Friday, June 20, 2008

Final Post

Picture collage put together by my uncle Forrest, for mom's funeral.
I've been thinking a bit about what to do with this blog...with mom's words, her stories, her hopes and fears. I'm the co-author of this blog, in that I helped her set it up way back when, and I've been able to maintain it during these last horrible months, during her decline.

I've decided to let it go. It makes no sense for me to post here, as this is the place for HER voice, HER stories, not mine. But I'll leave it up, as long as makes any sense whatsoever, because her stories are wonderful, her thoughts are wonderful, and if there's a chance someone new might come along and enjoy some of these posts, I know she would want that.

Because she truly LOVED this blog. Loved it with a passion. When my Uncle Forrest was trying to motivate her to get up and get better, he used this blog as a carrot. She saw that, and she agreed...this was the carrot that would work. Because her friends are here. Some of her dear friends from Juneau came here. Her friends from OO came here. And friends from blogging came here. So she loved it. You cannot know how much your love and support have meant to her, and to me and Richard, during this sad, difficult time. It has meant everything.

The more I process all of this, the more I think, that it wasn't so much a matter of depression and lack of motivation, but a matter of her truly not being able to get up and move, that got her. What I mean by that is that the combination of the furnace leak in her apartment several years ago, that did a REAL number on her lungs, was a huge contributer. Her lungs looked like those of someone who smoked, not those of someone who had quit in the mid 70s. The injuries she has sustained over the years, which made exercise so difficult, added to her heart and lung problems. Her weight, which contributed to her diabetes and apnea, added to her problems. Her depression, which sucked the motivation from her, added to her problems. All of these together, I think, were too much. She rolled snake eyes, and couldn't get past it.

I've been playing the 'if only' game a lot. If only we hadn't put her in the extended care facility, would she maybe have been less depressed, and so, able to rally and get better? If only I hadn't pushed her so hard, tried to get her up and moving, would she have at least felt more understood and loved before she died? And truthfully, these are 'what ifs' with no answer. How can I know, if things might have turned out better, had things been different? I can't. Perhaps if we hadn't put her in the extended care, she would just have deteriorated even faster, in Kate's house. If I hadn't tried to push her, would I now be kicking myself for not trying? My only wish at this point is to have her back, to have none of this have happened, to go back to life as it WAS. But I can't have that. And it hurts. I don't know how a person is supposed to live without their mother there to care for them. Even in her last hours, she was more worried about MY worry, than about herself. She wanted to get up and do physical therapy, to make me happy. She wanted to make me smile, giving me rides up and down on her hospital bed. But what she really, truly wanted, was to be healthy again, out of pain, and out of that facility. Well, she is now. But I'm heartbroken, and I hope that if my atheist leanings are wrong, that she's at peace somehow, and can give me some comfort at some point.

This is a crappy last post for a blog, written through the tears of a heartbroken daughter who has lost her mother. You, her bloggy and online friends, who have loved her and been her friends, deserve something more uplifting. I'm sorry that I don't have something better to give. But again, thank you, for all of your friendship and support, and please know, you have meant to the world to my mom, and you have been a great comfort to me.

Updated on Monday, 6/23, to add that I'm doing a bit better today, and that there's a post on that here. I won't clutter up Mom's blog with my own recovery efforts. That's what my own blog is for. But I just wanted you all to know that I'm not doing so much of the what-ifs any more, that I'm going to print up this blog and save it for Maya, and that even though I still miss my mom horribly, for right now, I'm doing a bit better.


Joy Des Jardins said...

This is NOT a crappy last post Julie. This is a beautiful and honest post written by a daughter shattered by her mother's death....I feel it, and anyone reading it will feel it sweetheart.

I've been thinking of your mother so much today. I've come back to her site several times to look at her picture with tears in my eyes....still hurt and stunned by her passing. If I feel such hurt by the jolt of your wonderful mother's passing....I can't really fathom how you must be trying to adjust to it all Julie. My continued love to you and your entire family.

Thank you for keeping your mom's blog up and running for a while....there are so many treasures here for people to be able to still share.

lilalia said...

Like Joy, I find this post touching in its honesty and I heart cries out for you and your family in your grief.

If I can make a suggestion about the blog, keep it up for Maya. There may come a time when you talk to Maya about some incident and she will want to come back here to visit with her grandmother, who loved her so dearly.

kenju said...

I agree with Joy. I understand every word, too. When my mom died I felt at sea with no anchor. You will never get over not having her, but the pain lessens, and your good memories of her will sustain you.

Thanks for posting and thanks for the photos. When I have time, I am going to go back to the very beginning of her blog and read it all the way through.

Anna said...

Bless you, I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes for I know your feelings now, having lost my own Mum. It's another of life's ghastly hurdles, having to accept the finite life of one whom you want to keep forever.
You must call a halt to the 'if onlys'; if I had gone to put mine to bed instead of watching the end of the play on TV, she wouldn't have broken her hip...this way you can beat yourself to an emotional pulp. She loved you and was secure in your love and that's all you need to hold on to.
Please leave her words for others to find. I will remember your mother and you, I wish you courage and the consolation of good memories. x

Betty said...

