You know you're in the Mother-Hood when...

You Know You're in the MotherHood When...

You've sniffed a spot on your shirt and been able to determine the origin of said spot with CSI efficiency.

You let someone see you basically naked because he said he was an anesthesiologist.

It's a good day if you actually had time to shower, without interruptions or an audience of any kind.

Your meal plan has consisted of eating whatever mac and cheese is left in the pot after you've served it to the kids.

A drawing of you with a head the size of a watermelon is the prettiest picture you've ever seen.

Everyone but you being asleep counts as "alone time."

You feel a sense of accomplishment if you read an entire article in People magazine in one sitting.

You can name 3 out of 5 Backyardigans - you know you can.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Losing Thelma

Six months.

It’s been ½ a year since I lost one of my very best friends.

That word, “lost” doesn’t really describe what happened. I’ve lost friends over the years. We lost touch, we grew up, moved in different circles, gone to different schools and moved to different states. I lost friends who, for whatever reason, made the choice to not nurture our friendship and gradually withdrew.

It was as unexpected and as sudden as a bolt of lightening.
Last July, I went outside one morning and saw my friend getting into a car to go to the doctor. The bad headaches she couldn’t seem to shake had finally taken their toll and she decided it was time to get checked out.

A few hours later, she was admitted to the hospital.

Not long after she was admitted, she was transferred to another hospital which specialized in treatment for stroke patients.

As much as I wanted to break every speed limit law and bulldoze my way into that hospital room, I knew she had been poked and prodded by nurses and doctors and she had a very large and loving family who had been there with her. We texted back and forth and she asked me how late she could call, because once everyone went home, she really wanted to talk to me. My response, of course, was no matter what time she called, I would answer. That night, which was a Monday – the day after she was admitted, she sounded better than she had in weeks. She finally relented and accepted the help medication could bring (she hated taking medicine) and her headache had diminished to a much more bearable level.
We talked and laughed and discussed her diagnosis, which was very serious.
But, as with everything else she did, she had a plan and was ready to start at step one in the direction she needed to. I, of course, told her over and over what she already knew which was no matter what she needed – I was there.

Two days later, on Wednesday, as I was dropping my kids off with my parents,
I got the news that she had suffered a stroke.
The drive from my parents’ home to the hospital was the longest ride of my life.
I went over every possible scenario and came to the conclusion that she would be fine, it would take work and patience and time to recover, but she could do that.
My friend defined the word feisty – this wasn’t going to get the best of her.

I walked into the hospital and was met with looks from her other friends and family filled with mixtures of hope and fear, of worry and of faith.
At this point, all we could do was wait.

That night, before I went home, I went into her ICU room and saw this person who never sat still for a moment resting in her hospital bed. Her head was bandaged and her eyes were closed and I couldn’t help but think how much she would have HATED that hospital gown they had her in, not the cutest, but she could wear anything and look like a million bucks.
I said only a couple of words to her as I took her hand, and she squeezed her response back to me. She knew I was there.

Thursday brought the worst news imaginable; she suffered another stroke, now both sides of her brain had been compromised. It was determined on Friday that the only functions her brain was still capable of were her respiratory and circulatory system.
Told you she was feisty.

Her family made the selfless decision that she had fought this harder than anyone else possibly could and had the doctors take the machine assistance away from her, to let her go peacefully.
I was given the privilege of having a moment with her to say goodbye.
As I walked in that room again, I saw my friend lying there, as she had been before, but this time, she wasn’t there, not in that body. I could sense she was there, with all of us, but she wasn’t trapped in that broken body anymore. Her fighting spirit had battled long and hard and it couldn’t be contained in that beautiful vessel anymore.
It may sound weird and very Oprah-Deepak Chopra-y, but I could just sense a palpable difference in that room.

She hung in there, on her own, until early Saturday morning.

Leslea Robyn Mercer was 35 years old.

She and I had only known each other a relatively short time, but it was one of those relationships that was meant to be – we felt like we had known each other forever.
She had moved in across the street, literally was plopped into my life at a time when I really needed her. Not long after I met Leslea, I found out my lifelong friend, the godparent of my daughter, had cancer. One those days that I went to his house or his hospital room to visit, I used up every ounce of my positive energy filling my time with him with happiness and laughter and silliness.
On those days when I wasn’t with him or I felt like I needed to be worried or sad or mad about his diagnosis, Leslea would just let me vent. She’d let me be pissed off and she wouldn’t try to make it better, she’d just let me be.
When he lost his courageous battle with cancer, Leslea sat on my couch with me and let me cry, something I don’t often do.
She taught me that it’s okay to ask for help when you need it, it’s okay to play hooky every once in awhile and not feel guilty about it and it’s absolutely necessary to buy cute shoes, even if you have nowhere to wear them.

In the days following her death, I questioned why the universe would send me someone so special at such an important time in my life, only to take her away again so quickly.

Then I realized how lucky I was that the universe sent her to me at all.

Leslea was hell on wheels, full of love and the most loyal person I’ve ever met.
She pushed me to be braver, more confident and implored me to not worry so much.
She and I had made lots of plans, things I probably wouldn’t ever have thought about doing without her, but now that I’ve known her, I can’t imagine not trying them.
She was the Thelma to my Louise.
My partner in crime and the biggest cheerleader I’ve ever had.
I can still feel her elbowing me in the side, hearing her say,
“Come on Tiff, what have you got to lose?”


Widow Chick said...

I'm so sorry, Tiff. She was an amazing woman who just never stopped living, loving, and showing everyone around her how it should be done. You were so lucky to know her...but I know that that is a friendship you will always miss. Thinking of you!!

Amy said...

Wow, Tiff! This is such a heartfelt piece. I love it. I feel lucky to have met Leslea. You are right. She was an amazing person and full of life. Just as you were lucky to have known her, she too was lucky to know you. You were her friend to the end...always there for her and her family as well. I can't think of a better friend for her to have. Maybe God knew you would be the perfect friend at a time she needed someone too. Two peas in a pod.

I love you, and I can't wait to see you!!