Saturday, January 17, 2009

JULIE'S THOUGHTS ABOUT HER MOM

ANOTHER POST BY MILTON:

For new readers to this site, I am writing since Kristy's battle with a GBM brain tumor and her passing on July 21. Kristy made me a romantic so I write to share christian love stories.

I have asked Julie to write her thoughts about her Mom as I finalize the last posts on this blog. I am so very proud and thankful for Julie and Jennifer. They make their Dad proud.

***

My dad asked me the first of the week to write something about my mom. Well, I have had a very busy week. Report cards were due (I’m a teacher.) My boys had a lot of homework. It was difficult to find the time to sit down and gather my thoughts. I was finally able to sit down late last night after a long day of work, after I put the boys to bed, and I began to try to write something.


I thought and I thought, and my heart was so heavy. I went back and read old posts, wanting the Lord to impress something on my heart to write. And all I felt was heaviness. Dad finally called me again about 12:30, and was worried about me being up so late. He told me to go on to bed. I had to get up in about five hours.

When my family writes, they always write something so uplifting. Something that is inspiring. When I spoke at my mother’s funeral, God gave me those words. They came flowing from my heart. Right now, I want to write something inspiring. I mean, my mother was amazing. How hard this could be, you may wonder. When I go back and read all of the posts and look at all of the pictures, my mother was vibrant and faithful and full of joy every single day until the very end. How amazing is that? I wonder what it must have felt like to have been told, “You are going to die. And it will be painful at the end. You only have a few months left.” I can’t imagine what that REALLY, TRULY must have felt like.

I’m sitting here at my computer, and I know I have things I would like to share with you all. Things about my mother and my father. But right now, the ideas won’t come together. My heart is heavy and my eyes are filled with tears. So… I’ve decided to just be honest. To tell it like it really is. It hurts. It hurts to lose your mother. She was 56. In the prime of her life. I would like you all to please continue praying for me and for my family. I will make it. I’m built from stern stuff as my mother would say. But life has changed for me. It just doesn’t seem as bright as it used to be.

I remember the night I found out my mom had a brain tumor... She and Dad told me the day before that they had found out she had lost 25% of her peripheral vision. I knew that something had caused that, but never in a million years did I think she really would have a brain tumor. I remember the seriousness in my father's voice as I listened to him over the phone that Wednesday night. Our life was forever changed.

I remember the day of my mother's surgery. Our family and close friends all waited in the waiting room together. Janet, Dad's sister led us in the song, "How Great Is Our God, Sing with Me How Great Is Our God. How Great Is Our God. He's The Name Above All Names. Worthy to Be Praised. How Great is Our God!" I remember when the doctor came to talk to my dad, my sister and me. He told us they would let us know in a day or two if it was cancerous. I know he really knew then, but he wouldn't tell us anything. I remember telling him, as we walked in to see her, "She's a really special lady."

I remember a couple of days later when the doctor came in the hospital room to tell us her diagnosis. My dad, sister, I, and some of our family members were in the room with her. No one had really looked up much online about brain cancer. And I hadn't done much research, but I did read a little. I remember the moment the words "Glioblastoma Multiforme Stage 4" came out of his mouth. Everyone else in the room had to wait for him to explain what that meant, but as soon as he said those words I knew they were a death sentence. I had read that someone who has that only lives 6-9 months. Immediately tears began to stream down my face. I had to get out of that room. I quickly ran out to the waiting room bawling. I had to pull myself together before I could go back in there. But mom, she barely blinked an eye when they told her. Wow.

I remember going to Cheesecake Factory with her and my sister one day for lunch. I sat there in that restaurant, and I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs, “My mother has a brain tumor! It won’t be long and she won’t be here to be able to have lunch here again with me!” It was the weirdest feeling sitting there with all of those people going on about their daily lives, and my mom was sitting there and she looked as normal as could be, but she was dying.

I remember visiting my mother throughout her illness. She was always giving to us, even though she was sick. She truly had a servant’s heart. On one of my visits from Tampa I had had a busy week so I brought my laundry with me when I came to Jacksonville. We had a busy day, going to the cancer center and then I think we went out to eat. When we got home we decided to take a nap which is something she never, ever did before she got sick. I told her I would do my laundry when I woke up and told her to please just leave it that I would take care of it. Well, as we lay on her bed, she insisted on scratching my back. (Our family likes to scratch backs and give each other massages.) Here she was the one who was sick, and she wouldn’t let me do anything for her, she still wanted to take care of and look out for me. Later when I woke up, I went into the laundry room to do my laundry and found she had already done it! She was dying of brain cancer and was still taking care of herself and looking out for and helping her family as well. I just couldn’t believe she had washed and folded my laundry. I did not want to put her out. She was so sweet….

