All the chapters that must be written

I remember our walk through Glen Oak Park when Mom came to Peoria for a visit around 1990. We stumbled upon a wedding in the park, and I had to get photos of her. No, we didn’t interfere with the nuptials but we sure had fun from a distance …

And it’s from a distance of three years ago today since my mom passed that I’m still trying to figure her out … what really made her tick. It took the first year to work my way emotionally through the four journals she left behind. Her last entries after her diagnosis of lung cancer:

Sept 11 — Monday – 9-11-01 – Day of terror for America

9-11-17 — My personal day of terror. Doctor says I have a mass on my lung — long days ahead

Sept 14, Thursday — Saw doctor, right lung, he says. If I make it through the next 2 weeks, that will be a miracle in itself

Sept 20, Wed — PET scan

Sept 21, Thurs — Does not sound good

Nov 4, Sat — Reached 78 years

Dec 18, Mon — Whoever finished this will know my life as well as I.

And she closed with the traditional newspaper story end of “—30—“ … something I had written thousands of times in my journalism days. None of us could see what the 10 months after her diagnosis would bring before her final breath at 5:45 a.m. July 12, 2018.

In recent months, I’ve wondered how I’d handle today, the third anniversary of her passing. I’ve decided that I’m just as befuddled by her today as I was when she was flesh and blood.

I’m an investigative reporter and researcher by trade and the need to know who, what, when, where and WHY drives my soul. Since her blood runs through my veins, I have a vested interest in learning and understanding more about her … and in turn, myself.

Often I look around and ask, “Why did you do this or say that?” I know she’s there; she vowed she would be at my right shoulder. Now, if Dad had been on my right side after he passed 17 months earlier, I’m sure Mom pushed him over to the left … And as I’ve written several times before, I can imagine the moment they met in heaven and simultaneously asked, “What are YOU doing here?!?!” Don’t worry. I laugh every time I visualize it ….

And here I am … more immersed in the emotions of life than ever before. More determined to keep preaching the power and potential of relationships and love. And with the little bit of business coaching I’ve had this summer so far, I’m not afraid anymore to throw my heart, soul and story out into a world that needs a lot of straight talk and healing.

After a recent heart-to-heart talk with my dear hubby, I’ve figured out that while many people run away from emotions, I’m running toward them, even the toughest ones of fear, regret, misunderstanding, secrets, speaking up and even death.

Yes, three years ago, I watched my mom die … almost five years my dad … 10 years ago my dad-in-law … and 30-some years ago my grandpa …

Time is short. I’ve got a whole lot of writing, speaking and education to share with the world … with you. And probably more goofy and poignant stories about my mom … the next chapter of HER life through me. 

Hey, drop me a line at [email protected] or leave a comment below. I’d love to speak to your group, organization or company about working our way through the pain and challenges of everyday life. You want straight talk? You got me!

"What Caregivers Need"

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