Slowly but Surely

It’s good to be back, friends. <3

Slowly but Surely
Miss this pretty face? ;)

I know… it’s been almost 5 months since I’ve been gone. I’m sorry for that. My mommy needed me and I needed to devote all my time to helping her.

From mommy: Please forgive me for taking Bailey & Nala away from all of you. Bailey has shown true courage these past few months. She can read facial expressions and understands when one of us is going through a rough time. She’s been by my side through what is probably the most difficult time in my life. My mom was not only the best mom in the world… she was my best friend, confidant, supporter, and just an amazing woman. In all the struggles in my life she has been there to get me through each and every one. But she couldn’t be there for this one.

Everything took a turn for the worse so suddenly… or maybe not so suddenly. In April, 2013, I was told that my mom had stage 4 metastatic melanoma. Besides being tired a lot and having some side effects from the medicines, she was not feeling too bad until January & February of this year. I usually went to see her every week (we lived 40 minutes away from each other). But the last time I saw her was at least 3 weeks prior to her leaving. Either she wasn’t feeling well, or the timing just wasn’t right. The weekend prior my mom was in a lot of pain. Her at-home nurse wanted her to go to the hospital, but my mom refused. When my aunt saw her that Monday, she knew she needed to go. We had no idea then that she would not be coming home. All of us held onto hope until the last couple of days.

By Tuesday morning, they knew she wouldn’t have long. Her one good kidney was not responding. She was getting worse. Taylor and I saw her that Tuesday and spent a few hours at the hospital. One of the brief times she opened her eyes, she noticed I was there beside her. She smiled and took my hand, then brought it to her lips and kissed it. My mom did not want to feel any pain. She also wanted to be sure that I would be alright. My aunt (my mom’s younger sister), who has always been like an older sister to me, made that promise to her again… one of the last times she would.

That next morning on Wednesday, my aunt made the decision to have my mom moved to hospice, so she would be able to receive the medicine she needed in order to be comfortable. When the evening came and her at-home nurse went home, I just couldn’t bring myself to leave. My niece, who’s a nurse anesthetist, came back that night to spend the night with me in the hospital. I am so glad we stayed. We made sure she was comfortable at every moment, with no pain, and prayed for her to go quickly. She needed to make sure I was going to be alright, so I told her a couple of times throughout the night that everything was fine and she didn’t have to worry — that she could go now and see her son (my brother passed away suddenly 5 years ago in February, 2009), brother, mother, father, and many friends. I didn’t think I could do that, but I couldn’t bear to see her hold on any longer. My niece did the same, and then my aunt arrived in the early morning hours and also talked to her. She wasn’t able to talk to us or acknowledge us, but we knew that only after she felt comfortable that we would be alright, would she allow herself to pass on. She quietly slipped away within 5 minutes of us all talking to her again…on February 28, 2014.

I believe that my mom was needed elsewhere. I know she is happy being surrounded by so many people that she loves and who love her. I was always afraid of being there at the end of life… But it was strangely peaceful and not as scary as I thought it would be. I am so very glad I decided to stay the entire time, and that she did not linger for days. My mom was a long-term cancer survivor — she had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at age 13 (and subsequent radiation that probably had an impact on cancers throughout her life), two bouts of breast cancer, kidney issues, heart surgery, melanoma & surgery to remove lymph nodes in her neck (I found out after her passing, about 9 years ago when she was first diagnosed with melanoma, that it had already metastasized back then… which was why she had surgery to remove her lymph nodes. She had thought and hoped they had gotten it all. A couple of years ago, a spot was found on her hip while diagnosing another issue — she did not tell me. This woman lived almost 10 years on borrowed time, and kept most of her worries out of our conversation. She did not like to talk about death a lot because she knew it would upset me. I did not talk to her about it much either, because I knew it would upset her. I now wish we would have talked even more about it… but things always happen for a reason. She lasted 10 months with Stage 4 metastatic melanoma, and then her one good kidney failed. She was ready. She had a wonderful life full of friends, had a lot of fun, and accomplished a lot of things. In the end, she did not want to remain without quality of life. We made sure her last days were as pain-free as possible. I am grateful for being the lucky one to have called her mother all these years. I am grateful that Taylor was able to grow up with a loving grandma nearby, and I’m glad my mom got to see Taylor through her 18th birthday. I’m sad that she missed her high school graduation… by 3 months.

This experience has made me question a lot of my beliefs, of which I still struggle. I always knew the day she would leave would be hard, but I honestly did not know just how difficult it would be. There is just no way to describe losing someone so treasured. I am still struggling. It’s a strong word to use, but I really hate this new normal. Some days are better than others, but I try to distract myself and smile to hide all the hurt that’s inside. My mom left me a long letter and a tape recording, which I listen to each night. I write to her in a journal. It’s been 4&#189 months since she’s been gone. I miss her terribly… every single minute of every single day. I’m thankful we talked many times each day, and said “I love you” so often.

Mom, you were the BEST mommy a daughter could ever ask for. You were the definition of perfection. I will ALWAYS hold you in my heart, and will always treasure the time we had, knowing how much you loved me. You will definitely be missed, but NEVER, EVER forgotten.

I miss you so very much, mom. I love you more. <3

~JM


Slowly but Surely
Mommy added a heart and a butterfly to
the back window of my hu-grandma’s car. :)

Slowly but Surely
I’ve sort of been on high alert the past
few months. My ears have gotten very sensitive!

