Saturday, March 24, 2007

LOTS of Baking and some writing. . .

Between last night and all day today I have baked 8 full sized cheesecakes (with my "famous" pecan crust), 14 mini cheesecakes, 30 star (baked in Reynolds shaped foil pans) shaped M and M brownies, 6 full sized loaves of Pecan Pound Cake, 6 mini pecan pound cakes, 1 cookie pizza, and one HUGE homemade Chocolate Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese frosting, all for the churches youth group fundraiser tomorrow. I may do more when I come home tomorrow from church before the Coffee House Fundraiser. I am tired, but mostly feel good.
Here is some stuff I have written to try to process my moms death. . .
For the most part I like living in Missouri, even though it is 1200 miles away from my family. That is until my mom was diagnosed with cancer. Did I miss the family the previous 12 years? Yes, but there was always "time" and there were visits, however infrequent they were. I did talk to my mom at least a few times a week, but usually every day. There was not much I could do about being so far away. With a large family it is not very easy to just up and move. Especially when the cost of living is so much different. I did talk to my husband about pulling the kids out of school and temporarily moving to Maryland if I thought there was a way to help my mom and if she needed it. But that time never came. She tolerated her treatments very well and then I got the "call" to come because the end was very near. It was all way too fast! Yes, she had been sick for over a year but things seemed to be looking up. I had just been to visit her 2 weeks before she passed away. I am very grateful for that visit. But at the time if anyone asked me if I thought my mom would be gone in 2 weeks, I would have said no. She was doing great! The weekend I was there she baked about 5 batches of pound cakes to take to people. She took one to her radiologists office and even made some for the construction workers who were out in front of her house working on a drainage ditch. I am still amazed at her stamina and strength. My brother who lives in Florida came to visit her the following weekend. Neither one of us thought we would be there again so soon for her death.The whole time I was riding in our van to Maryland, I was torn between wanting my husband to somehow go faster so that we could be there NOW, to wanting to go just as fast in the other direction. Maybe if I did not go she would not die. Crazy I know, but that is what I was thinking. I still don't know how I made it into the hospital room in one piece. It was like a bad dream. When we were getting closer to the hospital, the same hospital that my first 2 children were born in, I felt like the first thing I was going to do when I got out of the van was to throw up! Some how I did not, I made my way into the hospital and was met by my oldest sister in the lobby (she had been coming to the lobby looking for me every few minutes because we had called to say we were close). We hugged as we were walking to the elevator. Neither one of us wanted to delay my seeing my mom, thats how close we all thought she was to death. As we got off of the elevator I saw literally dozens of my family members, my moms co workers, family friends, as well as people who I did not know (at the time, I would meet them all over the next few days.). It was surreal, as they all seemed to part and make room for me to go into the room. I hugged my dad who was just outside my moms hopital room and I know I said something, I just dont remember what it was. No one else tried to talk to me or anything and as I entered my moms room everyone left so that I could have private time with my mom. My brothers and sisters (I am one of 6) all hugged me on the way out. My aunt told me later that week that I looked like a ghost as I entered my moms room. I spent a few minutes talking and hugging my mom although she was not responsive at the time. Then my husband and kids came in as did my younger sister (when she got married 2 years ago my parents finished their basement into a seperate apartment and she and her husband live there so she was my moms caretaker along with my dad). There was a certain thing that my sister did to rouse my mom and she did this as the kids talked to my mom. She responded to the first 2 of my kids verbally and looked at them. My oldest, a 13 year old girl, had the hardest time and was reluctant to go up to my mom. She finally did and talked to her and said her goodbyes. One of my cousins comforted her in the hallway afterward. I don't know how long it had been, but the kids and my husband left and went to eat (we had not eaten in a LONG time because we had been driving in a blizzard) and then to stay at my mother in laws. I went home that night to my moms house and since my clothes were in my van in a repair shop in West Virginia, I slept in my moms pjs and in her bed since 2 of my brothers were also staying at her house that night. My dad stayed at the hospital. I washed my clothes and put the same ones back on the next morning. We all went back to the hospital. We stayed there all day. It was my daughters 10th birthday. She and the rest of the kids were with my husband still at my MIL's house. I thought it best that they not hang around the hospital and I also thought that I needed the time to focus on myself not them. That night we left the hospital reluctantly. We all had a sense that she would pass while we were gone for the night. My dad stayed the night. He climbed into the bed with her as he had for the previous nights at the hospital. He said they had some times of clarity and conversation. I am sorry that I missed that, but very glad that he experienced it. That was my biggest fear, that he would miss her last moments. I am glad that he had that private time with her. That night I was going to sleep in my moms bed again, but I never made it there. I was watching a movie in the living room. My oldest brother was on the fold out couch and I was in the recliner. He fell asleep, but I was watching the movie, I had never seen it all (Enemy of the State with Will Smith). Not long before the movie was over my 1 and 1/2 year old nephew came downstairs crying. So I scooped him up and rocked him back to sleep. I was stuck in the recliner the rest of the night! It was okay though. Just after 7 am the phone rang and I grabbed it at the same time both of my brothers did (my parents have multiple handsets and we all had one with us). My sister who stayed at the hospital that night at the request if my dad said "She's gone". We all knew it was coming, but I don't think we were ready for it. The next few days were filled with lots of decisions and stuff for the funeral.

Doing all of this baking today brings to mind my mom. During the last month in particular of her life she baked a LOT. My mother had always been a good cook and baker, but she used that gift during the last part of her life to reach out to others. She baked a lot of pound cakes and shared them with various people. When I came to visit her for a long weekend in January, just 2 weeks before she passed away, she made 3 batches of her famous pecan pound cake. One bundt cake was prepared for her radiologists office. Her radiology appointments were every weekday at 6 am. On the Monday (the day I would be leaving) before her last radiology treatment which would be on Wednesday, she took the pound cake baked in her Rose shaped bundt pan for the wonderful people at her radiologists office. She figured that was a good time to take a cake so that by Wednesday, her last treatment, they would be done with her pan and she could take it home. She had also decided that her goal before she passed away was to take a cake (or some other type of baked item) to each one of her neighbors. She said before she died she wanted to knock on each and every door in her neighborhood. Sadly she never got the chance. She did however get the chance to take coffee and a pound cake to the construction workers who were installing a new drainage system in front of her house. Her house is at the end of a cul-de-sac, but it is the only house actually in the cul-de-sac. The rest is empty and will never been built on because it needs to stay "green". This was all just mere weeks before she ended up in the hospital and passed. She was such a strong woman. I am truly blessed to have had her as a mother. What an example. I am so lost without her here. I just can't believe she is not here. I know I am not the only one who feels that way. . .

2 comments:

Queen of Dysfunction said...

Uh.... I stopped reading after "pecan crust". I now have to go find a towel to control my mouth's watering.

Betsy said...

sending you a hug