A Mother's Death, A Daughter's Tears

My mother died on 5/11/05 after fighting lung cancer for over 14 months. This blog will document my journey of coming to grips with the loss of the most important woman in my life.

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

My real name is Kim and I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota USA. I am 44 years old, married, and have two step-daughters. I own five parrots & one dog, a Miniature Schnauzer. I have a pet sitting business http://parrotnanniesmn.com/.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Happy 70th Birthday, Mom!

If my Mom were still alive, today would have been her 70th birthday.  I miss her so much!  Today I took a bunch of lilac blooms out to her grave--they were her favorite flower.  I remember that, as a kid, she'd have me sneak into the neighbor's yard at night to snip a few lilac blooms from their many bushes.  She'd put them in her bedroom, in the living room, & in the kitchen.  The entire house would be filled with their scent!  I miss you, Mom.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Time Goes By

Lots of time has gone by since my last post. Lots of things have happened in my life since then as well as in the lives of my siblings that make us really wish that Mom was still alive.

My oldest step-daughter is going off to college next week. This is something I never thought I'd experience, having a child that I've come to love go off to college! Gwen, my eldest step-daughter, has really grown a lot since I met her over three years ago & I am so proud of the young woman that she's grown into. I will miss her. My Mom would be amazed that I am even saying this since I swore to her while I was alive that I'd never get involved with a man who had kids--yet I did!

I'm not at liberty to post what is happening in the lives of my siblings but I know that they both miss Mom very much. Right now, my sister is having issues that I know she wishes Mom was here to support her with & I pray that Mom is watching down from Heaven & is sending loving vibes to my sister. I know I am.

The grief still hasn't gone away & I don't think it ever will. I think about my Mom everyday--until I stop doing that, the grief will probably continue to throb in my heart. It is not nearly as sharp as it used to be, though. That is a blessing.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Finally An Update.....

Well, it has been a long time since I updated this blog, and for that I apologize. Shortly after my last entry, my life really spun out of control & eventually went in directions I never thought it would go. Throughout all of the changes my life has undergone since my last entry, one thing has remained constant--that my mother is gone & that I miss her very much.

First off, I am no longer married to the man that I spoke about in my previous entries. My ex-husband continued continued drinking while taking his medication for the treatment of bipolar disorder & he got to the point where he became physically abusive towards me. We did reunite one last time after my last blog entry when my ex-husband came back to the house, but in October 2007 he tried to hurt me again & I had to have him arrested for domestic abuse.

That was the end of the line for me, finally. We separated in permanently in October 2007 & our divorce was finalized in June 2008. Between the time we separated & the date our divorce became final, I went through a counseling program for abused women at a local domestic abuse program...I truly believe it helped save my life & keep my sanity during that awful time in my life. I urge all people who are in abusive relationship to get help! You do have options other than staying with your abusive partner!

In February 2008, my ex-husband's mother died of cancer as well & I was not able to say good-bye to her while she was still alive, which saddens me to this day. I really loved my ex-mother-in-law because she was a very kind & loving woman who always loved me. I did go to her memorial ceremony, although my now ex-husband was there as well. I miss her very much.

Life wasn't all bad during this period...I met my current husband face-to-face for this first time in February 2008 as well! Crazy, I know! I had been chatting with him online as a friend for many years prior to our meeting at a Baker's Square restaurant so that he could buy some jewelry I'd made for his daughters & even though I was not looking to start another romantic relationship so soon, I guess God had other plans for me because there was an instant bond between us the first time we laid eyes upon each other! We began dating & quickly fell deeply in love & we were married on 12/28/2008! He is a wonderful, kind, caring, & intelligent man & I am so glad we are married! Both of his daughters from his first marriage live with us now...talk about a big change for me! Me, living with kids & being a step-mother! I love his daughters very much & I am happy to have them in my life.

Another event happened in December 2008 as well...I was laid off from my job of over 13 years! Needless to say, that was a major blow for me to deal with & is one I'm still suffering from today. I am still looking for work! I have sent out so many resumes I've lost count, gone on dozens of interviews but have had no luck in finding another full-time job. This has been a hard thing for me to deal with because I've worked all of my life since high school & being out of work for so long has really dealt a blow to my self-esteem. However, I keep plugging away in the hopes that something will come along sooner or later. In the meantime, I continue working as a pet-sitter with my best friend...we started our own pet sitting company in February 2007 & we are still in business.

Other events:

I had to give my dog Milo up for adoption because he was just to much for me to handle. He was a good dog & found a great home. I now serve as a foster home for the rescue organization that placed him & have helped several other dogs find a new home since then....one with me.

