I found some of my long lost peace that night

It is Friday night, after the longest week since the last time I had the longest week... and my biggest plan is to read my new Dennis Lehane book and eat fried chicken strips.  The actual, crunchy, breaded in a bazillion carbs kind of chicken that not only hits that salty, crunchy sort of craving, but mostly just feeds the soul.  

And y'all, my soul is in its own place of hunger and confusion today, and begging to be filled.  I'll totally let you know if the chicken does the trick.  

My mom died yesterday morning when I was teaching my second class of the day.  And thanks to a work friend that stepped in for me,  I was able to see her one last time before the hospice nurse called the funeral home to come get her.  And let me just stick this little bit of my own brand of politics right on into this section... the hospice nurse was the kindest, gentlest, most patient gal - and exactly what I needed yesterday - and what my mom needed during her final hours.  And I couldn't love anyone more than I do my new friend, the Muslim, immigrant nurse from Kenya who loved on my mom when she needed it the most.  Her heart was evident, her caring glowed, and her hijab  - y'all, if I was Muslim, I would totally wear that thing.  Maybe I would wear it anyway.... It was beautiful.  But mostly?  She was beautiful.  

And thanks be to God for the care brought all the way to our family from so far away, and meant for exactly this moment in time.  "...God created you for such a time as this and he has a plan for you." (Esther 4:14) 

Tuesday night I learned that my mom had been placed on Crisis Care, which is around the clock nursing to manage pain and make the last days as easy as possible.  Fireman Dave took off work to come with me and the boys to get in one last great visit.  And it was.  

I don't even need fancy or pretty words to tell you that I found some of my long lost peace that night.  I was given the opportunity to sit with my mom alone before the first nurse arrived, and we prayed.  Well, I prayed and I like to think she heard me.  And I prayed the exact thing that I had been asking for weeks, that God take her suffering away quickly and easily and allow her to get on with some real living.  

And for me as a believer, that means that at 10:00 am Thursday morning, my mom saw my dad and my sister, and my Muh and my Granddaddy for the first time in a lifetime -  and not only saw them as she knew them here, but as her new Heavenly neighbors and world's best welcome party organizers.  

And I think that I will write about this more later as I take time to give it all some thought... but that Tuesday night when I sat with her, I held her hand as we prayed.  The first ever memory I have of holding my mom's hand has made a lasting memory for me, and now I'm trying to decide what to do with it.  And how.  And when.  

But for now, I want to read and watch a distracting crime show on Netflix, and eat comfort food till my body feels like it can function again.  

And the good news is that I know it will.  I worked today, regular schedule.  And I will keep on doing it each day till it feels normal again.  I even taught one class yesterday with the news in my heart of my mom's death, and I promise you it wasn't easy, but it was good.  

post script - I swear the good lord knows me like no other, and always finds a way to shine a light into my darkness, and a way for the Walters to leave their mark wherever we go.  Thank you Fireman Dave for turning my tears into laughter as you set off the after hours burglar alarm in the nursing home  at 11pm Tuesday night.  Thank you for waking every single patient by doing exactly what that door sign asked you not to do -  and bringing half the nursing staff running to what sounded like  a prisoner escaping a maximum security prison.  And thank you for holding the door open for us all as we made our get away run to the car on such a night as this. 

It did my heart good.   

I'm not sure how I'm going to feel

Today I walked into my fourth class and yelled something along the lines of, I've GOT to find that awful air freshener someone put in this room - to which a lady came up and told me that she had to be somewhere earlier in the day and had put on perfume. .....   So I tried to cover my loud mouth rudeness by explaining my freakishly odd chemical sensitivity and how construction has been going on in our gym for months and I think... no, I'm sure.... I'm smelling something like glue or new carpet or paint solvent - and certainly NOT her.  But I think my eyes betrayed me and she read my mind silently asking if she needed help finding the showers in the locker room.

So let me just take this opportunity to share a little gym etiquette.... Please do not ever wear perfume, cologne, strongly scented hair products or self tanner to the gym.  Because I might mistake you for a Glade Plug In and honestly, as proven today, nothing good ever comes of it.

