No! Not Now, I’m Not Ready Yet!

Hands of Strength

You know how life is, you get busy doing the day to day stuff, dishes, bill paying, laundry, etc and somehow the days just roll by, one fading into another like the blur of an oasis in the distance. Logically, you know the people you love the most will not always be there, logically, you know everyone has to die at some point. You just don’t think now is the time you will be forced to deal with this brutal reality. That is, until the phone rings one day, and time stops.

Time stopped for me at 5:32 on February 9th. I was just pulling into the church parking lot to drop of my youngest for church school when Dad called and I answered. “Hey Dad, how are you? “ I cheerfully asked as I maneuvered my SUV into the parking spot.

“Not good, we’ve had some health issues here today…” That was about all I heard before my ears started ringing, my head started pounding, and my stomach started churning.

Mom was sick; they’d visited doctors, then hospitals, then a heart cath procedure……

All I could think was “this is moving so fast, make it stop.”

Soon, another call. Ring, ring, “Hi Dad, what were the results?” I heard myself ask, sounding like I was in a long tunnel.

“She will have a triple bypass in the morning.” Dad managed to say.

Next thing I knew, I was on a plane heading to Texas as fast as I could get there. It was a nightmare of a trip, late to the airport, held up in security, running to the gate miles away, barely making the plane, sitting next to a young family with two babies both with double ear infections, no rental cars available, no hotels available….. A nightmare, and yet God blessed me with angels along the way. First, an angel at the airport check in that let me go to security even though I was too late to check my bag, an angel at the rental car place who found the manager, who found a car, the shuttle driver who found me a hotel at 12:30 am etc etc.

All my life I have been taught by my mom to trust in the Lord. I have learned to trust in God, HE will provide, even when it feels like there is no solution, HE will provide.

I made it to Texas in time to hear the really bad news. The surgeon said the surgery needed to be done again. Then the doctor said she seems to have had a stroke, she needs the ventilator and the heart machine. Time will tell.

It has now been 17 days, she lies in ICU with tubes and machines helping her make it through another day. One day we are up, things seem better, the next, we are down, another complication. Fear lies in every breathe we take, what if this happens… what if this doesn’t happen… will we have to make a decision…After so many days of this you start to go numb. Your body moves on autopilot and you start to lose track of time, you can’t remember what day it is or when you last talked to your husband.

One moment, I am at peace with letting her go, I know she does not want to live if she is only kept alive by a machine, but other days I am reduced to tears when I realize I can’t call her and talk to her today, or any other day. My moods shift like the wind, sometimes I am strong, sometimes I am so weak I can’t look at her. It pains me to see her lying so weak in a bed that makes her look like a small child. It feels like she is here with me, and yet it feels like she is already gone, just a memory.

All I can really think about is all that she has taught me. I recently told a long time dear friend of hers, that the greatest thing she ever gave me was the gift of teaching me how to be a good mother. That is what it all boils down to, my mom taught me how to be a great mother. Somehow that gives me strength and hope. I want to curl up like a child and rest my head on her lap like I used to do, I want her to make it all better, but I know that can’t be. I know what I have to do because she taught me. I have to be strong, I have to help hold up Dad. I have to ask questions and make phone calls to relatives far away. I have to be a mom to my own children and reassure them that even though things are not ok, they are ok.

I am not ready to get the next phone call. I fear for it, I worry about it at night, I pray for it. I am not ready, not now, not yet. I don’t want to say goodbye to my mother.

I wrote about this before, one of my bucketlist items is to be stronger than I ever thought I could be. I have been tested before, and as much as I hurt at the time, I was able to do what I had to do. I have been taught by the best mother in the world how to be strong, how to love and how to let go. I am afraid I am being tested again.

So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list?”

I am dedicating my bucketlist to my mom, a true adventurist at heart, and the inspiration for my life.

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  1. Jackie –
    You were already a strong person, you just didn’t know it. You’re Mom has been rewarded ten fold watching you raise your children and being a great Mother to them and watching you grown into the strong woman she raised. My heart and prayers are with your family as you deal with all that is happening. Know that you are loved by many and that your strength and faith will help carry you.
    Love you all!

  2. Jackie, you made me cry. So nicely put. Y’all are in my thoughts and have been thru this whole thing. Love the blog page! Thanks for making us think outside the box!

    • Bucketlistblogger says:

      Kathleen, I guess I have always colored outside the lines a bit, so thinking outside the box just comes naturally! Thanks for the support and encouragement. Glad to hear you love the blog, keep coming back!

  3. Kellie Classen says:

    Wow Aunt Jackie, this is beautiful. You are so strong in your faith and are such an inspiration to me. You have taught me how to be a good mother (someday!!) as well. I’ve been praying for you and our family. I love you so much!

    • Bucketlistblogger says:

      Oh Kellie, you just do what you have to do in these kinds of situations but I appreciate the love you are sending our way.

  4. Wow…I don’t know you and that post just touched my heart. Tonight my prayers are with you.

    ….and…RIDE THE BULL!!!!

    • Bucketlistblogger says:

      Annette, I think that is what is fun about today’s technology and all, we can make new friends from near and far. But it is when those new friends offer love and support during hard times that I end up blown away. Thank you for your prayers.

  5. sara hageman says:

    Very well put Jackie! I agree with Vickie… have to ride the bull for your Mom

  6. Marilyn Svoboda says:

    One of the many things that I have always admired Sheila and her family is their ability to write….many of us personally feel those wonderful words you have captured on paper…cudos! She is indeed a wonderful mother, friend, co-worker, wife, etc, etc…her list is endless. Thank you for sharing. You and yours are on my mind and in my heart numerous times each and every day….Hugs to all!

    • Bucketlistblogger says:

      Thank you so much Marilyn, what kind words! I know my Mom has always considered you a treasured friend!

  7. vicki creigh says:

    I don’t think you could have said that any better. You know you HAVE to ride a bull now, for her, because she never got to.