The Third Year ❤️

The third year…1,095 days to be honest.

I really debated all week if I was going to write about it. Like last year, I don’t want people to think that I think about her all the time and I still consciously try not to talk about her. But she continues to dwell in my heart.

This is the time of year that is hard for me. It is her birthday, anniversary of her death and Mother’s Day all within a few weeks. Its hard not to think about her and miss her.

Summing up the third year has been a mix of emotions…

Like we have done the last few years, my brother and I gave away Dairy Queen Blizzards last week on what would have been her 92nd birthday. The first 100 people would get her favorite treat in honor of my mom, though they have discontinued the Snicker’s Blizzard which was her favorite. We even had a donation bucket and including on-line donations, raised over $500 for the Alzheimer’s Association. As I have mentioned before, she loved her hometown Dairy Queen. A place she knew when she would get turned around walking. It was centrally located to her walking and when her confusion took over, she knew where she was. Thank you to Carrie and staff for helping plan the event.

I have finished the manuscript of our memoir. It has been a labor or love. And I do mean labor. At times, I am very proud of it. There were many parts that were tricky to write about. I don’t want to embarrass her or write about something she would not want me to describe. I’ve added, taken out, changed things and tried to honor our time spent for those long eight years after my dad died. At times, I am terrified that people will be upset about decisions I made or that I have exploited her in some way. She knew that I started to write about her when we entered memory care and she felt she was a terrible topic. I beg to disagree. If I have helped one person understand the loss of a mother or anyone to this horrible disease, it will be worth the hundreds and hundreds of hours I have spent describing our journey. It will now go to the copy editor and book designer. I’m excited about the whole process. Many of you know of my love of books and the whole thought of putting this whole thing together is mind-boggling for me. I am hoping for a November release in honor of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.

Grief continues but has lessened.

Next Thursday, I am having minor surgery. I was in the ER a few weeks ago and I have a mass on my left ovary which is large. A lab also came up high for ovarian cancer but the doctor is very optimistic, as am I. They will be taking the mass, ovary, and two Fallopian tubes which I obviously have no use for any more. When I was in last week for my pre-op, we discussed my mom a little. I don’t have a health history due to my adoption and he was intrigued of why my mom could not have children. He confirmed that if the same thing happened maybe twenty-five years ago, she would have been able to have children. I love that he spent the time with me discussing her history. Those are the moments I wish she was here. Not only to hold me hand but to tell me everything will be ok and to have faith. She had enough faith to go around.

I continue to miss her voice.

Parenting is hard and 90% of the time I feel a failure. Truth. On a particularly bad day with my teenager, she stated I have been angry since my mom died. “You have lost your smile!” I don’t feel she is completely accurate but at times, I have lost my smile. I think when you take care of loved one for that long, go through the highs and lows of a devastating disease, and then they are gone, its hard to get that smile back. The worry. The insecurity. The loss. The grief.  The sadness. No one to share certain things with.

I continue to miss just being her daughter.

I miss her calling my name or calling me on the phone.

I miss being able to ask her a cooking question.

I miss her hugs.

I miss the time that we spent reading together or watching the birds.

I miss her stating, “Let go and let God”.

High up, above the clouds, I  hope that she is happy with my dad, drinking coffee, reading, working on her tan in a big beautiful garden and humming a song. I hope she is looking down and me and she would remind me to smile. I hope that she is also happy with the story I have told about a mother, a daughter and the love that kept them together.

Happy Mother’s Day next week to all of you with your own mama’s. And to all of you who have lost your own Mom’s over the past year, remember to find your smile.

Jodi

 

 

 

The Mother

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Happy Mother’s Day to all of you. Wishing you a day of love, good food, maybe a quiet moment and many blessing bestowed on you. It is one of the hardest jobs, being a mom but it is something that I am the most proudest of. There is nothing like hearing your child call you mom for the first time.

I was going through Mom’s pictures today and I found this sweet one. It is taken two months after I was adopted. It was a happy moment for both my Mom and Dad, maybe not so much for my brother. I love the look on her face, an amazing amount of joy showing on her face.