It is a beautiful post. I'm so glad you're leaving it up for a while, and I hope that when and if you decide to take it down, you will keep copies of all her posts for Maya. She was a prolific writer, and her past posts are a wonderful chronicle of her life. I haven't even begun to read them all, yet, but I'm working on it.

Jill said...


My heart hurts so much for you.

By all means leave her blog up, but even better, don't leave it to the good folks at Google to keep it here, because if they ever decide to take it down, it's gone.

You should compile her posts into a book for Maya. I'd be happy to help out by snagging them if you'd like. You can either shop it around (the story of the virtual community your mom created) might make it saleable, or else there's the beautiful thing that is self-publishing.

Your mom was a wonderful writer. Don't take the chance of this blog disappearing. If you'd like to contact me at brilliantatbreakfast at gmail dot com to discuss, please feel free.

Jill said...

Julie, this was a beautiful last post, and one I know was very difficult to write. Your mom--Joycelyn with a Joy!--loved you and your family with all of her heart. And her life as a blogger will go on, for she had you, and you also have a wonderful gift of writing, as seen on YOUR blog!
Your mother, who I only got to meet once in person, was one of the most amazing people I have ever known. And I know there are lots of people who feel the same way. My thoughts will continue to go out to you and your family for peace, strength and healing. May your mom bring you comfort and love forever. I am so, so sorry for your loss.

Linda Atkins said...

Oh, dear, I'm crying along with you once again, Julie. (Yes, by all means, leave the blog up, and save every page for Maya to read later.) I'm positive that she knew you were bugging her to try to get moving because of your love for her, just as, if Py were bugging you in a similar situation (god forbid), you might be irritated in a given moment but you would always know he was doing it because he loves you. I'm positive she felt your love at every moment, as you felt hers even when she was driving you nuts at this moment or that. So many of us are thinking of you and Richard right now, and sending our good wishes. I think of you often in these dreadful days.

Linda Atkins said...

Pardon a second comment, but I wanted to add that I'm an atheist, too, and I'm positive your mother is at peace. I don't believe in God or heaven, but I talk to my grandmother in heaven all the time, and she answers me back. That precious person is gone, but I'm positive the love is forever, and that she lives, in a different way, in our hearts, for always.

Tabor said...

I have lost enough people close to me including both my parents that I think I understand this questioning that we go through. If only... and what if?? There are no answers and it is part of the healing process.

If you have time and money you should probably print as much of this blog as you can or save it to disk for Maya and others. It will be important in the future.

Uncivil said...

It's raining and thundering and lightning here in coastal NC.
My face is soaking wet and I haven't even been outside?

This is a very beautiful, truthful and honest post. I agree with all your wonderful readers, and hope you will keep this blog going (frozen in time just like it is) for years to come.

And don't worry about being an atheist. If there is a god......he will surely forgive us!

donna said...

Don't second guess. I did that when my mom died a bit, too, because you just do, but -- it happens the way it happens, and it can't be changed. That's how life and death are.

We all go on from here, with our losses, with our heartbreak, and we somehow keep going. It's what makes us human, because we are all the same, every one of us, and all in this together -- but we all leave alone. Knowing that when we do, those who love and cherish us will let us live on within them -- for a while.

Remember the good stuff.


Suzann said...

Julie - we share your grief - thank you for keeping the blog online - I want to return to read her posts again. Your post is from your heart - please be gentle with yourself - each of us leaves when it is time. Love across the miles between.

Starshine said...

Dear Julie,

Thank you for this honest post. I'm so sorry your heart is broken. It is totally understandable...she was your mother. I wish I could help ease your pain. I'm here for you, if you want to talk.

Sending you lots of love and a big hug,


belledame222 said...

I'm so sorry. RIP MG. and this is a beautiful tribute to her.

Anvilcloud said...

That was anyhting but a crappy last post. It was honest and true and ... and wonderful. I think there are often what ifs in dealing with our parents etc in their end times. I still get quite exercised over how my dad was dealt with. But when all is said and done, we're talking about a very short time at the end of a long life.

Rain said...

I hope you leave your mom's blog up and don't take down any part of it. She told some wonderful stories and it will be found for years to come by those looking for something and finding it here. Blogs are amazing that way. If you someday deleted it, someone else might get the name and that would be a shame. Your mom created a body of work that I hope can remain as long as it's possible.

Your questions are logical and although my mother died 11 years ago, I still ask myself could I or should I have done this or that. It's normal human wondering. To me you did the best you could and that's all your mom could or would have asked.

Laura said...

How wonderful to know that Joycelyn was well and truly loved. Thank you for a perfect last post.

Anonymous said...

This is Michael, Julie's dad. I'm not a regular blogger, usually I e-mail Julie directly but I wanted to say a few things to MG's friends.

