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Uncle Freddie, Mom, and Munchkin in September.
Why hello....I am still alive, but these last couple months have been crazy, busy, rough, insightful, etc. I cannot list enough adjectives to describe how I have been feeling lately. It is literally like a roller coaster.
Thanksgiving just passed and for the 3rd year, we hosted it at our home. I absolutely LOVE doing this. I am always off work the Wednesday before Thanksgiving so it leaves time for me to clean the house and rearrange for all of the company that comes to eat with us. It's also the motivation I need to do a deep clean of the home, which is something I need to do more often. This year, I am reminded at every turn, how thankful I should be of everyone and everything in my life.
On Thursday, October 25th, 2012, I received a phone call at 4:25am. It was my father calling me. I was in such a deep sleep the first time he called, that I actually ignored the call. It wasn't until the 2nd call that I was awake enough to understand I need to answer. The phone call went something like this...
Dad: *silence* Amber....
Me: "What, Dad? Is everything okay?"
Dad: No, not really. Freddie had a bad night....
Me: "Did he pass away?"
Dad: "Yes...his heart gave out....."
So as you can tell..a random phone call at 4am is never a good thing. My Uncle Freddie, who I have posted about several times, perished from this earth at 69 years old on 10-25-12 at Midnight. I had talked to him on Tuesday, the 23rd, where he had told me that his Bone Marrow Transplant did not work and they were going to try again. He kept saying how he wanted to come home and he was just so weak he couldn't leave. He was ready to throw in the towel, and really, in hindsight, he knew that it was time. I cried on the phone to him and told him I just wished he would get better and that everyone is praying hard for him. He apologized for getting me upset, and then we talked about how being emotional is in our blood, and I could tell he was weeping silently, too. I knew this was the last time I would talk to him on the phone...I told my husband as soon as we hung up as I weeped that I knew it was coming soon. At least my Uncle Freddie's last words to me were "I Love you, Amber Lou." (He always did give everyone a nickname or call them something special to show them how special they were to him. He also called everyone "Kiddo" which I picked up a long time ago and will carry on..)
I am weeping as I type this, as I am admittedly a crybaby and it is just how I am. I have such a photographic memory and the memories of the hours and days that followed are flashing before me.
I had to go to work that morning, merely two hours after finding out the news. It was a test of my strength. I cried here and there, but had to keep strong for my students. Breaking the news to my 4 year old was tough as well. She very much knew her Uncle Freddie. She cried for about 15 minutes when I told her, then lots of questions followed about where he was, what happened, etc in the following days. We chose not to take her to the funeral.
Being there for my mother, which was Freddie's only sibling, was very enlightening. I had to be my mom's rock, especially at the funeral. She did not want to speak to anyone the day she got the news, Dad did all the calling, and mom wanted to be at home alone. We all grieve differently and that was her way. She was asked to help at the funeral home in the planning of the services, etc. She was asked the write the Eulogy, which she asked me to help her. It was an honor and It was read very beautifully by Freddie's son at the funeral. It was very hard for my mom and she needed all the support she could get. At the funeral, I never left her side. I held her hand more than I've held her hand since I was a young child. My goal at the funeral was to be the person that others could lean on, rather than being the one that needed the shoulder. I feel that I succeeded. I did cry a lot, until my eyes were sore, but I was strong for her as best as I could be. She would grip me tightly and I would grip tighter. It was really a beautiful service. Everyone wore Camo and Jeans. Freddie was buried in the same...he wasn't the "formal" type. The music played were songs from his iPod. It was really an homage to him. At the funeral home I saw a hawk just soaring and free. Ironically, Freebird was the final song played at the funeral. I saw this hawk two days in a row after the funeral. I feel it was Freddie sending me a message..He's free.
I have learned and grown from this difficult event. Give love everyday and freely...you never know when someone won't be there to receive it any longer. Secondly, I am starting to see how we go from being the person who is parented...to being the parent...to then becoming the caretakers for our own parents. Life really does come full circle. it is so bittersweet, but I felt very special to be my mom's rock during such a difficult event. I know it is but a glimpse of the future. As she gets older, the more I will need to be my mother's rock. The more she will need, and the more I know I will have to be there. I am sad to be switching into this role so soon, as I couldn't picture life without my mom or dad, but I know that in life you are guaranteed one thing....Death. (As Freddie told me during our last conversation) I can't focus on that fact, but I need to be aware that Life can be gone as quickly as it is here.
So I am going to love a little deeper, tell my emotions and show my feelings rather than bottling them up, be more present in the now while being aware of the future, and just live every day without regrets. So I challenge you...if you have something to say to someone...say it....if there is something on your bucket list that you want to do...do it....Give all Glory to God and be thankful for every day we have on this earth. Remember: Live in the world but we are not of the world.
So all in all, I am thankful for every day that God gives me to love and to be loved. I am thankful for every day that I get to see my daughters grow and develop into beautiful young ladies. I am thankful for a husband that is by my side and is my best friend. I am thankful for a family that is 100% supportive and is always there for me. I am thankful for a job that allows all of our basic needs to be met and to live comfortably. I am thankful for friends, both online and in the physical, that I can lean on and talk to whenever need be. Overall, I am thankful for being alive and all of the blessings God has put into my path. I am also very thankful that I had such a wonderful uncle and friend for 27 years of my life.
