Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Today it has been 3 months and 5 days since my mom passed away. I just haven't wanted to or felt like there was anything to write until tonight. Grief is a weird thing. One moment I feel like myself, the next I feel like my world is falling apart. I guess I am still me with a sad side, with a missing piece. Sometimes I get lost laughing or thinking of the future, and then it feels like the wind is knocked out of me when I remember that she is gone. That no moment in my future will truly be happy without her there to share it. The days go by quickly and it doesn't get easier, but instead it's begun to feel like a bad dream. The moments in the hospital feel distant even though I can remember each detail of each moment. I wish I could blur that part out. I wish I could only remember the beautiful, happy times with my mom. I wish I could only remember the smile on her face and not the pain or sadness in her eyes while she was sick.

Our family is functioning. We smile and remember the funny moments with my mom. We sort of avoid talking about how much we miss her with each other because it goes without saying. I know certain things remind Emily of my mom at the exact time they do for me. We don't need to say it.  I don't think more than 10 minutes goes by that I don't think about her. I pray that I will see her in my dreams, but I have only had two dreams about her and neither was of happy times.

People say you always feel your loved one with you. I have been searching to feel my mom with me since she passed away. I honestly don't know if she is with us. I do believe she is in Heaven but don't know if she has any way of seeing us or looking out for us. I wish she did, and I wish I could feel her presence every second. I think we have this expectation of what it feels like to lose someone based on books and movies about the afterlife. It's more empty than I expected.

I try to think of how busy my mom always was, how she got married and had kids so young. Today I looked at a picture hanging on my Grandma's wall of our family in 1992. My mom was already married had two kids by the age of 27. It just reminded me of the way she always seized each and every day. She never waited around unsure of her decisions the way I do. She lived. She gardened, she taught, she read good books, she went to farmers markets, she brought us on vacations. She was a great example of how to make the most of every day. I can't remember a single day that she ever just sat on the couch. I know that she definitely was not ready to end her life on Earth, but I am thankful that she did so much while she was here, and that she touched so many lives.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Thank you

We have so many amazing friends and family members. Thank you all for coming to the memorial service yesterday! The turnout was amazing and we appreciate people letting us know how much my mom meant to everyone. Thank you to everyone who has sent flowers for the services and to our home. Thank you for the edible arrangements and tons of other goodies. Thank you for the beautiful, heartfelt cards. Thank you for the dinners and other little favors. I am just in shock at how kind and caring people are. I don't think I could ever thank each of you enough, but our family will most certainly pay it forward when others are in pain because we know what a difference it has made in our experience.

The memorial yesterday was perfect. I want to especially thank the St. Christopher school, staff, and community for letting us have the service and banquet there and for helping with all of the delicious food. Also, thank you to Mrs. Walker and Mrs. Burdett for organizing everything. You are amazing! The banquet was so much more than we expected. It gave us the opportunity to hear memories of my mom and to reunite with people we haven't seen in years. Hearing the stories and details people remember about my mom was so reassuring and such a tribute to her life. Seeing her students so upset and hearing parents say she changed their child's life was inspiring. I cannot thank you all enough for sharing those memories. It was good to remember the happy and fun times. Love you all!

Friday, March 23, 2012


Today has been a rough day for me. Just woke up feeling sad. I keep remembering little details about my mom like the way she put on her lipstick or how she would spend the entire day outside gardening on days like today. I would get so annoyed at her for being out there all day, but now I wish I had helped her and enjoyed those days. I know she would have loved this weather. After gardening she probably would have sat on the swinging chair and read a book.

I was so touched to see that her school is planning on setting up several memorials in her honor. I read this online in the Nashua Telegraph. A teacher's wife painted a picture of her for the school library. Also, they are still figuring out what they are going to do but some ideas have been to set up a scholarship for a high school student who wants to go into education or  having a fund for students who cannot afford field trips or having a brick or special bench at the school in her honor. I especially like the idea of a fund for field trips because my mom often had students who couldn't afford the cost of field trips and she would use her own money so they could go. I think one time she even paid for a student to go to summer camp during the summer because she thought he was a special kid who could do great things with the right opportunities. She did so many good things and wanted no recognition for any of the things she did. What a wonderful person. I hope people will do kind little things in her honor.

