Tag Archive | Hospice

The Summer of Love & Death … A Wedding!

Mike&DawnWedding

My brother, Mike, and bride, Dawn.

Mom was so excited for Mike and Dawn to be married!   It was time!  They had been happily together for 6 years.  Dawn brought Mom with her when she bought her wedding dress.  What fun they had!  It was a special time for Mom and Dawn.   There was a perfect space in a closet at the folks, to store it safe and sound.  That way Mike couldn’t sneak a peek!

hanged white applique corset wedding gown in between white window curtain inside room

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A big concern Mom had, was getting an annulment with the Catholic Church, before they were married.  Despite Mike and Dawn’s attempts in trying to do this, it wasn’t going to happen.  They talked with a Pastor and found out there is a time-frame of 9 months to 2 years for the annulment process to be completed, and just because one goes through the process, does not mean you will get one.  The cost of it, not a huge deal, was enough to add another piece of angst in the midst of things.  There was also Mom’s time-frame.  Her lung cancer diagnosis and hospice, was definitely speeding up the wedding date.

Mike was beginning to feel overwhelmed and worried.  Both he and Dawn wanted the folks to be pleased.  Mike came over and talked to me (I’m the big sister),  expressing concern, not knowing how this wedding was going to happen.  They simply loved each other and it was hard having it be so difficult – on so many levels.  I asked him if he trusted me – of course he said yes – it’s the ‘Big Sis’ thing!  I became a licensed Wedding Officiant/Minister through the Universal Life Church and our local county.  I would work with them on a beautiful ceremony and file their wedding license.  Then … Dawn, Mike and I talked with the folks, explaining it would be a legal wedding and spiritual … and at some point in time, Mike and Dawn could go through the annulment process and get the marriage blessed in the Catholic Church.  All in all, it was a special conversation and the wedding was on!

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Jake was on the music, Rochelle was on the flowers, Mike was on the venue – Lum Park, Tim was on set-up, Rick was on tools and electrical stuff, Patrick and Darlene were on host/hostessing, Nicky and William were on photography.  Laura, Jake’s wife was on helping us all be cool, calm and collected – ’cause that’s how Laura is.  We-all were on food.  Kyung was still on her work gig/assignment in Africa.

In the midst of all of this, the folks were getting new shingles on the roof.  Mom would ask me to go out and see how it was looking.  Check on the guys, make sure they had enough water …. She enjoyed all the activity.  In spite of her determination, Mom’s breathing was becoming  more labored.  She was using oxygen all the time.  Her strength was weakening.  We all loved her hospice nurse, Kelly.  She and Mom had a very special relationship.  One day, Kelly said we were going to have to look at a different way for Mom to be at the wedding.  Outside was not an option.  I sat close to Mom and told her, she would have the best seat in the house – either with live video – or in heaven.  The boys would know how to set the video stuff up, and some of us would be at the house with her and some would be at Lum Park.

Going outside with Kelly, she said the cancer was progressing much faster than we thought it would.  It was time to call Kyung home.  I needed to tell Mom.  One of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  Then Dad.  Then the rest of the Fambly.  Then close friends.  Life is real.  So is death.

There was talk of having the folks renew their wedding vows with Mike and Dawn. The wedding date moved up and in the house with Mom and Dad.  Kyung arrived. It was early evening.  She and Mom had precious hours talking and being together.  The very next morning, Mom began her journey to heaven.  The wedding would wait.  Her life was celebrated, with tears and joy.

close up of purple flowers

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The next weekend – was The Wedding.  I was nervous about being the Celebrant/Officiant and hoped it would go over ok. The preparation with Mike and Dawn was so special and included both her Mom and our Mom in the ceremony.  When we were finished, Dad’s home-care nurse came up to me and said Dad wanted to talk to me.  I took some deep breaths … knelt down in front of him in his wheel chair … he took my hands and with tears in his eyes, he said it was a beautiful ceremony, he was so proud of me and it was a job well done.  Oh my goodness … MY prayers were answered!

Yes … Mike and Dawn are living happily-ever-after.

And Mom … Still has the best seat in the house!

FamblyMike&DawnWedding

Fambly Wedding Photo – Cheers to Mike & Dawn!

A week after Mom’s funeral and a week before Dad’s.

Mom’s Story                Dad’s Story

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A Summer of Love & Death – Mom

It was a tough summer for our ‘Fambly’.

It was a summer of Love.

Both my folks were dying …

Let me share about our Mom …

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Mom, Dad & The Big Kids

“Fambly”

We, Fambly = Mom & Dad, 7 Siblings/Spouses/Significant Others/Children & Little Children, filled the consult room, waiting for the oncologist to talk with us and share Mom’s diagnosis.  It was the day after Mother’s Day.  Apprehension, faith and love were holding us together like a superglue.  Mom had lung cancer.  The wonderful oncologist, tenderly held Mom’s hands, looked her directly in the eyes, and said with her permission, Hospice would be contacted that day.  It took our breath away.

Life is real.

In 2 months, she was gone.

Before she left … We sang to her, shared silly stories … maybe a secret or two.  We painted our toenails with her.  She had a dress to show us girls – she hoped wouldn’t be ‘too fancy’ for her funeral!  The rosary was prayed.  We cried.  Lots and LOTS of tears.  A Priest came to visit.  Mom and my little brother, Jake, planned the music for her funeral – so special. (He was amazing singing through. it. all.  Making Mom proud ’till the very end!!).

Rosary

In the middle of the night, she left us.  We were with her.  Dad made it very clear he wanted to be with her at her last breath.

Everything became still. 

Silent. 

Peace-filled.

Before we called the funeral home, we made a Fambly Circle. (Every night after supper, Mom would have us go around the table and say something we were thankful for.)  In our circle of love for Mom, we each shared a story, or something we were grateful for, or got in trouble with/lesson learned – ’cause life is real with Mom.  More tears, then laughter!!  After we shared, we started singing some of her favorite songs – someone(s) got out their phones to get all the words right!  We ended with Silent Night … the harmony so precious.

 

It was a silent, holy night …

We love you, Mom!

(She’s still dropping feathers to say ‘Hello’!)

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With Love and a Grateful Heart,

Your Daughter,

Debbie

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Dad’s Story     The Wedding Between 2 Funerals

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