Something New…


Slowly but Surely
This was my old bed. It was comfy, but I usually
ended up hanging off the end of it. I didn’t mind…
I like to hang off the edge of stuff anyway. ;)

Slowly but Surely
But a few months ago I came in from the backyard,
and there was a NEW BED in my spot! I quickly got in.
It was so comfy I drifted off for a moment.

Slowly but Surely
This new bed has edges so I won’t fall out!
Well, I could probably fall out if I wanted to. ;)
I could even hang my leg over the side!

Slowly but Surely
It’s so big that my whole body fits inside!

Slowly but Surely
Fits me perfectly, I think. :)

Slowly but Surely
Lots of times I duck down and hide.
See? Where’s Bailey? No clue! ;)

Nala Update…

The last time I posted about Nala, she wasn’t doing too well. My hu-family didn’t know how long she’d have. But she made it through and is still walking all over me! Ah haha.


Slowly but Surely
She still stands a little crooked sometimes.
That’s thanks to vestibular syndrome.

Slowly but Surely
And she got a haircut recently! Nala hasn’t let
anyone brush her for the longest time, so her fur
got really matted. Sooo, mommy thought it was best to
have her shaved a bit. She also got a &#189 hour massage!

Slowly but Surely
We’re still close as ever. Even closer since
Nala trips over me at least once a day!
Like I’m not big enough to see. Teehee! ;)

Slowly but Surely
Ah, I love her anyway. <3

Slowly but Surely
Well friends, that’s about it for now.
I’ll be back soon. Tell the truth… did ya miss me?
I missed you! <3

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Happy woofs & hugs, friends! <3

~Bailey (Yep, I'm a girl)
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*Extra Woofies*
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10 Responses
  1. Anna the GSD says:

    Welcome back Bailey! I took a vacay too. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your mom’s mom. We will think of you and put you in our prayers. Also for Nala, Duncan has had two bouts of CVD in the last year, so we understand the sometimes wonkiness.
    Anna the GSD recently posted..Operation: Black Blur of FuryMy Profile

  2. Julie says:

    Biggest hugs my friend. You have one strong Mom there. I am sure it was a challenge to write this blog entry. She is probably very proud that you found the strength to do so and share her story.

  3. Sam says:

    Oh welcome back. I’ve been so worried about you and have thought of you often. Please know lots of folks have thought of you, and have been sending you hugs and love.

    Monty and Harlow – and their Mom, Christine
    Sam recently posted..In which we receive an award…My Profile

    • Bailey says:

      Thank you so very much! I’ve been thinking of you and everyone too! I’ve definitely missed a lot! Hugs, woofs & love! <3

  4. Oh mate, hugs to you. Reading your post bought back memories for me too. My mum has been gone 4 1/2 years and my dad 2 and I miss them each and every day. I too had a wonderful relationship with my mum and her last words to me (and I will treasure them all my life) were “I love you and I love your family”). She passed away the next morning in hospital. I sat with her for the next four hours after she passed and leaving her was the hardest thing I have ever done. Take care and know you are thought of in Oz. No worries, and love, Carol
    Stella and Rory from down under recently posted..Mum takes an amazing photo. Of me, Stella!My Profile

  5. Frankie and Ernie says:

    DEAR One,
    Please know how sorry I am to hear of your Loss. We TOTALLY understand your needing time away to tend to your Beloved Mother and then to begin coping with losing her.
    We are just GLAD that you felt comfortable Sharing with us.. and that you have returned to us. We are here if you need us. LOVE, Lana and the Boys…

  6. It’s so wonderful to see you and hear from you all once again.

    Oh how I understand your post so very well. So well in fact, it could have been written by me. Losing my Mom 6+ years ago was the worst day in my life. Being there for her as she drew her last breath made me (later) realize that it was one of the ‘greatest gifts’ I’ve ever given her. I laid in her bed, cradled her in my arms and assured her quietly that I would be OK and that I now would be the “glue” that holds the family together. (I now have very big shoes to fill.) Our last conversation allowed her to pass peacefully.

    I was extremely lucky to have spent every day of the last 3 months of her life with her. I can replay in my head every hug, every kiss, every conversation and every I love you shared between us.

    Not a day goes by that I don’t think of my beautiful Mother and it ALWAYS comes with tears. I won’t tell you it gets any better over time because it doesn’t! But I can tell you that over the years the anger of losing her slowly subsides and allows my heart to be a little bit lighter and brighter.

    Back in the 80’s my Mom gave me a sealed, thick envelope and told me to put it away for “when the time comes.” Over the years she would ask for the envelope back. She would keep it for days, reseal it and return it to me. I have had it tucked away in my jewelry box for over 30+ years. To this day, I still have not opened it. I know I am not strong enough yet to do so. I hope and pray that someday I will be able to find the strength. Somehow I know that Mom understands…..

    Like you, I too am extremely blessed to have had the best Mother in the world!

    As you travel this new journey in your life, please know you are not alone. I am here with you, holding your hand.

    Much love,
    Kim

    • Bailey says:

      Hi Kim. :) Thank you so very much for your kind words — they are definitely very comforting! In this world where I now feel so alone, I know I am truly not. I am so sorry for your loss, and am sending you the biggest hugs. Much love, ~JM