I can not believe it's been a whole year since I saw her, heard her, hugged her. I miss her and these past 2 days have felt like I'm reliving everything all over again. There is so much I've learned this past year and the one lesson that I try to remind myself of every day is that sometimes the things that frustrate you the most are the things you miss the most. My Mom had so many idiosyncrasies that gave us so many laughs but sometimes drove us crazy! Whenever I would return back to work after spending time with her, my friends would ask what types of crazy things she did and laugh. I remember asking my Dad one time how it was possible to love and care for someone so much but be so frustrated at the same time. Her craziness made her lovable.
For one, she loved Walmart (I did not inherit this quality). Not only did she shop there but she worked there. Every time, and I do mean every single time, we went anywhere (yes, even chemo appointments) she would ask to stop there. She knew everyone that worked there and walking around with her was like walking around with the Mayor of Walmart. She stopped after every aisle to hug someone or catch up on the gossip. I swear, a trip to pick up kitty litter would last 2 hours! She was so dedicated and beloved by her coworkers that after she passed away they framed her vest, name tag and a rose they found in her locker.
My Mom was also a bit stubborn. She always needed a chaperone at the doctor's office because she would make up things that they said to fit what she wanted to do. She took medication her way, resulting in one too many anxiety pills more than a time or two. I still laugh because the day she passed away she made sure to take that last pill. I will never forget when the doctors put her on a pain patch. I told her to please be careful and use it as directed. She swore she would but said the patch wasn't working. We took her back to the doctor and they were shocked that it didn't help at all. After questioning her a bit, we found out that she was cutting the patch in half! I couldn't help but laugh because this was so typical for her but I also gave her a bop on the head the pamphlet I was holding. The doctor was laughing but said she deserved it! She was never to be trusted with the patch again!
My Mom's stubbornness also helped her fight through some of the worst pain. She didn't want surgery and always told the doctors she felt better than she really did. When she was having a hard time walking, I mean a really hard time, we found out that she was actually walking around on a broken hip for weeks! Any normal person would be anxious to be out of pain but I can remember her first question to the surgeon like it was yesterday, "Well, does it really have to be fixed today? I have a vacation to Vermont to visit my sister in a few days so can it wait?" I don't think that doctor could believe what he was hearing but he allowed her to go. He said for any other patient he would say no but if she promised to be extremely careful and not walk around she could go. So she went and drove the golf cart around the property! She was nuts!
She always kept things interesting. She would say some crazy things at the oddest times. The most memorable was the day we were all sitting at the table chatting and out of no where she looked at us and said, "I like fish tanks." Why did she say that? She said, "Because I do" and then she laughed. She truly was a character! She never minded being the brunt of the joke and even allowed my sisters and I to call her Vagina even though her name was Virginia (of course in public we called her Mom, usually). It made her laugh and her laughter was contagious!
Without laughter, we would have never made it through all of those hard years. We would laugh at everything from the crazy nurse that wore the funny hat (she reminded us of something out of horror movie) to the loony tune plastic surgeon that was obsessed with her reconstructed belly button. We laughed at how her doctor would lean forward and blink her eyes a thousand times per second when she talked. Above all, we laughed at ourselves. We tried to keep her diagnosis light... it truly does heal the soul.
All the joking and craziness aside, my Mom was the most giving person I know. It didn't matter to her that she owed money on her house or didn't have enough for groceries, she made do and helped whomever she could. She would take in a stray person as quickly as she took in a stray cat (which resulted in her having about 7 cats at one point). She was always picking things up for people (at Walmart of course!) that were on sale... from crazy pajama pants to blankets that had a picture of the state of Texas on it. She was unique, the best friend you could have, and you knew that you always got a laugh when she was around. I miss every frustrating moment I had with her and would give anything to go to Walmart with her one more time. I mean, just look at this smiling face, what is there not to love?
Miss you Mom!!