So much has been going on.  First, the monsters are out of school for the summer, bigger and dirtier than ever, and the funny thing is that they seem to have all the strength in the world to pick up chips and salsa by the ton, but not a one of them can pick up a dish and put it in the dishwasher.  And bless him, Fireman Dave has been working for months on building the backyard boy space, and the good news is that it's almost complete.  We even moved the extra couch that was being stored in Kid 2's living room bedroom outside.  Now we need a TV, and are waiting on a pre-paid VISA card to arrive soon so we can buy one.  And no, we do not have a pre-paid VISA card fairy or even a generous  distant relative. 

Actually, we had a bazillion dollar eye doctor bill when I got a crazy allergic reaction to my contact lenses about a month ago and had to get steroid drops to make me not look like I'd been hanging around a dive bar on the south side... or something.  Anyway, I ended up having to change contact lenses and  was told that I would get a $200 rebate if I did this and this and that and that and sent in pictures to prove I did it all.  But what they didn't tell me was that it wasn't ever gonna be a cash rebate,... thus the prepaid VISA card.  Not that it makes the eye disease worth any of it, but at least the boys will have a place outside of  my den to trash and call their own.  Soon and very soon.

And did I tell y'all that we went on vacation?  We went to North Carolina to the beach again and no one would ever know I was on that trip other than for one picture of my backside taken by my sister in law.  But I was indeed there, and didn't do much more than walk from my beach chair to the water for 6 days.  We did climb a light house, 207 steps straight up and I think that should count as one full week's worth of physical activity in vacation land.

Then I came home and got ready for my big stage premier which was just a couple of days ago.  I was so happy to have been chosen to share my true tale in front of this live audience.  They were a great crowd of about 350 or so... and filled with so many sweet friends that came out to support me.  You can watch the live video of the show here.  My part starts at 1:01:25, but you should totally watch all the stories as they are a beautiful cross section of life in our big city.  There was sadness, humility, power and laughter all packed into an hour or so of storytelling magic.

Storytelling is a gift, and an art - and one I hate to see fade away into the land of short attention spans.  I've wanted to participate in this show for some time now, and trust that I prayed the heck out of that request.  Then when it happened, trust that I prayed even harder for the tools to use to fulfill the desire God had placed in my heart.  And y'all.,  He did.  I hope this gives me confidence and courage to try even more things with this gift of gab that I have been given.

Now,.... let's get personal.  I told you that my mom would be moving into a memory care facility, and a few weeks ago she did.  And honestly, it looks like she won't be with us much longer.  Hospice nurses give and take away their time estimations, .... which is fair, I suppose.  If the weather men can't quite get an exact forecast, why should any of us.  But had I not been to see her last week and seen her in her current state, I would've laughed at the suspicion that she isn't long for the world.  ...  due to my family's ability to live for-almost-ever, especially us ladies. 

But between the time when I got the surprise driveway reunion that you can read about HERE, and today, she's a different sort of gone.  And about 80 pounds lighter than she was not too long ago, her body just isn't fighting back against this brain disease.  

The hard truths are these - she doesn't know me.  Literally, now.... and figuratively for basically the whole of my life.  And the woman that I see today is an older version of the mom that I knew in body, but not the mom I knew.  So I feel like I've had to grieve the loss of my actual mom twice over now,  - when we parted ways several years ago, and again now as she is not long for this world.  

And truth be told, I'm not sure which is the hardest.  The life she's living now, all locked up in her own confused mind, and stuck in a body, crippled by age and disease, isn't really a life.  Not one that I would wish for her or anyone.  And file my words away for a day in the future if and when I ever get into such a desperately awful position - please put my tired old body in a dangerous, crime ridden back alley, and look away.  Or if you can at all think of an easier way to end the madness, do that instead.  Please.  

And I would say that the hardest thing to deal with recently has been the re-introduction of my brother into the mix of me trying to be a part of my mom's last days.  And being discreet, let me just say here that addiction, mental illness, and decades of pent up anger are never a good combination, and me being the target of all of that is sort of sucky.  I've been fielding rage, foul language rants of hate and general idiocy for weeks now, and truly having to give thought to the safety of myself and my kids again.  All I can say is that, for all the doubt that the years of not dealing with this brought to me about my decision, it afforded me that many years of peace.  And I have to say the separation was my wisest choice.  