Two of my beloved dogs had to be put to sleep...my Welsh Terrier Kirby & my Miniature Schnauzer Joe. Kirby was very old & had many health issues that had made his quality of life very poor & so I had to have him put to sleep in July 2009. I'd had him since October 1997 when I adopted him from a local rescue group & he was a great dog.

Joe was a Miniature Schnauzer I adopted in July 2007 from the rescue group I volunteer with. He was dog I began fostering shortly after my last blog post in May 2007...he was given up along with 10 other dogs by a woman who was dying of cancer & who had to give up her breeding dogs. She ran a puppy mill! Joe, along with the other rescued dogs, were all in terrible condition when the rescue group got them--Joe had to have 30 teeth pulled because he'd suffered from a lack of dental care & had a raging long-term infection in his mouth from the rotting teeth. Because of this long-term infection, Joe's kidneys were damaged & could no longer function properly & in February 2010 he went into acute kidney failure for a second time & the vet was unable to do anything to help him & so I had to put him to sleep to end his suffering. I miss him very much.

However, I did adopt another dog I was fostering in April 2009, another puppy mill breeding dog that was saved from a puppy mill in either Missouri or Iowa. His name is Carl & he is a white Miniature Schnauzer; he's currently my only dog & my entire family loves him very much. We consider ourselves very lucky to have him!

The parrots I mentioned in my last blog entry went on to find new homes. I currently have five parrots: a Blue & Gold Macaw, two Congo African Greys, a White Capped Pionus parrot, and a Lovebird. All of them are birds I've had for a long time except for the Lovebird which I adopted from a pet sitting client who could no longer keep him.

I often wondered what my Mother would have said & done throughout this period of my life...she loved me very much & only wanted me to be happy. While I was going through the final throes of my break-up with my ex-husband, I really longed for her to be alive & able to lean on when I needed it. She loved my ex-husband but several months before she died, she told me that I really needed to end my relationship because of the pain it was causing me. She hated seeing me being abused & was torn up by it all. I feel badly that she had to deal with the pain of seeing me being hurt while she herself was dealing with her cancer. I know that she never stopped being a mother to me no matter what.

I wonder more so about what she would have said & done as she watched me fall in love with another man so quickly after the final separation from my ex-husband. In hindsight, for me my marriage to my ex-husband really ended in 2005 I really wasn't ready to let go until October 2007. I was very co-dependent & that is why I stayed with my ex-husband for so long.

I am sure my Mother would have advised me not to get into another romantic relationship so soon, and I assure you that I had every intention of waiting a long time to get involved with someone else, but as I said before in this post, God had other plans for me. I would like to think that if my Mother was still alive as I was falling in love with my current husband that she would have eventually given me her blessing when she saw what a wonderful man he was & how right we were, and still are, for each other.

My current husband has gone with me on visits to my Mother's grave & he is very sad that he never got to meet her in person. He tells me that he feels like he knew her from all the stories I've told him about her & when he goes with me to visit her grave, he tells her that he loves me very much & that he promises to love me & take care of me. I can only hope that my Mother hears his words & can see how happy I am with this man & that she finally has some peace in knowing that I am okay.

I also really wonder what my Mother would have reacted to me become a step-mother! I always told her when she was alive that I never wanted children of my own & if that I ever did get romantically involved with another man, I'd make sure it was a man who didn't have kids. Well, the joke turned out to be on me! Not only did I fall in love with a man with two teenage daughters (ages 17 & 15 now) but both eventually ended up moving in to live with my husband & I full-time!

I think that my Mother would have been had a good laugh about this situation, among other things! I would like to think that she'd be proud of me as she watched me learn to deal with living with children & having to learn how to do some parenting first-hand. I hope she would have been supportive & would have given me advice when I needed it.

It is because of this situation that I have really come to an even better understanding of what it is like to be a mother, albeit a step-mother in my case, & has made me appreciate my own Mother even more. I have come to really love my step-daughters almost as if they were my own flesh & blood & I now worry about them & mother them in the same fashion my Mother did for me & it is because of this that I now have a better understand all the hard work my Mother faced in having children. I want to say to her right now THANK YOU!

My Mother wasn't perfect, not by a long shot, but up until I became a step-mother I only had a vague idea of how hard it is to be a parent, even if I'm 'only' a step-parent. I was kind of a second mother to my younger sister for many years, but that is simply not the same thing. Being a parent of any type is hard work, but I think being a mother is the hardest of all.

