Tag Archives: grandchildren

Mom’s Tree

christmas tree

We all went to my dad’s tonight to decorate his Christmas tree.  He ordered some sandwiches, I brought some Christmas cookies and after we ate we got to work decorating.  His tree is huge and there are hundreds of ornaments.  Mom would never had settled for a little tree.  The number of ornaments would never allow for that!  After Tim and Dave got the tree standing, Tim, Drew and I hung the lights.  Drew, Gabi and Mikey all found ornaments that they had given to mom and they hung those themselves.  Kathi got to work organizing all the “sets,”  they all had themes and since they were handmade, mom was very particular about them all hanging together.  Dad sat on the couch and directed where certain ornaments MUST be hung.  Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus and Mr. and Mrs. Snowman are always displayed proudly at the top of the tree so we used DJ for his height to get them up there without a ladder.  We had to search through several boxes to find one that our Aunt Ellen had made them when they were first married.  She is coming for Christmas this year and dad wanted to be sure that it was hung prominently on the tree.

The first ornament that went on the tree wasn’t homemade.  I don’t even remember where it was from.  It looks fairly new.  It was the first one Drew pulled out of the ornament box.  It was a simple circle with the letter E in the middle.  We hung it front and center on the tree.  The kids chose ornaments that we will bring to the cemetery this weekend.  For Francine, they chose a glittery, silver, shiny, ornate one. . It totally screamed “FRANCINE”, it was so her!  Even Tim agreed it was perfect.  For mom, they chose one that read, “Best Grandma.”  My grandfather is buried there too and so is my great aunt Dee, so we found one for each of them as well.

It was hard to be completely in the spirit of Christmas, but the kids were having so much fun and watching them, it was hard not to feel the joy.  It brought back so many memories from when we were little. That anticipation of Christmas and how hard it is to wait!!  What they were hoping to get…. all the same conversations we always had as kids.  My dad kept saying how proud mom would be and how much she’d love the way we decorated it this year.  In the past, mom was always very particular about the tree that they would get.  Their trees weren’t always perfect, often lopsided sometimes too tall, or too fat, but I have to say, this year, the tree really is one that mom would have loved and seeing it filled with all of her ornaments I think my dad is right.



baby quotesIt is the day before my son’s birthday.  I remember this day so clearly even though it was 16  years ago.   I can remember this day even more clearly than the day he was born.  The excitement of the unknown…waiting for my husband to come home from work.  Going to the hospital, my whole family in the waiting room!!  The first grandchild!  No one would leave ’till he was born.  At the time we did not know if it would be a girl or a boy.  We had names picked for either.  It would be the last few hours of going from just the two of us, to a family of three.  I had a very easy pregnancy and a fairly easy labor.  It would still be hours (6 1/2 to be exact) before he would come but I knew that our lives were about to change forever – and they have, but only for the better!



The passing of my mom will be the first experience with death that my children will have.   They have lost elderly aunts, and it was sad for them, but this going to be very different for them.  My mom saw them nearly every single day.  Both of my boys have an incredibly close relationship with her.  My boys are old enough to understand what is going on and that there is a cycle to life – that everything is born, lives, and dies.

Although my mom has not been well for many years, this was very sudden.  We had to give the boys an opportunity to be a part of the family grieving and to have the chance to say “goodbye.” Today we brought them to the ICU.  No children are allowed but they made an exception in this case.  My sister brought her daughter Gabi as well.  My oldest son, visited her earlier in the week so he decided to wait for the younger kids to say goodbye.  Drew and Gabi went in with Dave, my sister and me.  At first Drew would only look through the glass doors.  He was nervous.  I told him that he did not have to go in, but he finally came in.  He would not stand close to the bed.  Neither did Gabi.  We had prepared them for how she would look with all of the machines going in and out of her.  Drew asked me if he could say goodbye to her without Gabi and Kathi in the room.  We asked them if they wanted time first but Gabi was sad and ready to leave.  After they left, Drew went right up to her, put his head down on her and sobbed.  He told her how much he loved her and how much he was going to miss her.  I had held it together this whole time until that moment.  Dave and I both could not help but cry.  It was such a sweet and innocent moment.  I had doubted myself all day, wondering if I should have let him go up and see her but seeing him with her, and talking to her is something that he will remember and hopefully cherish forever.

DJ had a chance to say goodbye, but we let him have his privacy.

My family and I have been discussing all week on how we are going to tell my own grandma.  She is 97 years old and in great health.  Other than some walking and hearing problems, she is doing great.  She is my dad’s mom, but she and my mom have been best friends since my parents got married 47 years ago.  She and my mom have a unique relationship.  There are no nightmare mother-in-law stories for her.  My dad’s biggest fear is that seeing my mom like this will have such a negative affect on her, it could send her into a downward spiral.  Today we spoke with hospice and they told us that we really should let my grandma make the decision on whether or not she wants to say goodbye.  My sister and dad took a few photos of her that we could show her.

This evening, my father, brothers, sister, sister-in-law and cousin all met at my grandma’s house for dinner.  We told her all about mom and showed her the pictures.  She made the choice not to go there.  She wants to remember my mom they way she was.  I am happy with her choice.   Her memories of my mom will keep her going.  She is a strong woman and the head of a very big, loving family.  Together we will all get through this.

Tomorrow will be the most difficult day of all of our lives.  I am glad that we got the chance to say goodbye and tell her how much we love her.  Turning of life support will not be easy, but knowing that she can be at peace and finally breathe on her own is giving me comfort.