Saturday, September 1, 2012

{ I Love My Mom}

I'm having a rough day today processing difficult news from home. Life had been tough for our family the past couple of years. We've had more than our fair share of accidents, sickness, and death. I'm always impressed with how other members in my family seem to rise to each occasion and transform into something even more amazing, while I feel useless, cowardly, and diminished. My mother has been sick since November 2010. When she first got her diagnosis she was given 4 to 6 months life expectancy. We were devastated, but confident in the tenacity of my mother's will power and the care of doctors. Operations, Chemo, and Radiation have extended her time on this Earth and has given us all the opportunity to strengthen our relationships with her.

My brother, Tyler, left to go on his LDS mission in February of 2011, the same month I married Jeff. It was a tough decision for him to make, but was one he chose to follow and has been a blessing in his and all of our lives. It's been amazing to carry on a written communication with and witness the amazing personal growth and insight he has gained. My mother made the personal goal to stick around to see him return in February of 2013. So far, so good. She's a tough bird and fights for what she wants.

When Jeff and I made the decision to move to China in October it was met with dynamically mixed reviews. Jeff and I had to make some financial and work decisions that would have lasting impact, and knew that for us moving to China and my teaching here for a period of time would be a solution to some problems. However, it also meant leaving family behind, and being absent during a turbulent period in my mother's life, and the rest of my family in turn. I regret the way things were handled, and things that were said in the heat of emotion. I miss my mother and don't get to communicate with her as frequently as I would like. It's very hard and frustrating knowing the trials and pain my parents are going through and not being able to step in and do anything.

As my mother's health declines, and my family members take on more burden, I am ever grateful to those who keep persisting with desires of help, assistance, and comfort to them. I come from a proud and independent family. We have had many lessons in humility and service the past two years, with more to come, I'm sure. I'm grateful to those who have worked with my mother and have given her friendship and respect, and have allowed her to transition out of her job in a way that allowed her to keep her dignity.

While I don't know all the details, I was told that she has made the decision to end her chemo treatments.  I don't know how this is going to affect her progress, her goals, or the near future. I knew that this would eventually come, and I know how it progressed with my grandmother. It's still hard. I'm not sure exactly how to feel, or how to act. I'm notorious for mishandling feelings and interactions with others. I'm not very good at expressing to others how I feel.  I'm better at ignoring grief than confronting it. I'm extremely frustrated at the helplessness of my geographical location.

I love my mother so very much. She and I are two very dynamic and stubborn people. I have always been a headstrong daughter who has always been insistent on being independent in my decisions and thinking, and she has always been as patient and understanding with me as she was able. We've found ourselves in conflict with each other much of my life because of my stubbornness, and I really didn't start to develop a great friendship with her until I was in college with a little distance to gain perspective. While she and I haven't achieved the level of closeness she had with her mother, I have always maintained an amazing respect for my mother and the amount of tenacity and steadfastness she has in her nature. There was never a project she set her mind to that she did not complete to the level of perfection she set out to achieve.  She is a talented woman who has a knack for creating things although she never gave herself enough credit. Even though we have differing opinions on most things, it never stopped me from going to her to vent or get her perspective on things going on in my life.

The thought of not being there when/if something happens to my mother is a difficult one to handle, although I knew when I left that it was a likely reality. I've been pondering whether or not I would come to China again if I were given the chance to do things over. For now, I don't think I would have done anything differently. The experience has given Jeff and I a chance to grow in our independence, and share important experiences here. It's also given my mother and father the opportunity to have time together without interference from children for the first time in 25 years. Will I have regrets? Probably. Most likely. Absolutely. Thankfully, I have the comfort of my faith and religion and the knowledge that I have eternities to share with my mother and family after this life. 

If you know my mother or family, please keep them close in your prayers. They are soldiering on, and she is the bravest of us all, but could always use the extra support and positive energy.

I'm sorry if this is a little incoherent. Sometimes emotions do that.

Love and hugs [needed],


  1. I'm so sorry about what you are going through. I know from experience that dealing with this is unimaginably difficult. Especially with you being on the other side of the world. Let me know if you ever want to talk.

  2. i found myself in tears after i read this. when i went away to germany, i missed my family everyday, even when i had jonas. that kind of longing cannot be described, especially in your situation, i'm sure. i know that you are facing a lot of pain. i am thinking of you and your family.
    & don't beat yourself up too much for not being in the states. there is a quote i love(but i don't know who said it) that when God commands and man obeys, man is always right. i know that you know this, but your Heavenly Father will get you through.

  3. Ashley, it was so nice to speak via Skype. As we said would happen, we had our first visit today from the Hospice of the Bluegrass and were very comforted by their care and concern. We will be watching to give your Mother the greatest comfort as we move forward. Take care there and work hard towards your goals. We'll be here...