I know Mom would have been proud of that fact that I've finally expanded my cooking skills--my ex-husband almost all of the cooking when we were together. Up until Thanksgiving 2009, I had never cooked my own turkey before! I am 44 years old & have only made two Thanksgiving turkeys in my life--both turned out great, thanks to the advice of my best friend. I think my Mom would have been amazed that I could cook a great turkey.

As you can now see, my life has really gone in some directions I never thought it would at the time I wrote my previous entry to this blog. One thing has not changed: how badly I miss my Mom, how I still think about her everyday & miss her company, & how I am still mourning the fact that she's gone from this world. I miss her so much.

I do believe in God & Heaven. I do believe that my Mom went to Heaven after she died because she was a good person at heart & I believe she tried to do her best most of the time. I hope that, someday, I will see her again & will be able to hear her voice & feel her hug me. When that time comes, I hope that she'll say she'd proud of me. I am proud that she was my mother.

Friday, May 11, 2007

2 Years Gone & It Still Hurts

My Mom died two years ago today at a hospital in Crosby, Minnesota from lung cancer. She's been 2 years gone and it still hurts emotionally, sometimes badly. Two years of living life without my Mother, two years without hearing her voice or feeling her touch. Two years....

Random memories flashed through my mind today, all day, about what happened on this day two years ago.

I remember I was the one that shut off the IV unit that was dripping fluids into her arm after she had died.

I was the one who called her only remaining close relatives alive, her aunt and uncle, I remember calling them but I don't remember what we said to one another. I also remember calling my father, her ex-husband, and telling him that she had died; I remember hearing his voice fill with tears and wondering what was going through his mind at that exact moment.

I remember going out to eat at the local cafe that was open for dinner, the waitress asking us how are day had been, and telling her my Mom had died earlier in the day. That caught her by surprise and she didn't know what to say, except that she was sorry. The look in her eyes went from being very friendly to sad.

My husband & I stayed in my Mom's apartment that night, although she hadn't lived there in months because at the end, she was living with my sister. It was so surreal to be in that apartment, finding a grocery list unfinished, Valentine's Day cards that never got mailed because she took a turn for the worst and went to live with my sister right before the holiday, smelling her in the sheets and pillows.

Then, of course, we had to arrange to have her body brought back from Crosby, Minnesota to Minneapolis for the funeral and burial. More random memories...

I remember the casket we liked best was one that looked like knotty pine paneling, which was what lined the walls of the family cabin and that was Mom's most favorite place to be. Then we found out it was the cremation casket and couldn't be used for a regular burial. What a weird thing to remember.

Lilacs were my Mom's favorite flower and they had bloomed early that year. Many bushes had few flowers on them, but mine the backyard had some. The funeral director did a wonderful thing; he brought in lilac blooms from the bushes in his own backyard because he knew they were important to us. He did not charge us extra for that.

I remember seeing my father crying at the graveside ceremony and I asked him why he was crying. Why did I ask him that? He had spent over 20 years of life with my Mom and fathered three children with her; was he crying because he still loved her in a way? He told me it was because he hated seeing "his girls", meaning my sister and I, hurting. Even then, beside the grave of the woman he'd been legally married to for 24 years, he couldn't admit that he might be crying because maybe he still loved her, maybe he regretted leaving her, or maybe he was telling the truth.

His wife, the woman he left my Mom for, was beside him and she was crying too. I felt little emotion about it at that time, but now I wonder what her tears were for. I never asked her why she was crying and I never will. But I did see her in a new light that day; she cared for my Mom, someway, somehow. By that point in time, I no longer felt any anger toward her for role in the break-up of my parent's marriage. The part of me that blamed her, the part of me that was still a little girl, was almost completely gone by then. Seeing her cry made that part of me go away forever.

I remember being at the cemetery, after the graveside ceremony was over, listening to my sister wailing that she didn't want to leave Mom alone to be put into the cold, hard ground. I didn't either, but I kept silent because I knew it had to happen. I tried to comfort her. It did no good. Her husband had to pull her away from the casket.

Random memories. Why did I remember these things today? What meaning can be found in these memories of the day of my Mother's death and the days immediately afterward? I look that them now, in writing, and see no pattern really, no reason why these are the memories that jumped out at me today. Sometimes, memories are like that, random and without reason.

I did not go to her grave today. I will go tomorrow, the day after her death anniversary and the day before Mother's Day this year. I will take her the lilac blooms off of the small bush in my backyard and maybe a few from the neighbor's bush, I will put them on her grave, and I will share my memories with her. And I will cry, and at least I will know and understand why I'm crying.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Spring is in the air, as is sadness and bittersweet memories...

