What an amazing and emotional week this has been!! It started last Sunday night with a visit from Pontheolla, our frienily (friends who are family) who just happened to be in town for a few days and helped me get Memory Maker II ready for its maiden family voyage. We shopped at Lowes, Walmart and the Dollar store to get Velcro, picture frames, drawer organizers and trash cans and Halloween decorations for the RV. We then organized the items in their proper locations, and used the Velcro to hold everything in place in preparation for Memory Maker II (MMII) rolling up and down the road. By the time Pontheolla left on Wednesday morning, MMII was ready to go!
Not more than 2 hours after Pontheolla departed and I had headed to the RV shop in Manassas to get the radio / camera system repaired before the trip, I received a phone call from Angelina, the nurse at Mom’s group home. She informed me that Mom had passed out while walking down the hall with the caregiver, and when they determined that Mom had no pulse and wasn’t breathing, Angelina performed CPR while the caregiver called 911. Mom was taken to Fort Washington Hospital and admitted to ICU for observation.
The news stunned and terrified me. Mom had passed out about 10 times over an eighteen-month period more than 5 years ago, but the reason for those occurrences was never found. I prayed that Mom would survive this and that this wouldn’t be the start of another period of passing out. They completed the work in short order on the RV, and I headed immediately to the hospital where Mom was disoriented and confused. I felt so bad I couldn’t do anything to help her, other than to get her to smile when she recognized my face. I stayed most of the day, leaving her in time to get home for the first meeting of my support group of friends from St. Mark’s. Organized by Jan Lipscomb and Louise Walsh after Tim’s death, the group consists of 11 individuals willing to provide me whatever I need. I thought seriously about cancelling our first meeting, because I believed I needed to be at the hospital day and night as long as Mom was there. But Kim convinced me not to cancel and I’m so glad I listened to her.
There were six of us at the first meeting and it was phenomenal! We shared a meal, laughed, listened and set up some goals for the group. They listened as I shared what I needed and wanted from the group. I felt embraced, loved and cared for, both regarding Tim and my Mom! I was giddy when they left, knowing that this group is with me every step of the journey as I continue to process Tim’s loss. Thank you Jan, Don, Charmian, Tracy and Yvonne for your love and support! I can’t wait for our next meeting!
On Thursday, I went to work for a few hours to attend a meeting, then saw Mom briefly before heading to Silver Spring to do a presentation and book signing for the Older Adult Ministries for the DC Baptist Convention. I was excited about doing the presentation because I felt the stress lessening because Mom was scheduled to get out of the hospital later that evening, though the cause of her event hasn’t been discovered. The presentation was incredible and I was in my element!!
We laughed, a few people shed tears, and the energy in that room was incredible resulting in a standing ovation. Afterwards I was a little concerned because the line for books was really long, and I didn’t have anyone to help me. Tears came to my eyes because Tim always helped me with the lines by entertaining those standing in line, swiping the credit cards for payment and ensuring we had enough books on hand. Just as I was starting to worry about how I was going to handle this long line, a woman who had helped me with the audio visual system, stepped behind the signing table with me and began taking care of everything – handing me each book to sign, swiping the credit cards and handing the customer my phone so they could sign for their purchase. She had introduced herself to me as a member of the church staff, AND a woman who had already read and loved my book. She shared that it was her honor to help me. Thank you Brenda Ward for your help and support!
Mom did indeed get discharged from the hospital on Thursday evening, so even though I was exhausted from my book presentation followed by my evening security class, I went by the group home to see Mom. After not having slept for the entire time at the hospital, Mom was already fast asleep but I just had to see her little face that night. Thanks Angelina and Anna for saving my Mom!
I was right back at the group home at the crack of dawn on Friday, to spend a couple of hours with Mom before heading to Kendal’s school for their Harvest Parade. Kendal represented the country of Canada and it was Fabulous!! Kim and I then scrambled off to meet back at my house and head for our five-hour journey to Fancy Gap VA. The Three Adventure girls headed off at 11:30 am and arrived seven hours later at Fancy Gap to meet friends Dawn and Linda and new friend Denise. As we set up our campsite Kim and I consoled each other and our sadness about camping without Tim. But we were also proud of ourselves for having accomplished getting to the campground without incident! We are so grateful to my cousin JoAnne for hanging out with Mom on Saturday ensuring that she was ok while we were gone! Thanks JoAnne!
This was a mostly technology-free weekend for me because I had no phone service near or in Fancy Gap. Our new friend Denise posted pics of our group on Facebook! It was so great seeing Dawn and Linda again, as Tim and I had camped with them in 2015 right after we got Memory Maker. In memory of Tim, Linda made us a bright orange key chain with angel wings to hold MM II keys. I was stunned! I gave she and Dawn a huge hug but didn’t cry until later when I hung the keys up next to Tim’s picture in MMII.
Even though we were only gone for short weekend, it was rejuvenating and one of the greatest confidence builders for Kim and I. We met neighbors during the camp pancake breakfast and the Halloween Trick or Treat hour where Kendal strolled through the campground as a witch collecting candy with Kim while I handed out our candy in front of MMII.
This weekend we drove and parked MMII like pros. We conquered high winds on Friday and tight parking spaces and traffic on the return on Sunday. The Three Adventure Girls rocked this weekend, we encourage and supported each other, and cheered great and small accomplishments.
So much happened this week that my mind is still spinning…but what is clear to me is the fact that through everything that happened this week, there was support from every corner! People called, emailed, texted me, had dinner and wine with me, helped me to sell books, held my hand, hugged me, wiped my tears away and made me feel whole again by surrounding me with love and support. This journey continues, but this week has lifted me up and made me stronger!