Tomorrow is the memorial service at St. Christopher Catholic Church in Nashua. It will be at 11am. I look forward to seeing everyone else who loved her!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


We decided to come home today because we finally felt ready. Thank you to all of you who sent us flowers and cards. Your kind words really did help. We got so many cards that we still have many to open, but it gives us something to do rather than sit around and feel sorry for ourselves. Thank you especially to Mrs. Walker, Mrs. Burdett and Jackie for cleaning our house, providing us with food, and taking care of our crazy dogs! You guys are amazing!!! And thanks to the Rougeau's for watching my little dog/son!

We received a letter from my mom's oncologist and it was really special. He said that he had never seen a patient as gentle and kind as my mom. He also said that he had never seen a family as close and supportive as ours was. He shared information about his own family's loss several years ago. The letter was so meaningful to us. No doctor is required to go out of his way like that, but we appreciate it so much.

Today while flying home on the plane, I kept looking out the window, staring at the clouds. Flying has always made me realize how small each of us really is and how big the universe is. Every little part of our bodies, every little piece of the Earth is so detailed and works in perfect harmony. God is greater than we could ever imagine and if you stop to think about the little details that we take for granted each day, like a tree growing from a seed or a baby being born, you can see all of God's miracles. We cannot even comprehend what he has in store for each of us or how amazing heaven is. We cannot even fathom all of the colors and sights there. And though it's so hard to not know exactly what my mom is experiencing or what she is seeing, I trust that she is there, and I feel peace knowing she is in peace! I love this video about a little girl raised in an agnostic family who began drawing and painting images of heaven. I believe God reaches out to each of us in different ways, ways he knows will be best for us. Just thought I would share :)

P.S. I appreciate that many people are still reading the blog! I only like to write when I feel positive or inspired or else I would write more often. Of course there are many days where I feel sad and angry, but I don't think people would like to read those posts as much ;) and I'd rather share positive energy!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Already missing you...

I don't know that anyone will continue to read this but it helps me to write things down. And maybe if I can make even one person more thankful for their own life, then this post is meaningful. I know too that my mom liked my posts. She didn't read the blog often but I was just looking through old texts from her and found one that said she had just read my blog and it lifted her spirits and changed her attitude. I don't really want the world to forget her either so I will write.

I keep thinking today of all the silly things people complain about- the weather, work, school. I do it too. But today we buried my beautiful, vibrant mother. That is a real problem to complain about, and to be honest we barely have. I am in awe of each of my family member's strength and trust in God through this experience. I think that while each of us hits lows and questions God, we know that He has a bigger plan than any of us could imagine. Our strength comes from Him. I fully believe that He has a plan and that there was a purpose for my mom's death. It will take a lot of patience, strength and faith to get us where we need to be and for us to see the big picture but I believe we will get there.

Today was difficult to say the least, but our family felt like everything went perfectly. The service was beautiful; the cemetery was peaceful; we were surrounded by people who truly love us and my mom. We continue to recognize the blessings. Since my mom's diagnosis I pictured this day in my head. I would push the thoughts away because it hurt too bad. But today those images became reality and it was more peaceful than I could have imagined because I really believe she is in heaven. I could have never in a million years have imagined that this would be our life. How could this happen to our perfect family, our young mother, our best friend? But who ever does expect it? You could drive yourself crazy trying to fugure out "why me"? It happened and there was nothing we could have changed or done differently. So now we have two options- we change for the worse and lose who we are and who she wanted us to be, or we live for her and find our purpose like she did. It is not going to be an easy road, but we continue to remind ourselves that WE are the ones who are suffering. She is living in a perfect world with so much love, where she deserves to be. I know there are so many difficult days to come, going home to our house that she made a home, our weddings, our babies, holidays. Every day will be a struggle, and we will miss her and long to speak with her more than I could ever describe. But we will continue to remember her and honor her by telling funny stories about her and sharing our memories. And we will rely on family and friends, our gifts from God, to help us get through each day. We love and thank you all for your support, especially those of you who flew all the way to FL to be with us and honor my wonderful mother. She truly was special and gifted in many ways!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Change in funeral plans