On May 11th, 2005, my Mom died of lung cancer. Her birthday was May 3rd. And, of course, Mother's Day is coming up. I've found myself thinking about her a lot more often than usual lately. Facing the last two years alone, without my Mom, has been a nightmare sometimes. Yet, the way things have happened at certain times make me think my Mom is up there watching out for me, doing what she can to help me; I get an extra day of work at the synagogue when I really need the cash, or the chance to work at the pet bird store happening just as I ran out of bird food, or my friend Julie just happens to call or come over when I really feeling down and out.

This time of year is so bittersweet for me now. It used to be my favorite time of the year because everything is coming alive again, the snows of winter have melted, everything is turning green, and the mosquitoes have not hatched out yet so a person can actually enjoy being outside. Everything seems so fresh and new and alive. Plus, of course, it was the time of year to celebrate my Mom's birthday and Mother's Day back to back. Her favorite present was for us to bring her fresh cuttings of lilac flowers. Lilac flowers were her favorites because of the way they smelled and how beautiful and lush they appear.

Now, this time of year is tinged by the date of her death, May 11th. It has been almost two full years since she died of lung cancer, in the Spring, only days after her birthday and Mother's day in 2005. She died as the lilacs bloomed; I remember they adorned her casket. I cut them off my own lilac bush, which is a small one; I cut all the blooms off to put on her casket. I stripped the bush bare of its flowers, just as death had stripped the flower of my Mother from my life. Other people who came to her visitation and services brought lilac blooms too; everything smelled of lilacs and other flowers in the room she was in at the mortuary. How ironic that she'd die during what was her favorite time of year as well.

Why do things happen the way they do? Who can say? Only God can and I hope someday I'll be judged good enough by Him to stand before Him to get my question answered. Why do things happen the way they do?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

It's been a long time....

Its been a long time since I've written anything here. My life has gotten to be so crazy that I haven't had time to do much of anything except work, work, work, care for my animals, and try to care for my husband.

Since I last wrote, I have gotten a new dog and taken in two parrots, one of which will be going to a new home soon and the other I've fallen in love with. The dog is a Miniature Schnauzer puppy my husband & I got back is September; we named him Milo and he's insane. I know my Mom thinks I'm insane right now for having all of these pets. Sometimes I think I'm insane too.

My husband came home from a halfway house he was living at, but things didn't go well and for reasons I won't mention, he's not living here at the house again. That is all I want to say about that.

I'm working three jobs to make ends meet, plus trying to get a pet sitting service off the ground with a friend of mine. It's called The Parrot Nannies of Minnesota Inc and we specialize in taking care of parrots in the client's home. We just got incorporated, bonded, and insured. We also will take care of other pets too.

I think my Mom would be proud that I'm trying to start my own business doing something I love. Chances are, we won't make it but at least I can say we tried to do something we loved as work!

Things have been hard for me lately; I've been feeling really lonely and depressed since my husband had to leave. Even though things were not perfect with him at home again, there were some nice moments that gave me hope things might turn out alright after all. Now...I don't think so.

I know my Mom is watching out for me. I feel her with me sometimes, guiding me. Other times, when I need money or help and have no idea what to do, a solutions appears out of the blue and I know she's up There trying to help me out. Still, it isn't the same as if she were here alive with me.

Well, I don't know what else to say right now. I'm pretty tired. I think I'll go to bed. You all have a good night.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Summertime, hot warm evenings on the lake fishing for crappies. My Mom sitting at the back of the boat, her job was to run the motor & mine was to take care of dropping & lifting the anchor at the front of the boat. My little sister sat in the middle seat of the boat, fishing pole in hand. The sun shining above us as we pulled away from the dock for another evening of fishing. Across the lake we puttered in the big green fiberglass boat with the 9 HP motor, which was to small for the boat, but it got us to our fishing spot night after night without fail. Some nights we didn't catch anything, some nights we caught tons of fish, and each night was fun. Sitting in the golden light of the setting sun on Lake Morrison, all those years ago....thinking it would always be that way, always.

That was years ago, when I was a child and when the world was a totally different place. Summers at the family cabin seemed endless, even boring by the time August rolled around. Me, my Mom, and my sister spend every summer up there, next to two cabins that belonged to my Mom's grandmother (later her uncle) and my Mom's only paternal uncle. We spent the summers mixing with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins....it was so much fun.

My Mom loved it at the cabin, it was her favorite place to be.