Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Aftermath of My Mother's Passing

arrangement given by my Small Group

I'm still in shock.  I'm still in grief.  I'm not sure I'll ever believe this is real.  My momma is gone.  I don't have a mommy or a daddy anymore.

I have no doubt mom is free from pain and is has forever happiness now.  But, man, does my heart ache.

When I received the call from the hospital, I honestly didn't believe it would be them telling me she passed away.  I thought it was a call to give me an update or ask me to come up and be with her.  I vividly remember yelling "NO" and throwing the phone to my husband.

I had just been up to the hospital two hours prior to her death.  She was very agitated, restless, and short of breath.  I knew she didn't look right.  But I put those thoughts out of my head because there were other times I thought that and she pulled through.  The nurse gave her a breathing treatment and anti-anxiety meds to calm mom down.  Once she seemed at peace and was breathing okay, I left the hospital.  But not before holding her hand, stroking her hair, and telling her I loved her.  And not before thinking how weird it was that she was sleeping with her eyes half open.  In hindsight, I guess I had an inkling.  And I'm glad that I was able to be with her just a short time before.

After the devastating call, I drove up to the hospital to see my mom one last time.  She still had the tube in her nose and was just laying there.  I met with some of the family there, and we said our goodbyes.

I went home, still in shock.  A short time later, I received a call from an eye organ bank.  After some consideration, I gave consent for her eyes to be donated.
floral arrangement from my workplace

The days after have been a whirlwind of busyness and grief.  If I'm busy, I'm okay.  If I sit and think, I'm not.

Luckily, mom and I had previously been to the funeral home to make arrangements.  She picked out her own coffin and let me know the minor details of what she wanted.  I'm thankful we did that beforehand.  It was hard enough having to sit in the funeral home for two hours to go over further details.  Luckily, I had family support.  There were nine of us at the funeral home!

We then went to the cemetery to pick out a plot.  She's buried in a graveyard next to a park and Dairy Queen, two of her favorite places.

Trying to get through the next few days was pure hell.  I felt like I was in purgatory.  Her funeral wasn't until Monday and I still had some days until then.  It was the longest, hardest days of my life.
Two of my mom's brothers, B.J. and Curt.  I have the utmost admiration and respect for these two, and I know they will also leave a legacy.
Oddly enough, my mom was buried on the same day as her brother who preceded her in death four years ago. 

My Small Group made sure we were cared for.  I've received a tremendous amount of food from them, with more still coming in.  I've had enough to food to feed a small army!  Two of the people from Small Group were also with me at the hospital right after mom died.  My Small Group has shown me the power of true friendship.  Not only during this time, but also during each health scare that mom has had.  God definitely put those people in my life for a reason.

The day of the funeral was hard, but I managed to grab some strength somewhere.  I think it helped that my mom didn't look a lot like herself in that casket.  Don't get me wrong, she looked beautiful.  But she didn't look a whole lot like the momma I knew.  And, really, I'm okay with that.  It helped numb my mind and not think about it being her.

I knew that my mom impacted a lot of people's lives, but I was in awe of how many people showed up for her visitation and funeral.  Both were held the same day.  Mom didn't want people to have to spend two days grieving.  People from all walks and all ages showed up.  It wasn't just family.  It was a slew of people who knew her or friends of the family, to show their support.

During the funeral, "Go Rest High On the Mountain", an old church hymnal was played.  So was "Follow Me" by Uncle Kracker.  If you've ever heard that song, you'd know it wasn't exactly appropriate for a funeral.  But mom loved the chorus and it was her favorite song.

"Follow me.  Everything is all right.
I'll be the one to tuck you in at night.
And if you ever leave I can guarantee,
You'll find nobody else like me."

The pastor read a letter that my daughter, Shelby, had written to mom just a few short years ago.  Shelby had to write that essay when she was in college about who her hero was, and that person was her grandma.

I also wrote a letter to my mother, which I read during the funeral.  She would have expected a poem out of me.  For whatever reason, she thought I had that talent.  I just couldn't come up with creative or poetic words, so I read a letter instead.

There were six pallbearers, one being my husband and two of them were my sons, Logan and Adam.  It was a first for my two boys.  I wanted them to have that privilege, but it hurt me inside that they had to carry their grandmother to her final resting place.  My brother thought at first he could be a pallbearer but he broke down, and understandably so.
Me and Jason with our six kids

When the funeral was over, we went to the cemetery.  The preacher read some words from the Bible, and he also read a poem from my sister.

Afterwards, we all gathered at the church for a meal provided by volunteers.  They cooked pineapple with ham, au gratin potatoes, green beans, salad, and an array of sweets.  All out of their own time and money.

This post is mostly for me.  As a way to remember all the details.  As a way to never forget.  As a way to memorialize my mom.  As a way to try to make sense of it all.  As a way to remember my best friend, my cheerleader, my mother.

Nancy Annette Hoos left a legacy.  One not to be forgotten.

Until we meet again, mom........

Logan with the floral arrangement received from the school's Cross Country and Track teams


Samantha said...

So sorry for your loss. Xxoo

An Apel a Day said...

It takes time to grieve. Even when you feel like you're done, you may just have a day of heartache that seems to come out of no where. Just remember to talk to your family members when that happens. Life and death isn't easy. - Cyber Hugs

Sandy Cain said...

I'm so sorry. No words, just prayers going up for your comfort, and ((((((((((((HUGS)))))))))))

jakiesmom said...

So sorry for your loss

Renee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Renee said...

A very sweet post, Terra. I didn't know your mom personally, just through this blog; she seemed like a sweet lady who could surprise you with her spunk every now and then--I still have (and use!) her recipe for zucchini bread :)

Heather! said...

I'm very, very sorry. Thinking of you and your family.

Jackie said...

I'm so sorry. Please know I've been thinking of you since your last post.

Sue Hull said...

Im in tears again.I wish I could hug you.I cant imagine the pain your in.Im sorry your momma & daddy are gone.You still have your Father in heaven.I hope and pray He brings you comfort through your grief.Im glad your momma had taken care of everything ahead of time.My aunt who passed away did it that way to for my cousin.Im glad you found strength to get through the hardest day of your life. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with all us readers.We all care about you and are praying daily for you. ((Hugs))

Maryann D. said...

I think this is wonderful that you are able to write about this and put into words your feelings and all that happened. When my mom and dad passed within two years of each other, it would have been helpful to me to write like you did. I feel your pain and everything you went through.
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