Well, as I gathered my clothes off of the dryer, I realized… She had forgotten to wash them!! She was at the stage where she was getting a little confused and mixed up with some things. I discovered she had thrown my dirty clothes straight into the dryer without ever washing them and then folded my still dirty clothes! I never told her, but Dad and I sure did get a good laugh out of that one!

I know this post is a little different from the normal posts on this blog. But I just felt like being real today. I miss my mother so much. God has placed some things on my heart that I do want to share. I’ll have to ask Dad when he would like me to do this. I have thoughts swirling around in my mind. Thoughts on my mother’s faithfulness, and on the depth of her love for us ( I mean, what kind of love is that, how sweet, how deep, how real, and how selfless- that she told me she knew who would be good for my father. I’ll have to share that story with you all soon. It happened when we were getting ready to go to lunch one day, as we were putting our makeup on in her bathroom. She told me about Wanda with a sparkle in her eye! That came from her, and from God- that was the farthest thing on our minds! None of us ever thought anything like that about Dad after she would be gone. We wanted her here. We wanted her to get healed.)

I also want to write about her amazing sense of peace and of her deep joy that she had through the great times and that she exuded all the way through death’s valley.

And finally, I want to write about my dad and about Wanda. Both of them have experienced heartache- that comes with life…. But this is truly the most beautiful, special, sweet- oh so sweet christian love story that has ever been. CHRISTIAN LOVE STORIES… my mother couldn’t have chosen a more fitting title for her blog.

That is what I think EVERY SINGLE time I open her blog and read her words… CHRISTIAN LOVE STORIES.

15 Comments:

At 8:01 AM, Blogger A Romantic Porch said...

Julie, Bless your heart. May God gently hold you in his arms...so you actually feel HIM. I am sorry for your pain. Your words of honesty were so beautiful and touching.
~Rachel~

 
At 8:56 AM, Anonymous Rebecca (Kristy's sister) said...

Julie, I just finished reading your comments, and my eyes are filled with tears. Sharing openly and honestly, sharing your heart - it is so special. You and Jennifer and your precious children are so special. You will always miss your Mom, but like you said, you will make it. I pray for you all daily, and I love you.
Aunt Becky

 
At 9:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read your writing through tears. My heart breaks for you, but the Lord is our strength.
I knew your mom as our paths crossed several times. I worked with her years ago at Masterpiece as a camp counselor at a youthcamp. One time I remember bumping into her in an elevator at General Council, as well as a few other times.Our paths didn't cross much, but we always discussed her writing and I would share with her about my schooling. (I went back to school and became a teacher after having my children.)
Your mom was very special. Some of our questions about life won't be answered until we get to heaven, then it won't matter. This blog has been a blessing to me. It shows the faithfulness of our G-- and how He works in our lives. As carnal human beings, we see only the now, but G-- sees the whole picture.
Love & blessings to you,
Rita Knight
Ailey, GA

 
At 11:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Julie,

Of the many entries that I have read in this blog, your openness and sincerity bless me as much as any. Your mother was a wonderful lady, full of Christian love and geniuneness. I sense that in you as I read your thoughts. You obviously possess many of your mom's qualities and will continue to pass her wonderful heritage on to those you come into contact with.

May God bless you richly and hold you in His arms always.

 
At 12:27 PM, Blogger 365 DAYS OF DANCING IN THE RAIN said...

Julie,

I too feel your pain. I lost my Precious Mother July 17, 2008 to this insidious disease we call cancer.
August 20, 2008 I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and am currently going through the poison Chemotherapy.

You ask:

I wonder what it must have felt like to have been told, “You are going to die. And it will be painful at the end. You only have a few months left.” I can’t imagine what that REALLY, TRULY must have felt like.


No matter how the doctors break the news to you…
YOUR LIFE AS YOU KNEW IT. IS NEVER EVER THE SAME!
EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT.
IT FEELS LIKE SOMEONE SUCKER PUNCHED YOU IN THE FACE.
IT FEELS LIKE HOT OIL HAS BEEN POURED ON YOU.


I understand your feelings;

…I sat there in that restaurant, and I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs, “My mother has a brain tumor! It won’t be long and she won’t be here to be able to have lunch here again with me!”

Julie,
God is good…
This will all take time …. If you need someone to talk to …
I am here for you…
as you precious Daddy, Milton has been here for me…

Peace and Always Love…

Char

 
At 3:14 PM, Anonymous Laurie said...