The visitation is still going to be the same but the church location has been changed. The service will now be held at St. Cecelia church at 830 Jasmine Way, Clearwater, FL. It will still be at 10 am on Tuesday.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Funeral Arrangements

The visitations will be at Curlew Hills Memory Gardens in Palm Harbor, FL on Monday March 12th from 2pm to 4pm and also 6pm to 8pm. The address is 1750 Curlew Road Palm Harbor, Florida. The funeral services will be held Tuesday March 13th at 10am at Countryside Baptist Church located at 2525 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater, FL 33761. Followed by the burial back at Curlew Hills Memory Garden. We will also have a memorial service for her in NH when we return from FL. All are welcome. It will be on March 24th at St. Christopher's School Church at 20 Cushing Avenue Nashua, NH at 11am.

My mom will be buried close to her nephew whom she loved so much, Jimmy Spicer.  She helped plan his funeral in March 7 years ago and loved that cemetery. Florida was where her heart was--in the sun and near the Gulf of Mexico.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Psalm 23
The LORD is my shepherd,
I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.
Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD

This morning my mom went to Jesus and God. She was not in pain when she went. My dad was by her side praying and told her if God was calling to her then she could go. She went soon after. She was not in pain because they intubated her yesterday and had her on sedatives. They said she could probably hear us. I know that she knows how much each of us love her. I didn't feel like there was anything I could have said to her that she already didn't know. She was the most kind, caring, beautiful person I have ever met and ever will meet. I think of all of the selfless things she did for our family and how much she taught each one of us. She was so moral, a genuinely GOOD person and a wonderful teacher. I am proud to call her my mother and will aspire to be like her every day that I live. She was the kind of person who would drop off Christmas gifts anonymously to a student in her class who was going through a hard time. Or go out of her way to make an unconfident student feel special and beautiful. She truly touched and changed lives every day that she lived.

Emily today said that each of us has a piece of her in us. Emily has her nurturing, empathetic qualities that made her so kind to others. Dani has her knack for making things beautiful and special with attention to detail and creativity. I like to think I have some of her ability to give advice to others in need. My dad has all of her and will continue to teach us things we never knew about her before. I find comfort in being with her mother, my Nana, who always knows what to say and my Pop-pop who she got her sense of humor from. Her brother Brian is funny like her and has so many similar traits that remind me of her. These people are so special because they are a piece of her.

I truly know that above all my mom wants us to be happy. That has been her goal since the day I was born. I could not ask for a better mother. Though we will never know why the Lord took her from us, I find comfort knowing she is in Heaven, where she is no longer suffering side effects of chemo or experiencing anxiety. She said in the beginning of this experience that she has had a perfect life and has always been so grateful for everything. Not many of us can say that. So while of course we will be sad and will miss her beautiful smile, contagious laugh, amazing advice, we know she is with us and we take comfort in knowing that God is in control and that He has a plan, even if we cannot understand it right now. We will not fall apart because she taught us how to be a family--how to put one another's needs above our own and how to stick together no matter what. Each day will be a challenge, but I will always think to myself "what would mom tell me right now?" And I know that the answer will come to me. If there is anything that I would hope others could learn from our experience, it would be to treat your family and friends right, trust God, and appreciate every single day you have on Earth. We love you mom and will strive to be like you and make you proud every day!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Day +10

Matthew 21:21 Jesus answered them, "Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only will you do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ it will be done. 21:22 Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive."

If ever we have needed your prayers, it is now. At about 6 this morning my mom began breathing heavily. Her heart rate has been around 150, very high. She lost consciousness but luckily my dad stayed the night last night so he was here for her. Her stomach is still huring and is very swollen. She has gained a lot of weight from retaining fluids. They have her stabalized now an she is on oxygen since she is having so much trouble breathing. She is able to mumble a little but also seems a little confused. We are all here now with her and my aunt Alicia and uncle Dennis are still here. My aunt Wendy is on her way. Dani is at school and we obviously don't want to upset her or have her worry.