I saw Mom yesterday and we are going through a new stage, she is irritable and crabby with the staff. I can’t tell if she doesn’t feel good yet or that she is just mad at everyone. I tell her that I will get her ready for bed and I want to spend a quiet moment with her. When she used to stay with me, it was one of my favorite things to do with the girls, getting Grandma ready for bed.

Her new phrase is “I just want to go to bed.” Over and over and over. Trying to distract her, I ask her what she wants for Mother’s Day. Without hesitation, she states, “I want my mother.” I am surprised by this and I ask her if she remembers what her mother’s name is. “Helena Margretha Gertrude Anderson.” Wow, she remembered all four names, though I’m not 100% sure they are in the right order. I tell her that she is not here and that she was gone long before I was born. She seemed sad. “Really?” I say yes but I have heard that she was a wonderful mother. That seemed to calm her. It was a great moment.

As you can imagine, Mom was a good mother. She taught me many things that hopefully have shaped me as a mother. She showed me how important it was to be kind to someone and to help if you were able. She showed me how to get quiet by picking up a good book. She was always helping someone by baking or making some homemade bread. I will never be the baker that she was, but I’m ok with that. She was a referee, healer, constant taxi driver, peacemaker, lawyer and chef of our family. She is deeply loved.

On this Mother’s Day, call your mom, make amends if you need to and remember the good memories you’ve had with her. Motherhood is highs and lows at times, but its a club we are all in, doing the very best we can.
Here is to a great day tomorrow.

Jodi

The Love Story

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Recently, I was going through Mom’s stuff and trying to decide what to keep and what to toss. It has been a difficult task for me due to the amount of items and not knowing the real significance of some of them.

While looking through her journals and boxes, I found this picture in a very old book, along with some other special pictures. It is my very first picture and on the back, in my Mom’s handwriting, it states, “Taken January 14th, 1970, the day we adopted Jodi”. If you look close, you will find there is a smirk on my face and you will note that I was pretty well fed at Lutheran Social Services. It is a picture that has long been forgotten, but very important to Mom. It marks the day that both Mom and Dad welcomed me into their family. My brother Ross, is almost three in this picture. He, of course, came first.

Both  my parents were young (20) when they got married and it was just after WW II. Life was very good for them and they enjoyed traveling and had many adventures together. For twenty plus years, they tried to have children. When my Mom was young, she had some minor surgery and they think that is the reason my Mom could not conceive. It is such a different world now, and I can only imagine if she were young now, she would be able to get pregnant. I can only imagine their sadness of not being able to get pregnant as all of their friends were now having children. They choose Plan B.

We were both adopted through LSS, with Ross getting help also from one of my Dad’s friends. In the process, they had highs and lows. Back in the day, you could not have any drug/alcohol problems and you really needed to be “perfect”. My dad struggled with alcohol and LSS denied them at first. My Dad had also set up a saving account for the future Baby Lundell and a social worker at LSS felt my Dad was “materialistic” and denied them once again. If you know my Dad, you can only imagine, how this went over. It was difficult for them but in 1967, they finally got a baby boy and as the story goes, Ross picked out a brown eyed girl, two and a half years later. It is a fact that he has wanted to give me back ever since.

After I was adopted, we moved from Plymouth to a wonderful small town, surrounded by farm land and a beautiful lake. It was a wonderful place to raise children and we grew up knowing we were always loved. As in any family, there were ups and downs. I can only imagine at 43, with two small children, it was tough at times for them. But as communities go, Starbuck was ideal.

Fast forward years now gone by, I look at this picture and I am so thankful for the person who decided to make the difficult choice of giving up a baby and letting someone else give her a better life. How unselfish of her to decide that she or her family, were unable to raise me and love me enough to give me away to parents that really, really wanted children. That is the ultimate love story.

 As she walks in this fog of Alzheimer’s Disease, I know how much we were wanted and loved, the same feeling I am sure she felt that day in January. When we were driving to Starbuck a few years ago, I asked if she was sad that she never got to experience birth. Her response was that she never had to go through any labor pain and that LSS just handed her a clean, happy baby. She reminded me I caused her other pain, which I laughed.

Life is all about choices. I am thankful for the woman in Minneapolis who gave my parents much happiness. Now you can also see why it is so easy to love Mom.