Friday, May 30, 2014

May 28th....The Best Day of 1999!

Happy 15th Birthday to my Lone only son....the one who has a very deep voice and needs to shave his upper lip, but is still my little guy. The young man who has taught me more in 15 years than I could have ever imagined. The one who has made me a planner, does his chores without being asked, keeps his room in organized chaos. The one who still loves trains, mailboxes, cranes and trash trucks. The one who loves being with his family, going to the beach, fishing with dad, going to school. The one who has impacted so many people in his short time here on earth. The one who steals hearts on a daily basis....including mine. The best brother in the world who loves his 4 sisters so much. I can't believe 15 years have gone by so fast. Where is my towheaded, bright eyed little boy? He's growing up into that kind, handsome young man I put on the bus this morning. Callahan Leigh Payne....I adore you!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Arm's Length "Friends"!

Drew has a "friend" who can't decide if she's nice or not.  I don't know how else to explain it except that sometimes she's nice and sometimes she's not.  Last year they were so very close, and I would have never imagined things turning out the way they have.  Being thirteen probably has much to do with that, but as I have told my girls before; it's no excuse to be hateful.  This "friend" has said some very unkind and hurtful things to Drew.  She will be stand offish and then act like her BFF again.  Today she was late coming to the car, and she apologized when she got in.  She told me she was helping this "friend".  So I asked her...."Is all of that ugliness under the bridge?"  Drew said, "Not really.  Sometimes she's nice and sometimes she's not."  I told her this needed to be a friend she kept at arm's length, and she agreed.  I think it helped her to hear me say that I have several "friends" like that.  People I can be friendly to, interact with, etc.; but they aren't friends I would ever depend on, trust or share my secrets or concerns with.  Some of them are people who use to be close to me, but like Drew's "friend" are now at arm's length.

NOLA 2014

 My mister and me went to NOLA this past weekend.  His sister and her beau went with us, and we celebrated the wedding of his cousin and her now new husband.  It was the best time.  NPayne's lifelong friend gave us a tour of the city, and it was grand.  I so enjoyed spending so much time with my husband.  I love that man.

Happy 49th Mom and Dad!

Today is my parents' 49th wedding anniversary.  The last one they celebrated together was their 40th.  It was shortly before my dad was diagnosed with cancer and six months later he was gone.  I remember their 40th wedding anniversary.  I was hosting a party for a friend.  I can't remember what she was selling, but I remember my dad bringing my mom to the party.  I remember watching him in the back room of our house lying down sleeping.  I remember that his hip hurt a lot.  I remember that I never ever suspected he had cancer or would be gone in just six short months.  The day my mom passed, I knew the time was coming.   She had gotten worse the few days before.  I thought I had a few weeks or maybe even months left with her.  When my dad's final days were upon us, I knew it.  With my mom, I just wasn't sure.  She was so strong....even in her fragile state.  My cousin asked me if she should bring her mom (mom's sister) to see mine, and I remember telling her "I don't know".  "Do you think we have until tomorrow?" she asked.  "I don't know." I replied.  But now today, 8 1/2 years later; my parents are celebrating together again.  I can't help but smile when I think of them together, but it is a very odd and lonely feeling knowing I don't have my mom and dad on earth any longer.  I'm an 47 years old....and I feel like one sometimes.  I miss them both terribly, and I wish we were having a big celebration here for them; but I know they are having one in heaven.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


I sit in the bathroom with the door closed, and I cry. I sob hard, but nobody knows. It happens in the middle of the night, while my family is watching TV and sometimes in the middle of the day when nobody is home. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind, and I am tired and sad. I miss  my mom. I'm overwhelmed by the busyness of May, and my to do list is long; but I long for the time to sit and be still. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers, and I covet them. The night time text messages wishing me peaceful sleep are the best. Thank you for listening.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Thursday, May 15, 2014

I Miss My Mommy!

I returned to work today after several days off. I find myself wanting to sit and do nothing, but it has been good to keep busy; and I was excited to see my sweet little two year old preschool friends. They are amazing and fun and exhausting and sweet and smart and adorable; and they love me. I was greeted with lots of hugs,  we missed you's and very kind condolences from their mommies and daddies. I was a little nervous about going back....afraid I might break out into sobs for no apparent reason,  but I didn't. However there was one moment today...that was sweet and tender and sad....and I blinked back tears. One of my sweet little two year olds was crying. This isn't a usual occurrence for her. She is usually very chatty, in charge, inquisitive and happy; but there she was in a heap on the floor. I walked over and asked her what was wrong. She continued to lay on the floor in a heap, head buried in the carpet, crying soft tears.  I swooped her up and wrapped her little arms around my neck and my arms around her little body. She wept with her face buried in my shoulder. I asked her again if she was okay, she composed herself and nodded her head yes. I hugged her tight and put her down on the floor. A few seconds later I felt someone holding my was her. I knelt down and asked her again, "Are you sure you're okay?" She looked right into my eyes and said softly, "I miss my mommy." Her words so sweet and tender were like a stinger in my heart. I couldn't remember ever hearing her say that before. Her lip quivered and so did mine, and she said it again "I miss my mommy." Tears welled up in my eyes, and I said "I miss my mommy too." She wrapped her arms around me and squeezed my neck, then she ran off to play.  It was like she knew that my mom had just passed, and that was her way of telling me she was sorry; and she knew what it was like to miss your mommy.  Two year olds are amazing, aren't they?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Uncle John