So the current plan is to move my mom to ICU where they can closely monitor her. They will be slowly giving her a diuretic to get the extra fluid out of her body, which will hopefully get rid of the fluids in her lungs. They are also going to do a sonogram on her liver to tell if she has a complication called veno occlusive disease of the liver. It seems she may have this because her liver enzyme levels are heightened. They also see a slight change in her kidneys. Her heart sounds good and strong though. The breathing is what is causing the high heart rate we think. If this is VOD, her doctor said he has a lot of experience using a drug to treat it. The drug is not approved by the FDA in the US but is use in europe.

My mom is a fighter. She is tough and is still trying to get herself to sit up. She does have a lot of anxiety obviously, as do we all. She is such an amazing, wonderful, beautiful person who does not deserve to be going through any of this. We all love her more than words could ever say. Nothing is impossible with God. So please ask him to pull her through this.

Update: The doctors don't think it is VOD because her liver looks healthy. They now think it is some kind of infection or the mucositis that has caused her intestines to become "leaky." They see that fluid has leaked from her stomach and or intestines into her body, which is probably why her lungs have fluid in them. She is in a lot of discomfort so they have decided to intubate her, meaning she will be on a breathing tube. She will be sedated during this so they can do all the tests necessary and give her medications. Please continue to pray.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Day +9

It feels like we have hit a little bump in the road today. My mom is still not feeling good. She has stomach cramps and mouth pain. She has also gained a lot of weight and the doctors are not sure why. Her stomach is swollen. They said the stomach pain may be caused by mucositis, which is inflammation and ulcers of the lining of the digestive system. That's what causes the mouth sores also. They say the weight gain may be just from all the fluids. We are hoping it's nothing more than that, but they will be watching to make sure it has nothing to do with her liver or kidneys. She is on a lot of antibiotics because she has fevers. They give her many general antibiotics that fight off any infections or bacteria since her white blood cells are basically at 0.

Please, please pray that this is not anything serious and that she begins feeling better soon. God is watching over her and hears all of our prayers. The donor's cells should begin to engraft soon (settle into her bone marrow) and begin making blood cells. That's the next stage of this process.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Day +8

My dad said it seems like my mom is feeling slightly better today! My dad's cousins Alicia and Dennis came to help him and to keep him company. It's hard being at the hospital all day every day... My mom was able to shower and change today with my Aunt Alicia's help, which she really hasn't had the energy to do all week. So it is good to know that she is able to move around a little. My dad also said she talked a little bit, which she also hasn't done in a few days. She has been running some fevers (very normal for this process) and still has the stomach cramping but it might be getting better. A doctor told my dad that around Day 14 she should be feeling a lot better. It cannot come soon enough! I can't wait to have her home in hopefully a week and a half or two weeks.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Day +6

No changes today. She is still nauseous. They are going to give her pain meds for the mouth sores and try the behind the ear patch again for nausea. I guess she said she would ether hallucinate than be this sick. Hoping this gets better soon.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Day +5

My mom is still having a hard time :(. She has developed the mouth sores and has been throwing up. My dad is at the hospital with her and stayed in a hotel last night because of the snow storm. Thank you to the employees at my mom's school for the money so that my dad could get a hotel room! Please pray for my mom's pain to subside and for her to get better. This has been very difficult for her, and she is really sensitive to medication--each med they give her causes other awful side effects. Everything she is experiencing right now is "normal" according to the doctors. We just hope she begins to feel better soon.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Day +3

Unfortunately my mom isn't feeling too great today. She had a methotrexate chemo treatment today so this is probably why she's not feeling well. She was able to shower and eat a little bit though, which is good. Her mouth is becoming sore due to mucositis beginning. The doctor said she is doing well and her blood counts are right where they should be though. Some days will be better than others, but she will get through this!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Day +2

Just a quick update.. My mom had a great day today (as best as could be expected). She was able to walk and eat and talk on the phone. So grateful! Let's hope for a good day tomorrow also. She is starting to get a few canker sores unfortunately but not too bad. They are goin to start her on the IV nutrition tonight because she is losing too much weight. This way they can make sure she gets adequate calories and nutrition.