Wow! It has been over a month since I last blogged, and we're in a whole new year!! That is crazy. Just think about the sound of that for a minute---- 2023.....I'm not quite sure what I thought was going to happen, but I don't know if I ever pictured living in the year 2023, and yet here we are.
This year is bringing in some really great new opportunities for all of us to dive into, and it gives us a chance to reflect on the past year. Last year was a crazy busy year of work for me. It was also a year of health issues....one after the other, including double pneumonia, COVID, and another upper-respiratory illness late in the year. For those of you who don't know me well, let's just suffice it to say that I don't handle staying still for too long. Work is part of my being, and it is truly what I feel I am called to do. But I actually had to cancel/postpone a couple of things this year due to illness. It frustrates me when I now have scarred lungs due to all of that, despite the fact that I have never smoked a cigarette (in the nature of true disclosure, I have done other things that are likely considered "worse" than that, but I grew up with a mom who smoked, so I never picked it up because I always thought it was nasty), and I struggling to even jog with the dogs.
One of my greatest friends in the world just passed away last week, as well, and that has been hard. It has also become a great source of comfort, as I feel her presence near me quite often, lately. One of her amazing daughters wrote a post on Facebook, and I asked if I could steal it to share in my own blog because it so resonates with what I believe we should all do and be for others.
I'd like to introduce you all to Tavey, the daughter of my dear friend, Kelly Edelman (who passed away on December 23, 2022):
I have been having a hard time thinking of what to say. I have never experienced the death of a loved one before. I have never had to go through the feeling of loss that I am experiencing the last few days. My mom was my best friend. Of course we had some rough patches but who doesn’t? The only thing I want to do is call my mom and tell her about my day. Tell her about what I ate and what dumb things my friends did. But I can’t. I took pictures with a donkey today that I saw on my drive to Florida. The first thing I wanted to do was send them to her. She was my person. My go to. My listening ear for my daily gossip about my coworkers or the price of gas or the news. But I can’t. Like there’s a hole and my brain hasn’t quite figured out what’s missing. The house feels so weird and empty. Of course I know she’s gone but I hadn’t cried that much. I tried to tell myself it was because I was prepared. We knew it was going to happen. We knew we didn’t have much time. But now that time is up, I feel like I’m still rushing. The truth is, I'm heartbroken. I’m devastated. But I have siblings that I have to keep my head up for in fear of them not being okay if they see me upset. I know it’s okay to cry. But I promised mom that I would protect them. That I would always be here for them. Being sad isn’t going to bring her back. She wouldn’t want me to be sad. She would want me to celebrate that she’s no longer in pain. Celebrate that she’s finally reunited with her dad. She would want me to keep cracking jokes and keep trying to make people smile. Even in her final days she was making jokes. She wrote letters to me and my siblings to read when she’s gone and she even added a “your mom” joke at the end. She always knew what to say. She always had a good comeback. But most importantly, she was always a light. She was the one you could go to after a long day. The one you could come vent to. She always had the best attitude. My mom never complained. Even when she was visibly in excruciating pain, she would ask me if she could make me something to eat. She was always taking care of everybody even when she couldn’t take care of herself anymore. Her love for others is something I have always envied. She has always been that way. She had so much love to give. I hope that one day I can be half the person she was. She was caring and kind. She was selfless and funny. She was beautiful. She was too good for this world. There’s not enough room for all the words I could use to describe her. She devoted her whole life to me and my siblings. I wouldn’t have made it this far without her. My mom was the best person I’ve ever met. This post isn’t meant to be sad. My mom wouldn’t want me to be sad. In the letter she wrote that more than anything, she just wants us to be okay. And I am okay. She raised me to be strong, independent, creative, and all the things she was. She prepared us for life. She taught me how to do my taxes and how air filters work. She taught me how to ride a bike and how to make egg salad. She taught me to clip my toenails and how to use zip ties. She taught me how to fish and how to keep my room clean. She was always teaching. Always preparing. I am beyond blessed to have had her as my mom. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. And because of her, I am okay. I’m good. I miss her dearly but I know she’s always in my heart. Her favorite thing to do was people watch. Whether it was at the beach, or Starbucks, or even from the front porch. She loved to just relax and observe. It gives me peace of mind that now she has the best people watching view of all time. She was my best and longest friendship. My greatest teacher. My role model. But most importantly she was my mom. I could write a novel about her. The lives she touched, and the memories I will forever cherish. She would want me to remember those moments and smile, not be sad. She is at peace and no longer in pain and for that I will celebrate. I will celebrate because she has been called home.
