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Mom is back in the hospital. She has been failing gradually, hurting a lot. We found that she has a pretty bad urinary tract infection, and that she was dehydrated. She's being taken care of and hopefully regaining some strength. I know she's scared and worried, too. We all are, yet we remain optimistic regarding her recovery.

I am very grateful for my family, we are a wonderful little support group.

I Love You, Mom

September 5, 2002

It has taken me this long to attempt to put this into words.

My mother, Carolyn Jean Baker Durnell, the strongest, most loving, most important person in my life, passed away on June 10th, 2000 at 6:00 p.m.

We, myself, my kids, Danielle and Alex, and Dad had been there for a few days. My sister, Mary and her kids, Sami, Jevin and Drake, there. Kelly came later. Mom had been slipping away for a few days...the Hospice nurses were so wonderful to us, I don't know how we would have made it without them. They made sure that Mom's last days were as comfortable as could be. Ask me about angels without wings, and I'll tell you about the wonderful Hospice angels that take care of those that are passing, as well as the families that are left devastated by the loss.

It was hot the day Mom passed, but about 4:00 p.m., about the time Mary was on her way here, it rained like crazy. Maybe God and the angels knew that she was leaving us and they were crying for our sadness. Maybe they were crying with happiness that she was finally joining them.

Losing my mother, my friend, my confidant, has been to most devasting blow I have ever endured.
Over two years without hearing my Mom's voice. Over two years of her not waking me up early on a Saturday morning. Two First Day of Schools...2 birthday parties for each family member, and we will NEVER get used to her not being physically here with us.

And there's little Rylee Jean Mae Oliver. Mary's baby born May 30th 2001, that looks just like Mom when she was a baby.

No Regrets

I wish I could say that I have lived my life with no regrets. But I can't.

I regret that I didn't appreciate Mom for who she was while she was here. Why is it that we can't or don't see the beauty of what people do while they are here? Why is it that I complained so loudly of Mom's early morning weekend wakeup calls, when now I would give everything I own and more just to hear her voice one more time? The trinkets that she gifted us with are more precious than gold. A coffe cup from Wal-Mart is my most cherished possession. Because she bought it for me. A grocery list in her handwriting is in my purse.

Mom loved us. Bottom Line. No matter what we did, no matter what we didn't do. She loved us. And we can love because of her.

And that's it, Mom. That's what you taught us.

Some Advice

You have a family, a family unit...whatever, everyone has someone, at least one person, that cares for you. Let them know how you feel about them. Don't let a chance pass you by.

And if you have some resentments against someone, they've "wronged" you, they've done something you didn't like...think a moment. How are you going to feel when they are gone? Are you going to let a slight misunderstanding plague you? Let bygones be bygones. Everyone has a reason for doing what they do. Who are you to decide if someone else has made the right choice?

Mom was sick for 10 years before she was ever diagnosed with cancer. She was afraid to go to the doctor, because she "knew" what it was. She waited too long. Had she gone earlier, the chemotherapy and radiation may have helped. Can you imagine enduring an illness for 10 years before seeking treatment? Mom had a heart attack in '97. The cancer wasn't detected then, not for 3 more years. But she knew it was there.

She had three more years with her grandchildren and her kids and husband. The last year was so hard, but she did it.