Hi Julie,

This is Laurie, Rebecca's mom from your class last year. I've been following your mom's blog since we knew she was ill, and of all the posts, yours has touched me the most. I usually just read without commenting, but just wanted to thank you for your honesty. I have the feeling for every comment out there, there are hundreds more of us reading and gaining insight and strength from the words of your mom, dad and family.

I most connected with the story of your mom doing your laundry when she was sick. As a mom, I realize this is exactly what I would be doing (at least as best as I can imagine in that unimaginable situation). I've been sick for the past few weeks — nothing life threatening, but enough to make me realize my own mortality (and to stop taking my health for granted). My kids are still young, but I believe I would be happiest spending my last days doing as much for them as they would let me, no matter how old they were :).

So, just wanted to thank you for your post, and let you know that even if you thought you were struggling to find the right words, you really reached me (and I think many others) with the honesty of your words.

Laurie

 
At 4:07 PM, Blogger Kate said...

Dear Julie,

Thank you so much for sharing so genuinely; just like your mom!

Love,

Kate.

 
At 5:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the most precious post - my absolute favorite.
Bless you and thank you for sharing your heart. I have learned much from this one entry........

 
At 6:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Julie, you are a wonderful daughter. You will always carry your mom inside, for you are flesh of her flesh--a part of you.

I have my mom's purse, which was sitting on her table exactly where she set it down the last evening of her life. I remember seeing it and thinking how odd that she placed it there after a nice evening with my dad, thinking she would pick it up the next day. She was feeling fine. All was well.

That night the Lord took her Home.

It has been 4 1/2 years and the ache is still there, but I can say with all sincerity that the "sting" is gone. I miss her terribly and sometimes tears will flow, but the sting and deep grief has been lifted. God will get you through this year and next year, and the year after. Life will be forever changed, but you will grow more as a woman and a mother as the haze clears and you realize how very much your mom is a part of you still.

You'll laugh more and remember more details without crying. I promise you, it will not always feel the way it feels right now.

God bless you as you work your way through this journey. You're a good daughter and you and Jennifer have been so gracious and loving to your dad's new chapter.

thank you for sharing this. It was a blessing to read.

 
At 6:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Julie, your words were breathtaking, honestly. Simply because you were so real and open and honest. Searching for just the right thing to share, you shared the best of all ..... your true innermost feelings. I love that in you...I loved that in Kristy, and I love that in Jennifer and Milton. You've all invited so many into your personal lives, that it amazes me yet today. It's made me love you and feel a part of all you are and aim to be....therefore, I salute you, Julie....for being that special daughter, the one to stand up and let the world know that it does still hurt, and that missing your Mom is real. Oh, how proud Kristy must be of you and Jennifer. You're so beautiful, so real...and so blessed! Kristy Dykes was your beautiful Mother. She embraced life, even as she embraced you...what more could you ask for in this life...and neither of you got her read hair! That's amazing...guess that too, was truly her signature!

Blessings to you and your family,
Cathy

 
At 9:41 PM, Anonymous MarthaB said...

Miss Julie, You did a great job sharing your heart. We all get stuck being busy with life that we don't get to stop and really think about the important things that have happened. You were asked to do that. I could hear the screeching of the wheels of your mind as you tried to process the greatest loss of your life. Your transparency blessed me.

 
At 12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the realness, Julie. God is good, but life is hard. Loss is hard. I can only imagine the depth of the mixture of emotions. We appreciate your sharing with us and Ijust whispered a prayer for you and yours.

Barbara Benton

 
At 5:54 AM, Blogger Barbara J. Robinson said...

Reading this brought tears to my eyes. Your mom certainly was a very special lady and a brave one. She was always thinking ahead, part of being a writer, even to the point of who would be good for your dad after she was gone.

May God bless you. I know this was hard for you to write, but I also know that writing it will help you heal and bless you as well as many others who read it.

Blessings,
Barb

 
At 5:44 PM, Blogger DayleShockley said...

Thanks for sharing your heart, Julie. Honest writing makes for some very good reading.

I only knew your mom through this blog, but there are days when I'm still filled with sadness over her untimely death. She was an amazing woman and she truly taught me how to die. I only hope I can do it as gracefully as she did.

 
At 8:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Julie, Sweetheart, you have written movingly about the Kristy I knew -- your mother, my dear friend. May you feel the sense of her loving arms embracing you.
I wish you and Jennifer and Milton all the best. Thank you for opening your heart in this post.
Love, Kathy

 

Post a Comment

<< Home