Julie and Richard were heroic in what they did for their mom. Dropped their lives and rushed to her, spent their own money to move and care for her, took the utmost care to do what was best for her. And with her gone it's natural for them to think it wasn't enough, to do "if onlys". But what she really needed these months was love, and she got it in spades, and she knew it. I can’t tell them not to feel what they feel, but at the same time they can know that they did what was really important.

The other hero was her friend Kate, who accumulated so much good karma the last couple of months that she can probably slack off from now on and still hit sainthood.

I knew Joyce for going on 50 years, although for much of that time we were out of contact. She was a great spirit. I think she had two modes -- joyous/cheerful (most of the time) or outraged. The more neutral depression of the last few months was uncharacteristic and a symptom of how sick she really was. Julie’s dream got it exactly right, her health wasn’t going to let her be the person she wanted to be, and that she was inside.

There was a gathering at Joyce’s mothers on Saturday. Our friend Robert Crawford from high school in Modesto was there. They were best friends in our little crew of Modesto outcasts, and continued in Berkeley. And another gathering at Julie & Ted's on Sunday with my wife and other daughters, Julie’s sisters, and Ted’s family. Joyce would have loved those parties (maybe did, who knows?) She would have loved the Puja (Hindu ceremony) Ted’s mother did for her the week before, because she loved real things. She would have never let her professed atheism keep her from having a good time.

Many cultures believe that a soul hangs around for a while before moving on, who’s to say a blog isn’t a good vantage point for this? Goodbye Joyce, wherever you are.

Anonymous said...

I loved the way you posted openly and honestly in your greif, you've done that well and in honour there Lady... you do honour very well that way. What we should all have daughters like that eh.

Spent a bit of time out the back yard leaning on the fence thinking about what I'd just read, the writing actually followed me out there and the feeling was... grieve the grief of deep love that only a Mother's passing can give, it'll get better, if that's the right word.. as time goes by the small touches of her, here and there, will surface, but you will find that she didn't raise a fool, she raised a beautiful child, who now a Woman, is a right good one to stand by her staid.

I am sorry and saddened, yes, she was open and honest and won't quit being that way, ever...

it's going to live on in you and the kids... right good way to be, even on this travel..

that lady, she's got some good kids alright, ya she does..

Sincerely and with Respect


colleen said...

I'm so sorry. Your mom was so young to go. I'm happy she has this record to leave behind. In the back of our minds, that's why some of us blog.

Reading this I was reminded of my dad's death three years ago, all the what ifs. In the end it was his way out of this world and in some way the process he needed, I think.

Kay Dennison said...

Thank you, Julie for sharing all this with us. We really do share your loss.

moe lauher said...

Julie. I'm sorry for the belated posting. I've not been reading much for the last few weeks and just this morning learned of your Mom's passing. I wanted to stop and tell you how touched I was to read this post.

I've truely enjoyed reading your mother's blog over the last year or so. Her dedication to her writing was inspiring to me.

May God continue to bless you and keep you in the way that only he can.

Moe Lauher

liz said...

Just wanted to say I bookmarked your Mom's blog a while ago having read her wonderful piece on Choice.I'll be keeping this blog in my favourites. It,and your Mom, were inspirational.

Dorothea said...

Though I barely knew her, I am saddened by the loss of such a brilliant, loving, and passionate person. Blessings to you where ever you are right now, Maya's Granny, Jocelyn. May peace and a new bright day find all those who loved you.

It is no comfort that we all must share in the fate of losing those we love here on earth...and it is small comfort that they live on through their earthly deeds and in our minds and hearts.

No matter how they leave us, we always wonder if we could have done something differently to change the past...but we find our regretful mental reworkings will, sadly, not bring them back to us here.

Strange it is, but to acknowledge the pain that will never leave us somehow provides a truthful starting point. Courage, for tomorrow is a new day. Celebrate your mother and her life. Share remembrances with laughter through tears.

I wish you strength and hope that you find comfort in the words we all trade here and in the memory of your beloved mother.

~we are all made of star stuff~

Rachie-Babe said...

Wow--what a powerful blog. . . and this post. . .well it brought tears to my eyes.

Always Question said...

Joy, I hope you were watching this election. I think we didn't screw this up.

david mcmahon said...

What an inspiring post. It will be a great record for Maya.

I've paid tribute a couple of time to my parents on my blog as well. Acknowledgement means everything.

Anonymous said...

This is a amazing and great post written by a daughter hurt by her mother's death....I feel it, i too lost my mom.

Tabor said...

Julie, I was reading an old blog entry of mine and one of the commenters was Maya. I held my breath and came back here on a memory trip. I am glad this blod is still up!

Judy said...

This is beautiful, Julie. So glad to know a bit of your mom. xo, Judy

Always Question said...

What would you have written for your 67th birthday?

Promotional Products said...

When I see this compilation of photo of your mother, I remember my mother she is sweet and caring. When she was a young age she was so beautiful and charming.