Source: The person who came up with the phrase “time flies when you’re having fun” is most certainly spot on. Why time has to drag at a friggin snail pace when going through hard times is just….. well…… dumb. Today marks one year since my Mom suddenly passed. The days that followed are still a blur. When I later read all the texts and messages that people sent offering their condolences, my response, the same as if on auto pilot: “Thank you, I appreciate that, heart emoji.” Looking back at the months that followed, 3 memorial services, Dads frequent trips to the ER and eventual surgery that left him immobile for several months, scrambling to find ways to make it financially possible for him to stay in his home….the new reality that the matriarch of the family is gone. It was a dark hole that I felt that I would never be able to crawl out of. I saw no light. No silver lining. Just despair, regret, and utter sadness. I am by nature an optimist, and this new heavy blanket of darkness swallowed me up. My mom frequently quoted me Psalm 30, “Joy comes with the morning.” That became my mantra. By the grace of God, the love of my family and dear friends, and some delicious Oregon grapes, (helloooooo Pinot!) I eventually am finding my way back to “the new normal.” The level of perspective that is gained with each hardship and tragedy that we endure is constantly broadened . I can now confidently tell you that I’m no weenie. The visual of moms lifeless body isn’t on constant replay anymore, and I’m finding myself smiling more when thinking of her. God blessed me with 46 1/2 years with my Mom. For that, I am forever grateful. Happy angel anniversary Mom. I love you.
All the hours spent on a tractor seat has me pondering all the comments that have been made to me the past couple decades regarding my position as a Farmers wife. Here is my list:
- “You’re so lucky you only have to work a couple months a year during the summer.” Stop by in January and see for yourself. Its a 7-day a week job, year round . It’s a huge process to get a product to the harvesting stage. It doesn’t magically happen by itself . It’s a year long process people.
- “You’re so lucky to be a stay-at-home Mom.” Absolutely I appreciate the flexibility during the non-harvesting months, but I can guarantee if I’m the parent volunteer at school activities during the day, that I’m staying up late that night and working through the weekend to get my bookkeeping and other farm work caught up. Just ask my kids.
- “Can I come get some cherries?” (For free). Sure! Can I have part of YOUR paycheck ? This is not a hobby for us. This is our entire yearly income, and not only supports our family, but 3 other families and several high school students.
- “You can miss just ONE day of harvest to attend my….”(wedding, party, reunion, graduation, bridal shower, Bar mitzvah, baby gender party reveal). Yes, I could. However, with fruit ripening, spray intervals and weather threats, a single missed day of harvest results in literally tens of THOUSANDS of dollars in missed income. This is not an exaggeration .
- “I would give anything to have your lifestyle.” Would you truly give up your 5-day a week, night and weekends off, climate controlled job with full medical /dental/ life insurance with retirement, paid holidays and vacations with a GUARANTEED paycheck …???? The grass is not greener. If it is, it’s because we spent 96 hours and $18,000 in the past week to fertilize it.
- “Must be nice being given a farm.” This misconception gets the ol blood boiling quicker than just about anything. We pay triple rent to farm the family acres. (Cash rent, taxes and insurance). When my husband and I took over, there was a sheriffs sale, a lien, and unpaid debts on this farm. The orchards were old and wore out, the fields hadn’t seen lime or fertilizer for years and years, there were no shops or adequate storage buildings. We paid the debts, spent the next 20 years building shops, planting new orchards, buying (new to us) equipment, all the while taking only enough money ourselves to live at poverty level (I know this because the school sent home an application for reduced lunches and I realized we more than qualified) , spending 20 years in a double wide trailer as our home. My husband, to this day, drives his “good” pick-up (a 1999 Ford that we bought in 2005) without complaint . Yes, we have recently built a beautiful new home, and I have a nice car. You know what? We’ve totally earned it. I appreciate the articles I read like “10 things your food server would like you to know” and so on, because it puts you in that persons perspective . Perspective. Such a huge, necessary thing I believe we all should possess before passing judgement on others . Put yourself in their shoes, and quit thinking everyone has it better. If you’re miserable, make that change, or discover the beauty in where you’re at. 🍒🍒🍒
When my son, a US Marine, phoned and told us that he was flying a piece of equipment to Yuma, Arizona, and would have a couple days Liberty while there, I couldn’t make my plane reservation quick enough. My parents have been Yuma snowbirds for years, and have always wanted me to come visit them while there. This was the PERFECT opportunity to see both my parents, and my son.
A couple days before I was to fly there, my son phoned and told me to cancel my flight, as his orders had changed, and he would only be in Yuma one night. I pondered cancelling, but felt an urging to go anyways. So. Glad. I. Did.
Had an amazing couple days with my parents . We saw the sights, swam in their pool, and spent a fabulous day in Mexico (margaritas included). Mom helped me get some good deals on the much coveted sunglasses and purses that I’m absolutely sure ARE authentic name brand goods at a fraction of the cost ! It was a great day.
We got home, said good night, Mom walking off with a smile. I sat in bed that night thinking how much I loved getting ALL Moms attention the past couple days. With two older sisters and lots of grandchildren in our family, times spent one on one with Mom were rare. I fell asleep I’m quite sure, with a smile on my face.
The next morning I awoke to a pounding on my door. My Dad bluntly says, “I think your mother is dead.” I started to grin a bit, as my Dad, forever the jokester. Then I looked at his eyes and just knew.
I ran into their bedroom and saw Moms lifeless body. I jumped on her, preparing to do CPR. Once I felt her skin and looked at her coloring, I knew she had left us sometime in the night. I started screaming….. Screaming like a crazy person. “MOM!!! WAKE UP MOM!!!! DONT LEAVE ME!!!!” The most surreal moment of my life.
I then realized that Dad was standing behind me, and knew I needed to pull myself together for his sake.
The medical examiner ruled it a cardio related death. Her heart just ceased.
The past 3 months have been a blur…a nightmare that I keep hoping to wake from. I take comfort in knowing Mom didn’t suffer. She fell asleep that night I’m sure also reflecting on the awesome day we had together.
I’m so thankful that God put me there at that time to be with my Dad. Gods plan is perfect. It is perfect. I will mourn the loss of my mother, every single day of my life, but take comfort in knowing that I WILL be reunited with her someday . 🍒🍒🍒