Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Review January-June

*I love doing this year end review each year.  I got the idea from my friend Maria at Little Things Are Big.  She is an amazing artist, writer, wife, mother and friend.  Check her out!

2011 was quite a year.  A year of growth and change and heartache and joy.  Here's a look back at what happened in my life.  We'll take it six months at a time.

 I started the year by making some goals.  Some I kept and some I didn't.  
Some I plan to add to my list for 2012.
 In January, Lucas was 18 months old.  He was starting to talk a little more, constantly on the run, and curious as ever.
In January the girls were halfway through kindergarten.  They had just really started reading and really enjoyed school.  We also got hit hard with illness last January.  Leah had strep throat, Type A Flu, and ear infections all at the same time.  She was so sick.  I remember her falling asleep in front of the fireplace and sleeping for hours.

In January, my mom had been moved to a different hospital for physical therapy.  She was weak, but we all thought recovery was still possible.


We celebrated Valentine's Day.

 I turned thirty-four.
 We had snow.  Lots of snow for Oklahoma.  School was out for a week!

The kids were cute as usual.

My mom's chest incision reopened and got infected in February.  Still, her doctor sent her home where a home health nurse came every day to care for her and change the dressing on her wound vacuum.  It was so nice to go visit her in her own home for awhile. She was uncomfortable, but so glad to be home.

 In March Lucas freely offered kisses and was a complete camera ham.
 We had lots of warmer days with blue skies.  And the Bradford Pear Treed started to bloom.
 And as usual, we got lots of springtime rain.  Good, earth-soaking rain.
In March, my aunt hosted a family dinner so that my mom could be a part of it.  Little did I know this was the last picture we would ever take together.

At the end of March, my mom started running a fever.  She was admitted back to the hospital where she was diagnosed with MRSA, a very serious form of staph.  On March 27th, she had trouble breathing when her fever spiked at 105 degrees.  My dad called early that morning and told me to come to the hospital right away.  In a panic, I went.  My friends and family members gathered in a waiting room.  And we prayed.  And we prayed. And we prayed. And then a nurse came in to say the fever was dropping.  It was not her day to die yet.

 In April, the girls got to participate in their first ever fashion show.  They had SO much fun since they love dressing up in frilly clothes.
 Hannah posing on the runway.
 Leah beaming.
 We celebrated Easter in April.  I love this family photo. We took this picture after church on Sunday morning.  Afterwards we went to the hospital to visit my mom.  It was the last day my girls ever saw her.
 The last weekend in April, we headed out to Lake Tenkiller with two other couples for a little vacation.  The weather was gorgeous and it was so good to be out in nature, breathing deep and relaxing with friends.

They day before we left for our lake trip, Lucas and I stopped by the hospital to visit my mom.  Lucas was happy and smiled a lot.  I remember he found a small Nerf ball and played catch with my mom and dad and me.  I remember my mom was in good spirits, and I remember my mom telling her nurse all about how proud she was of her grandchildren.  I remember when I left, I gave her a hug, kissed her head, and told her I loved her.  She hugged me back and told me she loved me too.  Then I remember taking a few steps out of her hospital room door into the hallway when she called out again, "Love you, Em!"
It was the last day I saw my sweet mom.

On May 2, 2011, my mom was released from the hospital again.  Her wound was not healing.  But she was healthy enough to go home and have a home health nurse care for her again.  On May 2nd she slept her own bed, snuggled with her cats, and saw the flowers in her backyard starting to bloom.

On Tuesday, May 3rd, my mom complained of chest pains and said she was having trouble breathing, then she collapsed on the floor.  My dad called 9-1-1.  The Paramedics arrived shortly.  But she was already gone.  In the blink of an eye, my mom was gone.
 Barbara Stafford
October 30, 1948 - May 3, 2011
 I love you, Mom.
 I miss you, Mom.

We had my mom's memorial service on May 6th at the same church where I got married twelve years earlier.
It was beautiful.  Just like her.

Two weeks after my mom passed away, I got on a plane and flew by myself to Casper, Wyoming to visit my friend, Maria.  It was a trip I had planned months earlier, obviously unaware of what would happen on May 3rd.  But I still wanted to go.  I needed to go, to get away.  And I am so glad that I did.

 Me and Maria

Maria, Eric, and Susan, thank you for embracing me like family for the weekend. I will always remember that trip with a lot of fondness and gratitude. 

 In June, I started to breathe again.  Slowly, but surely, I emerged from the foggy haze of May, and started to establish a new normal.  And God was faithful to provide peace along the way.
 June 4, 2011
Mike and I celebrated twelve years of marriage.
 We broke out the water slide for the second summer in a row.
And we endured some 100 degree days. Ugh.
 In June, I started going through some of my mom's things.  I found some treasures along the way, like this ABC needlepoint that she created for my baby room.  Lots of tears were shed.
Healing tears.
The last weekend in June we had a garage sale at my parents' house.
The girls had their first lemonade stand.  I think we drank most of it ourselves!

So there you have it.  The first six months of 2011 in The Galloway House.
Stay tuned for July-December tomorrow!


Rachel said...

What a beautiful post Emily. To see the life in your children growing in contrast to the struggle of Barbara's health. I am so very thankful for you and all that you share. I am also very thankful for your mom for you are such a gift in my life and I have her to thank for that!

Maria Rose said...

You have gone through this year with such grace and faith. Your honesty and heartache have been such a symbol of courage. I admire you deeply.

Thank you for sharing yourself with us all.

Tanda said...

Love this post. I'm so glad that you remember so many details of your last few weeks with your mom. And even more glad you shared them! Love you.

Susan said...

Oh Emily, what a hard year for you. I've got tears running down my face.

I love looking at the pictures of you with your mother. There is a strong resemblence! I never met her but I am sure I would like her. I am certain you and your family were such a joy to her.

I am so grateful for your strong faith. You KNOW you will be reunited.

We were so glad for your visit. We welcomed you like family because you felt like family! Please come back again anytime.