My advice to anyone reading this…
If you love someone, let them know. Kiss your kids goodnight even when they think they’re “too old for that”. Do it anyway. Text your parents and tell them you love them. You never know how long you have. Do what makes you happy. Dancing like nobody is watching. And most importantly, know your worth. Don’t sell yourself short. Love big. Always stay positive.
I want to thank some people as well. To my mom's friends, thank you for being there. The tribe, school friends, church friends, and everyone in between. Thank you for the meals, for the visits, and for stepping up when we needed help. Thank you for your friendship. My mom was surrounded by the best group of people anyone could ask for. She loved each and every single one of you to the moon and beyond. Thank you for the years of laughter and love you shared with her. Thank you for your endless love and support for me, Hayden, and Zev. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without you. Thank you for your selflessness, your generosity, your kindness, and your love. The world needs more people like you. My mom was good at touching the lives of anyone she came in contact with. She really scored with you guys.
I also want to thank my moms team of doctors, nurses, oncology, and anyone else who helped medically (I don’t know the fancy terms). Thank you for giving her the care that she needed. Thank you for doing your best to keep her healthy and comfortable. Sometimes things don’t go the way we planned but that’s life. Thank you for dedicating your lives to help people like my mom.
I want to give an outstanding thank you to my mom home health/hospice nurse/friend Andrea Young. She has been by my mom's side since she was diagnosed. Andrea was very quickly made a part of our family. She never hesitated to help. She loved our dogs and they loved her. They have a whole routine when she comes over. Andrea made the medical visits fun and comfortable. She helped my mom both physically and mentally. At the start of the colostomy mess, there were a lot of tears shed and we had a lot of difficulty. My mom never felt uncomfortable with Andrea. She was a very important part of my mom being comfortable enough to go out in public with the ostomy. My mom always looked foreword to her visits with Andrea and so did we. She’s funny, she’s sweet, and unbothered by things that most people don’t want to deal with. I don’t know how we could have made it this far if she wasn’t a part of my mom's amazing team. She will forever be a part of our family.
I also want to thank my family. I know it’s hard when things happen. I know it’s difficult missing out on work. My mom’s Christmas gift to us was having everyone together for the holidays. That’s the best gift I could’ve asked for. The holidays feel different without having her around but she is with us in spirit. Thank you for being here. And thank you for helping her get this far. It makes me happy knowing she has had such a good family support system for so long. Thank you for being here for me, Hayden and Zev. We love you guys beyond belief.
Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me and my siblings. I apologize if we haven’t gotten back to you. As you can imagine, my phone has been blowing up and I’m having a hard time getting back to everyone in a timely matter but I promise I am working on it. I promise that we are doing okay. I promise that we know how much you all love and care about us and that if we ever need anyone all we have to do is call.
To everyone asking, we do plan on having a service. We are unsure of a date yet but we are working on it and will have it out to you soon. Thank you for your understanding and patience. Thank you all for being a part of this journey and thank you for your love. It’s not goodbye, it’s just see you later.
Just for today, I'd invite you to consider who you might need to reach out to----a friend, a loved one, someone you don't even know who you see in the grocery store---by reaching out, you will not only bless them but you will surely be blessed, as well.