What are you thankful for?
Also! I am now a blogger with Fitspiration For Moms! Come and check us out! :)~Amber
Well, it has been over a month since I have had a chance to sit down at my computer and write. A break usually happens around the beginning of the school year because I get so inundated with things to do, that sitting down at the computer at the end of the day is the last thing I want to do.
Our living situation continues to be complicated, overwhelming, and stressful. It is really like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. We are the only option for help that she has.....but yet our rules and other requests can't be followed 100%. Finding the right way to address it is near impossible without causing ill feelings. Ugh...I feel a panic attack coming on just continuing to think about it.
In positive news, I think there is going to be a great turn-out for the benefit for my Uncle Freddie. We had a car wash and bake sale in the beginning of September for him and raised around $550 in three hours. It was very heartwarming seeing the community rally around helping one of its own.
On September 11th, my Uncle Freddie had his bone marrow transplant. Right now he will spend the next month in isolation at the hospital to keep him away from any germs. He has absolutely no white blood cells to fight infection. Hopefully, in the next week or so, we will find out if his transplant was successful. Basically, they have to see if the cells grafted and start making new, healthy blood for him. It is definitely a waiting game and even though the transplant is over, the most important period is now...so pray for good news!
Things have kicked off nicely at work. My students are pretty awesome this year. Aside of the typical teenage girl drama that happens every now and then, it has been remotely painless. :) We take our first overnight FCCLA Trip soon so I am excited to see how they work together as a team.
I am getting ready to write a blog post on why I believe all women need to read 50 Shades of Grey....what is your opinion of the books? Have you read them? Why or Why Not? If you have read them, did they change your relationship in any way? Explain! I am anxious to see if women share the same opinions as I do. Enlighten me!
Also, I am very excited to be teaming up with some great ladies to take a Visalus challenge! I will definitely outline more details as soon as I get them!! :)I also want to take a minute and say that I really miss all my Mamavation Ladies . I have not been as dedicated as I should be to the sisterhood, but sometimes life just takes you on a different path. It is Homecoming week at our school this week, so that means Spirit Week, Parades, Dances, Football Games, and lots of CRAZINESS! So please say a little prayer that I survive all the activities with my students! :P
The Start of Another School Year is upon us. We went back last week and it was, as expected, a transition for sure! I had become accustomed to going to bed around 2am and getting up around 10 am. Now I must get up at 6am...YIKES! I have done pretty good so far. The first week was full of meetings and introducing my courses to students. Actual Coursework begins tomorrow! Whoohooo! I am actually excited to get the school year going. I have been doing pretty good on my food intake. I have quit drinking pop. (RIP Cherry Coke :0/ ) and have vowed to TAKE my lunch everyday rather than purchasing the school lunch, which is no where near as healthy as it should be!)
Gigi started back at daycare and loves it and doesn't hardly give me any lovin before I leave..she's too busy catching up with her best buds! All in all..it was a productive week. Things are still a little tense at home with all of the recent drama, but I am getting more used to the environment and change.
My Uncle Freddie with his Wife and Daughter
Now...I don't tend to ask for much, but this section is dedicated to my Uncle Freddie. Freddie was diagnosed with MDS (pre-leukemia) about two years ago. After a year and a half on an experimental drug, his symptoms have again taken over. In the last two months, he has received OVER 38 units of blood and at least 4 units of platelets. The doctors in STL stated that he must have a bone marrow transplant. My mother, his sister, unfortunately was not a perfect match. However, they did find a donor in the donor bank that meets on 9 of the 10 requirements. Due to my Uncle's current need, they have to go with it! The statistics are not exactly sunshine and rainbows, but they have no other option. His body is literally attacking itself and killing his blood cells. The transplant has been scheduled for September 11th. He will go in the hospital for intense chemo and radiation on Sept 5th, to kill off his blood cells, and then will receive the transplant 6 days later. I...am...worried...sick...scared....sad...but optimistic that it will WORK! It is definitely in GOD's hands!
NOW...here's where my plea lies....He and his family will have to live in St. Louis for THREE MONTHS. Who can afford to just pick up and move to a city for three months, no jobs, no extra income, etc?! No one can...so we have to help support them! I KNOW money is tight for everyone, but if have the means, ANY DONATION is more than APPRECIATED! This family has done nothing but GIVE their whole lives, and now it is time for them to receive. The website where you can donate safely is HERE! http://www.gofundme.com/112z60 . It uses WePay and is 100% secure. You can choose to give your name OR donate anonymously. I don't like to ask for money, but THEY NEED IT BADLY!
Also, if you have a business, and want to send me a gift card/gift basket for the benefit dinner and silent auction they will soon be having on October 6th at the local Elks club, Please let me know and I will get you the information!
There are two other important ways you can help, that are even free! First of all, please PRAY!
and Second of all, please GIVE BLOOD IN HIS HONOR! I had never given blood before until this past Friday. I was nervous and scared, but it only took 5 minutes once they stuck me. I did almost faint, but as soon as they laid me back, I was A-OK, and have felt fantastic ever since. I had no lasting effects, but knowing that my blood could help save up to three lives...I feel so great for doing it! So please do it if you can!!!!
I hope everyone has a wonderful week...Until Next time...