It’s been difficult to pop onto my blog. By now, I should have written a happy after Craft and Hobby Association trade show post with lots of smiling selfies with my artsy/crafty peeps. For those of you looking for this, I’m very sorry I haven’t been able to get that up. The reason why is that 2016 CHA was unlike any other I’ve attended in the past 10 years I’ve been going.
I flew into Anaheim on Friday to the awesome newly-built ICE Resin booth by Ranger Ink. Susan and myself and our associates at Ranger quickly got to work hanging up the shelving and hooks for all the beautiful art samples. Then it was on to Susan’s class from 6-9 p.m., then dinner and then back at the hotel and in bed by 11:30 for the first day of the show. Opening day was amazing! A whirlwind filled with hours of doing ICE Resin demos and talking to buyers and distributors and designer friends. After the show was the official Ranger team dinner (oh my goodness, so much fun to be part of a new big family!) Sunday morning was another big day because it was the Ranger VIP event where 68 important industry peeps come by before the show floor opens for a tour of new product releases by Ranger’s Signature Designers. From that event, we went straight into doing demos at the booth.
Then at about 2 p.m. I received a text from my husband saying my elderly mother had a stroke and he had found her on the bathroom floor, where she had fallen. By God’s grace, he had stopped in to check on her within 30 minutes after the stroke. He called 911 and off to ICU she went. When I received the text, I walked off the show floor to call him and my sister. Both told me to stay put and do my job until they knew more. I had a sold-out class to teach Monday morning, so I was waiting to see if I needed to immediately hop on a plane home or if I could wait until I finished teaching. Turns out the emergency team was able to stabilize her and my family encouraged me to stay and teach. Susan and everyone at the Ranger team told me time and again to follow my heart and family first, above all else, which of course is true. I couldn’t have had any more support. They were wonderful.
I left Anaheim with my brain going in all directions. My husband picked me up and took me to the hospital to see mom. I sat with her until visiting hours were over. Over the next two days I learned the hemorrhagic stroke caused a massive brain bleed. Doctors had to take her off her Coumadin. She’s been living with AFib for a decade, but her weak heart needed a stint and her body was not strong enough to undergo surgery. Not to mention her heart doctor wouldn’t do the surgery with an active brain bleed. She couldn’t swallow and was on a feeding tube and IV for liquids. My sister and I didn’t wish for my mother’s life to end in ICU. The hospital’s hospice coordinator found us a beautiful 24/7 hospice facility. The hospice staff was wonderful. They made her comfortable with maximum oxygen and pain medicine, and she finally slept soundly and deeply.
Unable to process how quickly she left us (in comparison to my father), my sister was the first to post the news on her Facebook page. Later in the day, I finally wrote a long and flowery status update. I also found a memory necklace I had made using her high school photo and her favorite colors of red and purple. Here is what I wrote:
Posted January 14th, 2016 on my Facebook page-
Thank you for all the lovely condolences and heartfelt sentiments today. As many of you know from my sister Patti, our mother Marjorie passed away at 5 a.m. today. I’ve spent the morning doing everything I can to stay present. I have photographs from her as she’s aged and photos with her and my children, but I wanted to share a memory necklace I made in 2010. This photo is from 1947 when she was 17 years old and a senior at her all-girls high school. She loved this photo. Whenever she looked it at, she would say “Look at me, Jennifer, I was beautiful. I had a waist your dad could span with his fingers.” I would tell her “Yes, mama you ARE beautiful!”
My mother was all about children and babies. She raised two generations of her own children and then her twin grandbabies from my brother. When I was a kid, she worked the church nursery taking care of other people’s babies. When my son came along, she was 68 years old and my dad was 70. They took care of my son from six months to 4 years old while I worked three days a week. They were too old by the time my daughter came along to spend much time with her, but they loved her so much too,
We got her settled into a beautiful hospice facility yesterday. I was able to tell her it was OK for her to go be with my dad and my brother, her father and mother and best friend Dot. I thanked her for giving me and my siblings life so we could live these amazing lives of ours and I told her we would all be OK even though we would miss her. When I gave her a kiss goodbye on her forehead, she was sleeping peacefully because the hospice nurses had made her comfortable. She never woke up. I believe she literally just let go and let God.
My sister has spent many years caring for my parent’s physical needs, while I have done whatever I needed to do for paperwork, finances, etc. It is just the two of us left, and I’m so incredibly fortunate to have such an amazing/beautiful/talented big sister.
Thank you for the kindness you have all shown us these past few days. I know many, many of you have lost dear ones as well. How lucky are we to have loved them in the first place?! Let’s promise to keep faith, keep hope and always share the love. In the end, it’s really all about the love.