Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Back Home in Sunny Florida

I'm back home in sunny Florida, and the relief I feel by being here is tremendous.  It's not just about escaping the cold Philly weather for balmy mid-70 degree temps here in the Sunshine State, though that's a huge bonus.  It's mostly about the emotional rollercoaster this past week was for us, and how we feel like we can breathe again now that we're home.

Girls, the past week has been totally awful.  I saw and experienced things this past week that will be burned into my brain forever, some good, some bad.  I won't go into the gory details, but trust me when I say that I've had my fill of bad stuff for awhile.

Last Monday, we went to Philadelphia to see my husband's mom, who became very ill a few weeks ago.  We moved her to hospice on Monday afternoon because there was nothing more the doctors could do for her.  She looked and sounded so scared and uncomfortable that day, and my heart broke into a million pieces seeing her this way.  When she was moved to hospice, she was given a number of medications that finally, finally, put her at ease.  I thanked the Lord for everything the hospice doctors and nurses did for her, making her comfortable after a long period of struggle.

Hubs and I know that Jane is right where she's suppose to be because she's surrounded by the things she loves most:  a yellow stuffed bear, yellow daisies with butterflies, a butterfly sign made by a family friend, and several photographs of butterflies in and around her room.


In her room

Flowers that Hubs and I brought her, with butterflies, of course!

I am so thankful that Hubs and I were there to support his dad during this time, because I really don't think he would have known what to do without us.  Hubs helped his dad with insurance forms, finding things around the house, and calling the family with status updates.  I stayed with his mom in hospice, helped with a few things back at the house and generally kept everyone sane.  Hubs and I also visited the funeral home and made some arrangements for when Hubs' mom's time finally does come. That was a totally surreal experience for me (picking out caskets, discussing burial plots, gathering information for an obituary) and not one that I'll soon forget.  I was there to hold my hubby's hand, rub his back and give him hugs as he did all of these things that made him sad. 

While staying with my mother-in-law in hospice, I made good friends with the nursing staff, including Ro, an older Italian volunteer who taught me how to make homemade pizza dough (I'll share in a future post), gave me marital advice and gave me hugs when things got hard.  The other nurses were sweet but straight-shooters who didn't beat around the bush when it came to my mother-in-law's situation.  I appreciated that with every fiber of my being.  I don't want to be bullshitted at a time like this, you know?

My mother-in-law's friends and family came to hospice to visit her and talk about what a wonderful woman she is.  It's amazing how many lives she has touched by her kind and inspirational words and endless encouragement.  I was grateful to see the local family and for their home-cooked meals.  Just having time to spend with family and eat real food (not fast food or hospital food) made a world of difference.  Nothing we ate was healthy, but it was tasty and made us smile, which we needed so much.  Here are a few of our delectable dishes...

Italian Godfather's Feast:  Cavatelli with family "gravy", meatballs, pork, hot sausage and braciole
Pizzelles and Chocolate Chip Cannolis

Despite being surrounded by family, I felt somewhat disconnected from the rest of the world last week because the hospital didn't have Wi-Fi access.  Since we pretty much lived at the hospital for 7 days, it was a little tricky.  I looked for a Starbucks, where I could take a break with my favorite coffee and browse the internet for a bit, but there was no Starbucks to be found!!  I looked at areas around the hospital and in Wilmington, DE, where we were staying with Hubs' Godfather, and NADA.  ZIP.  ZERO.  Can you believe there are places with no Starbucks??  I didn't see any kind of coffee shop, in fact.  I think everyone buys their coffee at Wawa, which has awesome coffee, but NO WI-FI.  Ugh.  I managed to survive by draining my cell phone battery and eating up my data package, but I was so grateful for the service (aka the mental escape) that I didn't care what I exhausted.

Coming home from Philly was bittersweet.  My mother-in-law is still in hospice and fighing every day.  We love her and wish we were there with her right now, but we had no choice but to come home (thanks to having limited amounts of available vacation time at our jobs).  We are somewhat glad to be home, too, to sleep in our own bed, see the pup, and try get a few things done at the casa. 

We flew home on Sunday night, and immediately went to pick up Bella at her babysitters' house. Bella girl was so, SO excited to see us, and I couldn't stop hugging her! It's amazing how much I missed my dog when I couldn't see her for a full week. She's snuggling up against me right now, melting my heart with her sweetness. We did miss most of the Super Bowl due to our flight and picking up the dog, which was a bit of a bummer for me, but thanks to the magic of YouTube, I can see all of the best commercials and the halftime show now.

We'll see what the next few days bring us.  We may need to rush back to Philly again soon, but we're ready this time.  Thanks once again to everyone who checked in with me over the past week or so, and for your thoughts and prayers for my family.  I think the prayers worked and have led her to living out her final days in comfort.

I'm glad to be back, and I've got so much blog reading to catch up on.  Because I had some time to think and reflect this week, I also have 20-ish blog posts half-written in the notes app on my iPhone.  I'm going to get crackin' on those as soon as I can.

Love you all!!! 

2 comments:

Betty said...

I'm so glad you were able to spend that time with her and surround her with love and comfort. Keeping you, her, and your family in our prayers.

Andi said...

I'm sorry to hear about your mother-in-law, Kari. It's so awesome that she's been surrounded by so much love. What a blessed woman she is!


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Tampa, Florida, United States
I'm a wife, daughter and amazing twin sister. I'm a mom to my adorable dog, Bella. Loves: Shopping, cooking, baking, good grammar and Dave Matthews Band. I'm also a Bath and Body Works addict, a Michigan State Spartans fanatic, and an iPhone aficionado. I see beauty in simple things and little things make me ever-so-happy. Welcome to my world!


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