Thursday, April 3, 2014

Life is What Happens When Your Planning for the Future

Yesterday I got fresh strawberries and today I got an angel food cake and we met our family friends at their camper. Jim and Mildred Meeker have been friends with my parents since my mom and dad first moved into their first home. Sadly, that home was taken away during a tornado in May 1985.

However, my parents spent over a decade as next door neighbors to the Meekers'. But let me say, even when the Meekers' weren't our next door neighbors, they were close to our hearts. I remember visiting Gayle Pratt & her family when they lived in Florida.

I remember my mom crying when she found out they weren't going to be our next door neighbors and were moving to Colorado. But that didn't mean they didn't spend years together as neighbors and friends. Tonight, Jim and Mildred shared with me memories I had heard, some old stories I hadn't and reminded me how simple life once was. When sitting out back on my deck with my mom happened. 

Mildred told me about her last phone call with my mom, "My mom told her, Mildred, I don't regret not ever getting to Hawaii. Honestly, I can't think of living my life any differently than I have. I have enjoyed every meal, every moment, and I've learned something new everyday. My only regret is to not get to see Jennifer finished her Masters degree." My mom never once said this to me.

The thing is, when my mom got diagnosed with only 3 months to live. I had just finished my first Masters level course which I took in the summer of 2004. I remember coming home that Friday, my mom had gone to the doctor on Thursday because she thought her sciatic nerve was bothering her. They got a call in the afternoon Thursday (after my mom's early morning appointment) and the doctor requested my mom to return to her office. She needed to order additional tests right away. According to my dad, my mom just said to the nurse, "just tell me the diagnosis, my nerves can't wait until tomorrow." The nurse said she couldn't say for sure. My mom insisted to speak to the doctor on the phone, the doctor did actually come to the phone (knowing my mom's anxious personality) and said, "I'm sorry its terminal cancer Nancy, but we can talk about options." My mom returned to her office that Friday, to learn she only had three months. My parents decided not to tell me on Thursday because they knew I had the final and they didn't want to affect my grades.

When I came home Friday to say I got an A, they met me in the living room with this life altering news. My mom said she didn't expect me to attend school (first time ever in my life had she said that) but I was so stunted I didn't know what else to do but to continue as planned. So I did, I took on full-time school and work as I always had. But I never knew my mom thought I would make it. I mean, I realize that is what she hoped for but from the moment of diagnosis, she treated me as though - I didn't have to earn her love in any way.  But what she had always taught me was school should come first. I don't regret getting my masters degree, I can't say I even regret not being by my mom's side every moment of that 3 1/2 months she had.  What I regret is not having her here now to share in these moments, not being able to really explain what an amazing person she really was.

I've been crying for a little while now, trying to work things out in my head. How my mom could've just known I would finish my masters degree or how you never really know when its the last time you may see someone. What I am grateful for is every moment I get to share and I am going to be more grateful moving forward. I'm reminded why I love the words carpe diem (seize the day) because life really is what happens while you are planning for the future.

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