A Trip Home

It’s a cold, rainy, nasty February day. I’m pretty sure February 11th will always be etched in my brain as a miserable day, regardless of the weather. Now, four years later I can still remember every single detail of my February 11, 2014. I can still remember Lexi Kate walking into my bathroom as I was drying my hair, a pencil in one hand, my cell phone in the other saying, “I told Mimi you were drying your hair, but she said she had to talk to you.” That conversation of, “The doctor says I’m fine, I’m just at the hospital having some fluid drained off my lungs….. don’t come down…. I haven’t told Grandmother…. I’ll call you back later after the doctor comes by…..” kicked off what would be the very worst 24 hours of my life. So, with hair half wet, I grabbed an extra pair of sweat pants, a long sleeved t-shirt, clean underwear and a tooth brush, screamed at Jeff, “Mom, needs me, figure things out here.” and I bolted out the door. I made it from Franklin, TN to Mayfield in just under an hour and 45 minutes. Later that afternoon, as I looked at the scans of my mom’s heart, despite what the doctor’s were saying, I knew I was going to lose my mom. She looked and sounded fine, but I just knew. And, so began a journey of doing way more adult-ing in 4 years, than I had done in the last 17 years of my “adult life”.

Today, I once again made that cold, wet February 11th drive from Franklin to Mayfield. February 11th is Grandmother’s birthday. Mom died on February 12, so I wanted to bring them flowers today. I made the trip alone today. That is not at all reflective of this four year journey. I have been anything but alone on this journey- friends, family, and strangers have supported us in ways I could never express. I still feel the pain and loss of not having my mom 4 years later. I’m still working on reconciling how I feel about Grandmother being gone, 9 months after she has died.

I think the one thing I have been feeling most lately is loss of purpose. I know that sounds strange coming from someone who is a wife, mother, and has a career. But, the day my mom died, my primary purpose in my mind became honoring her by the way I cared for her mother. I had training on how to be a good wife, mother, and worker- I watched my mom do those things better than anyone for 35 years. I had no clue how to care for an 80 year old critical heart patient with dementia. There’s a few books out there, and there’s groups who are willing to offer support, but there isn’t a step by step instruction manual on how to raise kids and adults without totally losing all your shit. So, it was 3.5 years of hands on, pour all you have into this mission survival. And, now it’s over. And, now I’m still not real sure what to do with myself next.

We bought a foreclosure house and remodeled it. I think a big portion of my desire to do that was to have something to focus on and pour my energy into. Now, we’ve finished that to the extent my wallet will allow, and I’m back at the point of not knowing what to do with myself. For the last 3 years when I wrote out my annual goals, I was able to relatively easy come up with things. For the most part, because my life demanded I be laser focused in order to achieve it all. Because, my mortgage company didn’t give a rat’s behind that I had a whole lotta life going on- they still expected a check. This year, I’ve really struggled coming up with my goals and dreams to focus on for the year. Everyone around me says, take a year to rest. Find yourself. You don’t have to do anything big. I want to agree with that and take it all in. It’s just a huge struggle for me. For the way I am wired, I need a big purpose, I need a big dream, I need hard things to accomplish just to motivate me to get out of bed in the morning.

So, here I sit, in the middle of a cemetery, beside my Mom’s muddy grave, asking what’s next. I’ll admit, I really, really, really want to ask God why He took my Momma away so early. Why in the world I had to sit bedside and watch the 3 strongest and most influential women in my life die (I watched my dad’s mom take her last breath when I was 19, I watched my own mom die when I was 35, and watched Gran slowly die of dementia and heart disease over the last 3 years.) Here is what I do know. Because of the strength these women modeled for me, because of the love and dedication they poured into me, I can do really, really hard things. If God calls me to do nothing else big in this life, I know I’ve done more than most. And, it isn’t a competition. It’s about living the life I’ve been given well. I’ve failed forward a whole lot. Looking in hind sight, I’d do 90% of it differently. But, we don’t live life in the rear view mirror, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt I can say I “showed up”.

So, hear I am, 39 years old, sitting beside my momma, crying like a baby, just wanting to make her proud more than anything in the world. I don’t know what’s next for this small town girl, but whatever it is, I’m ready. As, I’m preparing to leave Mayfield, and head back home. I hear my mom saying, just pray, “Here, I am Lord, send me.” And, I know He’ll send some pretty amazing guardian angels with me.

Mom, Gran, I miss you more than words on a blog could ever express. We’ve got big things left to do, let’s go.

2 thoughts on “A Trip Home

  1. Beverly Burton

    As you pray and yearn to know the next steps to take, remember God is in the waiting. And getting two children through adolescence and teaching and setting the example to love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength and their neighbor as theirselves is purpose. As you said, you are wired for big challenges and often our biggest challenges may be in those circumstances that seem small and everyday. Keep writing!

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  2. So true Beverly. I pray daily that I never underestimate my roll as their mom even though we’re currently in the “easy years”. They can do for themselves right now, and aren’t yet in those pull my hear out teen years. Soak these joyous days up!

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