Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

At the end of last summer my mom started feeling a little under the weather. It wasn't anything too extreme. She was feeling a little run down and had some sort of rash, but she attributed most of it to stress. After all I was getting married within the next year and there were all types of decisions to make, not to mention the money involved.
1957 Easter
My mom in 1957 at 4-years-old
But after a few weeks of not feeling normal, my mom went to her doctor. She prescribed her prednisone, which did help her rash at first, but they still had no idea what was actually wrong. It was only when my parents described her symptoms to a family friend at the end of September, that someone was able to diagnose her. After confirming with her doctor, my mom was suffering from a rare autoimmune disorder called dermatomyositis. (That's the link my mom sent me to learn about what she had. Although she told me not to worry about some of the more extreme side effects, because that wasn't what she would be doing with.)
laurie karen me
My mom in high school in the center. My godmother is on the right.
In October my parents flew out to Louisiana to visit me for my birthday. Throughout most of the visit my mom wasn't feeling well, but we did manage to make it out to a few of the boy & my favorite restaurants together. And on my actual birthday she baked me a cake using a recipe out of Joy of Cooking and flavoring it with the satsumas growing in the backyard.
My parents. I believe shortly before they were married.
My parents were in Louisiana for about a week before returning back to California. About a week after they were back my mom was hospitalized. It seemed her disorder had started attacking her lungs, and in order for her lungs to work properly she needed additional oxygen. Because of the amount she needed, she needed to be in ICU.
My parents' wedding. June 6, 1982.
My mom's brother is on the left. One of my dad's brothers is on the right.
After my mom had been in the hospital for about a week my dad called and asked me to fly out to California to visit. I thought the whole thing was ridiculous. After all, my parents had just been in Louisiana less than 2 weeks ago. And I would be flying home for Thanksgiving in a few shorts weeks. Surely by then she'd be out of the hospital and back to normal. It seemed silly to fly halfway across the country just to say hi. But considering how things turned out, I thankfully did make the decision to fly to California for a long weekend.
Me & my mom in the Louvre
When I visited my mom in the hospital she seemed fine. Yes she was obviously not feeling well, and had difficultly breathing at times (but that's what the extra oxygen was for), but she was still herself. We had several interesting conversations, especially now in hindsight. We talked about how Joss Whedon had made a movie of Much Ado About Nothing, and how she couldn't wait to see it. I mentioned a few positive changes I had at work. We talked about the boy & my plans for starting a family. I remember my mom saying that she couldn't believe we were having this conversation about her daughter being a mom.
Image (24)
But the weekend came to an end, and it was time for me to fly back to Louisiana. My flight was early on October 31, and my last day at the hospital was the 30. I still remember telling her that I loved her and I would see her in only a few weeks for Thanksgiving. But sadly that wasn't the case since my mom's funeral was the day before Thanksgiving.
90 - Ren Faire
About a week into November my mom's lungs still hadn't gotten better. Unfortunately, even with medication they had been deteriorating. A decision was made that they would medically induce a coma. That way while she was in her coma her body could spend all of its energy toward repairing itself. But that isn't what happened. Yes, there were days where it seemed like she was getting better, but overall she wasn't. There was talk of moving her to UCLA so she could get on a list for a lung transplant. But that never happened.
My mom and me on the way down
My mom & I in Japan
Friday morning, November 18, which was the Friday before Thanksgiving, my dad called me and said I needed to fly home. I left work, re-booked my flight, packed, flew to California and was at the hospital around 10:30pm. A few hours after I arrived, early in the morning of November 19, my mom had officially passed away.
Family in the backyard
My family in my parents' backyard.
I'm not sure what to say to end this post, but I think no one ever knows what to say when they lose a loved one. I can't believe I'm sitting here writing this today. If someone had told me a year ago what the following 12 months would bring, I couldn't have even fathomed it. It all just happened over such a short period of time.
The Family
Me, my parents, and grandmother at Houmas House Plantation.
With Mother's Day today, all I can say is be thankful for the time you have with you mom and all the other women in your life, because you never really know how much time you have left.
I miss you mommy & love you. Happy Mother's Day.


  1. She is so beautiful. Love all the pictures. The one of her in high school is so cute! :)

    I'm so sorry this happened. I was reading your blog when it did & I remember being shocked & so sad for you. :( Thanks for the reminder to not take our moms for granted.


  2. Beautiful pictures. My heart is so sad for you. The two things I know are that life turns on a dime and that those we love live on in our hearts forever.

  3. I just want to give you a big hug. This post was heartbreaking and I just ache for you. Your mom was beautiful and seeing all of the pictures was nice. Thank you for sharing your moms story.
    Thinking of you!

  4. Oh my heart just hurts for you. This is a beautiful post. Your mom was such a beautiful, special person. It was always apparent how wonderful of a mom she was when you wrote about her.

    You are so right, though. We can not take the time for granted that we have with our love ones.

    Thinking of you...

  5. What a beautiful post. I love all the photos you've shared of your mother. She was so beautiful and the two of you look so much alike.

    Thinking of you. XO

  6. you are so right, we never know how long we have left, so we should always live our life to the fullest.


  7. This is a beautiful post. You look so much like your mother. I love all the pictures. It sounds like your mom was a wonderful woman and you all had a great relationship.