a whole lot of ways, but it has in no way ruined my life, it has only changed and reshaped it. As hard as that is, I have faced it, although fearful at times, and I have made it. Now that the estate has closed, I feel like it is time to grieve for my mom in a healthy way without the burden of laywers and bank accounts.
Overall, life is pretty damn good!!