church · crisis · fear · Keith · life is messy · Little Man · my mom · real life friends · sandwich generation · scary stuff

My Mom

I wrote my last post just over a month ago. In it, I talked about how Little Man had a random meltdown about how his Grammy, my mom, was going to die.

Two weeks later she had a massive brain hemorrhage. And although my mom did not die, thank God, our lives have all profoundly changed.

I can’t even begin to walk you through this process. I am still walking through it myself.

I wonder if he had some sort of…premonition? Sixth sense? Sensitivity?

How did he know?

Or, like a hundred other little things I have seen in the past two weeks, was God just preparing us for what was about to happen?

Little Man had his meltdown on March 9.

On March 23, my mom had what is known as a hemorrhagic stroke. They are rare, but they are the most deadly.

We didn’t discover it until March 30.

The week of  March 23, I didn’t actually see my mom. I spoke to her on the phone, and she told me she had a very, very bad migraine and she has been vomiting almost non-stop for three days. But, she had also started a new medication that Sunday night. We thought it was a side effect of the medication. Coincidentally, she stopped the medication and the vomiting stopped.

We thought we were in the clear.

Keith, Little Man and I traveled to Lexington, KY, over the weekend of March 28 so I could run a half marathon. Initially LM was supposed to stay with my mom as a special Grammy-LM weekend.

Thank God he didn’t.

She was super-confused all weekend while she babysat our dog. I could tell she was “off” when I spoke to her on the phone, but I chalked it up to dehydration and having been so sick for a few days.

On Monday, March 30, LM and I went to have lunch with her, and I immediately suspected she had had a stroke. Her face was drooping and she was shuffling as she walked. She told me she’d gotten lost on the way to church the day before and had been in a minor car accident (and she said these things with a total lack of emotion – which is so abnormal for her).

We went to lunch (her appetite was fine) and then I forced her to the ER.

They did a CT scan.

Initially they diagnosed her with a brain tumor. Because her local hospital doesn’t staff neurologists, she was rushed by ambulance to the Big Downtown Hospital where our son was born.

Throughout all of this, my five year old son is by my side. I mean, we had just decided to go to lunch with Grammy. We hadn’t planned a trip to the hospital.

By God’s grace, I was actually taking LM home when the CT results came back. The ER doctor had initially ruled everything an electrolyte deficiency and *possibly* a minor stroke, only ordering the scan as a precaution.  My aunt was with my mom, and she called me. I got home, had a minor breakdown, called my brother (who immediately made plans to drive down from Detroit early the next morning), packed a small bag, and hightailed it to the big hospital.

By God’s grace…

Those are the only words I can use to describe the past two weeks.

By God’s grace, my mom’s brain bled for two weeks, but the damage seems to be minor, comparatively.

By God’s grace, my husband was able to get two days off work and stay home with our terrified son while mommy was in the hospital.

By God’s grace, my brother was able to get leave from his military position against all odds to rush home and be with me.

By God’s grace, it looks like it isn’t actually a tumor but “just” a stroke.

By God’s grace, my itunes was loaded with the hymns of my childhood, so as I curled up in a waiting room chair in the darkest hours of the night that first night, alone, I could tangibly feel God’s presence. In fact, this was my status update near Easter:

I spent Monday night in the neuro-critical care waiting room at Methodist Hospital while doctors tried to determine if my mom has a brain tumor or “just” a hemorrhage. During the darkest hours, the hymns of my childhood looped on my playlist. “Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross, The Old Rugged Cross, At the Cross, Nearer My God to Thee, Holy Holy Holy, I Need Thee Every Hour, It Is Well.” Songs about the hope that Christ’s death on the cross brings were suddenly never more real or powerful or meaningful. I hope this Easter is about more than bunnies and egg hunts for you. If it’s not, and you are curious as to how it can mean more, well…talk to me. I have no idea how I’ve survived this week intact, except that I walk by my faith in Jesus. And I have no idea how I will take my next step, except I know I have Jesus, and my mom has Jesus. And that makes all the difference.”

By God’s grace, we have moved my mother into our minuscule house and haven’t killed each other yet.

By God’s grace, the realtor I called was incredibly kind and said he could work with us, even though our house isn’t (and won’t be) “show” ready or even really “sale” ready.

At this point, I am walking by faith. It’s a day-by-day sort of thing. Every day that passes I can breathe a little easier, thinking that my mom isn’t just going to drop dead ANY SECOND. But I am scared, and exhausted, and frightened, and…

I have so much more I can say, about how my friends and my Church has stepped up in incredible ways.

But I want to close with this, as the occupational therapist will be here any minute:

If your mom is alive, and well, call her. Hug her. Love her. I lost my mom in an instant. Oh, she’s still here, sort of. But the mom I had March 21, who had spent the previous night and giggled with me and told me I needed another baby?

I may very well never, ever see or hear from her again.

And that is the most devastating thing for me right now.

Don’t take your mom for granted.

I am SO grateful that, by God’s grace, I never did.

3 thoughts on “My Mom

  1. Rachel….I am so, so sorry, friend. I commit now to pray for you every single day…I had no idea the severity of this. You are on my heart!!!


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