Friday, January 27, 2012

My mother

Since my last post was September 2011 (gasp!) I feel like I need to take a step back before moving forward. My MOPS Convention was a much needed break to laugh, learn & love outside my little family. As a family we had already been dealing with some pretty drastic issues outside of the obvious- learning what it is to be a single parent home. My mom after years of other health problems, notably in 2010 suffering 8 strokes that affected her mentally, had a large stroke on May 17, 2011 that affected her physically. She spent a month in ICU, a month in rehab, a month in a nursing home and the rest of the year at home with frequent hospital stays. We had therapists in routinely and she showed signs of improvement. Until she just couldn't take it anymore.
My mom has always been a severely depressed person, missing many things from my middle school years on. I think her stroke hindered body got the best of her mentally. She faced one infection or set back continually. In December Hospice was called in. My dad kept reinforcing the idea that she could "graduate" from Hospice once she was improving again. She continued with her physical decline until suffering what we believe to have been another stroke shortly before she left the hospital on December 20th. The doctor had already discharged her that morning & when my dad got there at 2pm to arrange her transportation home, she didn't acknowledge him. She hadn't eaten or drank anything, nor had any pain meds that day. The nurse on duty was an idiot. Mom had long been past being able to hit a nurse call button, let alone ask for her medication, but apparently the nurse had not spent 30  seconds with her all day to know something was wrong. Her discharge papers were complete, they sent her home. She was unable to open her mouth to eat or drink. Per her wishes there would not be a feeding tube. For the next 10 days we sat bedside with her, talking to her, praying & mostly just sitting because she was still on this earth to sit with. Her last week our cousins from Alabama arrived & helped with a lot during their stay. One darling friend started bringing us meals on Thursday so I didn't have to worry about leaving her side to fix anything. On Friday, December 30, my cousins left that afternoon. A couple hours later we noticed a bad change to her breathing. My dad, brother, Josh & my oldest daughter, Leah all sat with her. The younger kids came down to say goodbye one last time. I had sent a message to my Aunt Jackie the day before that things were nearing the end. She called 30 minutes into our last vigil & I held the phone up so my mom could hear her voice one last time. About 15 minutes later.after 10 long days, she finally was at peace & let go.
My heart swelled knowing she was with Jesus. Thanks to our Hospice chaplain weeks prior, I know she was saved & was as right as she could be with God.
The biggest blessings these last months have given me was 1. A gradual loss, time to say goodbye & to love her as best I could knowing that her life was coming to an end. 2. Witnessing my dad. My dad has been ever faithful & loving- in ways he doesn't even realize. He believes that how he was with my mom was how everyone would be. Not everyone is so lucky. He visited her during every waking hour he wasn't working, sat by her bed, monitored her medicines & therapy appts. Then as things worsened prayed with her around the clock, changed diapers, cried if the slightest discomforted look crossed her face. I never heard a word of complaint. Which is a feat itself. My dad is a perpetual glass 1/2 empty kind of guy, nothing goes how you want it, no one will help you, etc...He complained about other things but never caring for my mom.
I saw a side to him that has touched me deeply & I'm so thankful to have seen a love like theirs.
Obituary for Jessica L. Dillion

Mike & Jessie
February 21, 1981
I know I will write plenty more about my mom in the future. I had 34 years with her (and only one year that we didn't speak- that's a story in itself).
I am deeply humbled by the love & support shown our family at this time. Many people that never met my mom, but still poured out love to us. Thank you to Pastor Shawn Edwards for performing the service & my Aunt Jackie who gave a beautiful eulogy, celebrating my mom & so much of their lives that they shared together.
I miss her, I missed her starting last May.But I know I will see her again. 
And as she signed everything,

Mom & Jackie when they got their high school class rings
My mom holding me. I love this. It's like the ultimate MOPS mom pic to me. And she's wearing a cool handkerchief, much better than the pointy snow suit I have on. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Why I homeschool...still

It takes quite a bit for something to get under my skin and something has recently...people questioning my decision to home school my kids this year. Now the first thing I want to say is I really don't look for approval from everyone to do what I do. My concern is being in God's will and His will only. I'm good with that, I just wish everyone else- friends, family members (mainly one), people who barely know me, would leave me be after my basic brief explanation.

For most people the thought of home schooling scares them. I hear, "You are so brave", "I could never do that", "I can't wait to put my kids in school/summer to be over." Well, it's like most things in life- a leap of faith. One that I took 7 years ago after Leah finished 4th grade and public school wasn't the best fit for her abilities. Since then our reasons have matured  & changed along with our children, and when faced with the decision to home school after becoming a single parent, my reasons have shifted too. But I still know without a shadow of a doubt that this is what I'm supposed to be doing. Maybe that's why some of the well-meaning (and not so well-meaning) comments have gotten to me. I feel as though these few people are arguing with God and they just don't get it.

The biggest issue that I think many non-home schoolers don't realize is that it is a LIFESTYLE not just a school choice. Everything we do revolves around learning- sometimes the kids don't even realize it. Little Jon told a friend that stopped by last week that we don't home school anymore, "We just do lapbooks on cool stuff like knights & castles and our next one is on penguins" I taught my daughter to count by 5's and 10's the other night on a mile and a half walk. Learning is fun and I sincerely believe many public school children loose their initial love of learning after the first couple years. I want my kids to embrace their schooling, love to learn, think of what's around them and have the curiosity to know more.

My biggest critic that has killed me with kindness on this topic wonderfully pointed out that now that it's just me I should put the kids in school so I would be able to work all those hours. Said with a perfect smile as if that was the ultimate solution to all my problems. "Look, someone else deals with your kids & you make money." Even after I pointed out my serious issues with sending my kids to a public school this year she followed up with , "But they can do better" WHAT?

I guess I just needed to vent...I'm all for families with traditional school, I've been a part of it myself as well as one of my children for several years. And all this isn't to say that next year will be different for us. But if this is what I've decided for mine, why argue or make me feel bad?