But this is the family I was given.  He learned it all from her.  She learned it from lord only knows where.  And that's hard to say and absorb, but maybe someday I finally will.  Love in our family often hurt.  It hurt each other no matter what or when or where.  It hurt to be spoken.  It hurt to be felt.  It hurt to be vulnerable enough to ever believe that love was anything more than what I saw day in and day out at home.  

It hurt almost everyday, past a certain age, anyway.  But if I was lucky, a quiet, hateful silence would win over profanity laced, hate filled tantrums that I just accepted as my daily normal growing up.  I am still to this day, thankful for my dad, for a specific point in time, when I was with him outside while he worked on the car, and he said this to me.... the words that gave me the only chance at changing the direction of my life.  He said, We've got to get you out of here.  And no truer words were ever spoken.  My choices were to go live with my crazy aunt in California, or go to college.  I chose college, and I chose a path that would open my eyes to the idea that I can have so much better.  

So at this point I've refused calls from my brother.  I've tried to block texts but they still get in.  So I forward them to Fireman Dave as documentation, and when and if it comes to it, I will have to take legal action.  But for now, I ignore the beast and call it by name - which gives me the power to control my response.  

But I know my mom loved me.  Maybe she didn't show it in ways I think would've been easier to understand - but she did it in her own way.  I had what i needed, always - even if it came with a loud, meanie mouth upon presentation.  And I remember things being better and easier when I was much younger.  I remember selling coke cans to get money for us all to go to the latest Disney movie in the summer times.  I remember special back to school shopping days - just me and my mom, and lunch at any place I chose.  And I remember her loving on my babies like they were angels sent from Heaven.  Which proved to me that they actually, probably were.  So maybe she went through a storm of life and I just got caught in the center - without an umbrella.  I'm now praying everyone always has an extra umbrella handy.  

I'm not sure how I'm going to feel when I get the message that my mom is gone.  I know for sure that I will ache inside like I've given up the last hope of a happy ending.  And I am so dreading it.  But I know that I will be able to ask her one day in Heaven, something along the lines of,... What the heck, woman?  And it'll all be good.  

And for now, again, I find it such a small Biblical world when I run across a verse that I haven't thought of in ages, but then it pops up and right into the very middle of what's going on in my life.  Today that verse is this:  

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.   Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:6-8)

To quote Patsy Cline, I'm crazy

Hey Y'all.... popping in here to let you know that I've been playing hide and seek for a few weeks because, well..  I'm crazy.  Life's crazy.  We're all crazy.  

So this post isn't filled with wisdom or even beautiful words... but sometimes neither am I.  

The fun news is that I submitted a story to the Oral Fixation Dallas Show - a live story telling event... and I was chosen.  I was chosen to stand on stage in front of hundreds of people and scare myself to death for no  known reason... other than the fact that, again... I'm crazy.  Life's crazy.  We're all crazy.  

Here's a couple of links about the show.  One is really about the show.. and the other one is about moi, and once published, committed me to see this thru to the end.  Do or die.  I would love to see you there.  I may need lots of hugs afterward.  And a Xanax before.  Does anyone have any?  

Meet story teller, Kristi Walters

How to buy tickets to the show

And on a completely separate topic, my mother will be moving into a memory care facility this week.  I'm working the best I can along side my brother to make the transition as smooth as possible, but he has done 99% of it.  I just hung curtains.  And maybe something else.  

But that relationship is difficult and to be perfectly honest, I've insisted on text communication. I'm just not at the next level on this one, and I'm taking a close look at my own heart to see what I need to do on my end.  I could use a God to Kristi discussion on this.  And a few prayers if you can handle that part.  Please and thank you.  

I want to write more about this as I figure it out.  And y'all,  I will.  

But for today, I think I can only say that her new care facility looks very nice, and I'm hoping this next stage is a good one for us all.  We need it.  

I'll be back around soon.  

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