It’s taken me a while to write this, but on Monday, August 25, 2014, at almost exact 4 pm, this world lost a remarkable woman.  At the way too young age of 58, after eight months of fighting for her life with a ferocity that left everyone watching in awe, D’s mom decided it was time to rest.  In her last days, she taught me so much about life and love and strength.  No one loves life or their family more than this woman did, and I’m convinced that’s the only thing that kept her here this long.  When she first came home on hospice, she was given 48 to 72 hours to live, and she made it 17 days by the power of sheer will.  We were blessed to have some really good days in there.  She was awake, alert, relatively pain-free, and just as full of spunk and wit as ever.  The last several days of her life saw a steep and steady decline until she smiled and took her last breath.  She died the way she lived:  peacefully, smiling, surrounded by family.  My sister-in-law said something beautiful a couple of days ago.  “She was with us (referring to her and D) when we took our first breath, and we were with her when she took her last.”

Our last family portrait, minus my father-in-law, who took the picture.  It was taken at her request.

It was obvious by the nonstop parade of people paying their respects Wednesday night just how many people loved this woman.  People we had never even met.  We laid her to rest on Thursday after a beautiful service.  She looked positively stunning, more like herself than we’ve seen her look in months.  Several people spoke and did a fantastic job of honoring her and her legacy.  A couple of family members picked out songs that held special meaning for them or brought back special memories.  The youngest granddaughter had them play “I Won’t Say That I’m Okay” by Front Porch Step, an acoustic indie band.  Awesome song.

So now it’s about finding a new normal.  Everyone will feel her absence, but it’s going to be especially hard on her daughter and her husband of 43 years.  She and her daughter were the best of friends.  You never saw one without the other.  They did absolutely everything together, whether it was a shopping trip, a beach trip, or a trip across the country to visit their son/grandson.  It will be so hard, but we’ve all acknowledged that we just have to step up and keep doing all the things she would have wanted us to do.  We all went out to eat Saturday night as we have done as a family unit so, so, so many times before, and it just felt so strange with her not being with us.

One day at a time.

I will never remember her as the bedridden cancer patient.  That only defined the last few days of her life.  This is the beautiful, vibrant, classy woman that will forever be my mother-in-law.

With my father-in-law
With the oldest granddaughter

Taking selfies trying to get a photo for her real estate company’s web site.  haha

With her sister a couple of Christmases ago

Master Griller at work at one of our epic cookouts

With D

With my sister-in-law and me in Destin FL in my bleach blonde days

Gorgeous even when she’s sleeping

Tuesday Tidbits

  • I’m two weeks out from my next half-marathon, and I haven’t been this unprepared and undertrained for one since my first one four and a half years ago.  I guess it’s a good thing I gave up any notion of racing this one weeks ago!  I ran 9 miles yesterday, the farthest I’ve run this training cycle, and I can sum it up in two words:  shit show.  It’s so aggravating for my long runs to be so awful when my short runs are so great.  I ran 3 miles last week at a pace 7 seconds/mile faster than my previously fastest 3 miles, which was at the end of a marathon training cycle when I was in pretty damn good shape.  (And this was the first time I’ve ever run a training run with a sub-9 average!)  Go figure.
  • Less than 24 hours after posting about my new-found patience and level-headedness (relatively speaking haha), I had probably my most intense test.  I went into a “quick lube” place for an oil change and it took them TWO FREAKING HOURS to get me in and out of there.  There were only three cars ahead of me, and it’s not like there was anything going wrong… I could see them just moving at a snail’s pace!  The ol’ patience was wearing a bit thin!!!
  • I just ordered some new running shoes.  Maybe that’ll help my long run?  HA!  They’re the new Brooks Cascadia 9s.  The only Brooks I’ve ever worn is the Ghost line.  They have been my last 5 pair of running shoes.  I hope I like these as well.  If not, there’s no loss, thanks to Road Runner Sports’ 90-day “wear ’em and love ’em” guarantee!
  • One picture to sum up our Valentine’s Day evening.
  • My mother-in-law is in Atlanta at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America this week getting a second opinion.  I’ve heard such amazing things about them, and I pray that they can work their magic for her too!

Hot Headed

I’ve been consciously working on something the past couple of years.  I’m in a really good place now, but it took a lot of conscious effort to get here.  Now I don’t even think about it.  That thing I’m referring to is not sweating the small stuff.  I used to have an extremely short fuse, and the most trivial things would light it.  I could go from happy to pissed off in 0.2 seconds.

Last Friday night, D called a pizza order in for pickup at Papa Johns.  They told us it would be ready in about 35 minutes.  We got there right about that time and it wasn’t ready.  They were CRAZY busy up in there.  (We thought we were being different by staying in for Valentine’s Day, but it would appear that was a very popular idea!)  I sat in the truck and waited since the dogs rode to town with us, and I could see D and everyone else standing there waiting.  Some were waiting patiently, and others were being very animated about their frustration.  It took an additional half-hour or so to get our order.  When D got back to the truck, he was telling me how ridiculous some of those people were being… one older guy in particular who made a point to tell everyone who came in, “I hope you’ve got a fucking hour to kill!”

It really made me think.  I feel sorry for those people now.  I know what it’s like to be that person.  I may not have been that assholish about it (although, trust me, I had my moments), but on the inside I would have been boiling.  After learning to let that stuff go, to not make such a huge deal about every little thing that doesn’t go according to plan, I’m SO much happier!  When you stop to ask yourself, “Will I remember this in a year?  A month?  Even a week?” it’s amazing how few things are really worth getting pissed about.  I really wish I could go back and tell twenty-something Pam that.

Do you have a short temper, or does it take a lot to ruffle your feathers?