My mom has a sweet Uncle John. He's younger than her but still her uncle. She and he had a close relationship, and I always enjoyed being around him. I spoke to him on the phone a few hours before my mom died, and I told him she would be coming home with me on hospice care. A few short hours later, she died. He came to her viewing, and we caught up a little. After her funeral, he hugged me and wept in my arms.. He mentioned again how they were close. It was gut wrenching to see him so sad. Then tonight the phone rang. It was Uncle John. The first thing he said was how sorry he was for being so broken up at her funeral.  I assured him it was perfectly okay and understandable, and it was hard losing her. He apologized again and said he had never cried at a funeral. This is a man, who has outlived his parents and 5 siblings, and this was the first funeral he had ever cried at. He then told me how sweet and special her service was. He asked me how I was doing, and I told him I was keeping busy, and I knew it would get easier; but it was very hard. Uncle John told me that he and mom didn't see each other much, but they talked on the phone often. He asked me about Neil, and I told him what a wonderful person he is. John said he knew that from my mom, and that he knew my family was very special from talking with her. I told him that she loved us so very much and was so proud of her grand kids. I then told him I had been going through her things and asked him if there was anything he might want. He said if I ever came across anything that belonged to his brother, he might like to have it. I explained that I was pretty sure there were momentos of his brother who had died in WW11 when John was either very young or not yet born. I told him my mamaw, his sister, was very sentimental as was my mom as am I; and that we keep everything. He chuckled and said "That's a good thing." He mentioned how he would like to spend more time with us. I smiled as I agreed, we bid our farewells and hung up. I think I know where one of our road trips might be this summer.

I Feel It....

I feel your your messages, cards, flowers, food, coffee, hugs, tokens, stories, night time texts wishing my peaceful sleep, and morning texts of encouragement and love....I feel it. It's apparent that my mom was loved dearly by many, and that we have so many wonderful people who love us. I have not opened one sympathy card as of yet, but the stack continues to grow. I need some time and quiet to devote to reading all of these lovely words, and it will come soon; but the time hasn't been right just yet. I have only given out two thank you to my wonderful friend, Armando, who portrayed my mother so well at her service; and the other to another wonderful friend, Josh, who sang "I'll Fly Away"... the same song he sang at my dad's funeral 8 1/2 years ago. I have many to write, and the time will come; but it's not something I want to rush. So in the meantime, I wanted you to know that I feel it; and it is very much appreciated. 
You people are amazing!


The last week has been a whirlwind to say the least.  In the midst of grieving my mother, some unbelievable things have happened.  Some good and some not.  I'm amazed at the choices people make and the things people do to you in the midst of grief.  I cannot even fathom how anyone would think these choices and behaviors are appropriate, warranted or would be embraced by me and my family.  God is holding my hand and has given me exactly the direction I need...words, no words, replies, no replies, actions, no actions; and He is my refuge.  In Him I find strength to handle these situations and people in the way that He guides me, and I am thankful.

Monday, May 12, 2014


I was at my mama's tonight, and I found a lock box with many things inside....birth certificates, marriage license, etc. And there were two love from my dad to my mom, and one from my mom to my dad. Both were written 6-8 weeks after they were married, and my dad was in the National Guard. This one made my night sooo sooo good. I giggled, smiled and blushed a little. Some of my favorite parts were: "I put a bathing suit on layaway, and bought us sweatshirts alike. You'll like them." And....the last paragraph that said, "Honey, do you have any idea at all of how much I love you. I love you and need you more than I have ever loved anyone or needed anyone or anything. I would give anything to be in your arms this very minute and just be able to stay there. Take care of yourself for me, and I'll see you Friday. All of my love is yours, Sandy"
They still spoke that sort of love language until the day my dad passed, and now she is in his arms and able to stay there; and that makes me smile!

Tribute to My Mama!

I wrote this tribute for my mother, and one of my lifelong and closest friends was brave enough to read it for me yesterday at her funeral. What I really want anyone who hears it or reads it to understand is the legacy of love my parents left behind. I want that legacy to live on in anyone who knew them or has learned about them through words and stories about them. I want people to LOVE their people and all people and love them well!! My mom loved our videos, and this is one is dedicated in her memory....she was definitely an OVERCOMER! And The Paynes are as well, largely in part of the example she was to us. God will see us through anything, and I've seen many good good things come from this past week of the most difficult times of my life, and He is shining and showing me so much good He did through my mother's life. Here it is....Happy Mother's Day!

"Last Monday, I asked my mama what she wanted for Mother's Day; and she said " A kiss from my mother." That night at 10:22, she got that kiss as she entered the gates of Heaven. When I was visiting her in the nursing home earlier that day, I saw a sweet elderly couple sitting outside in the sun. The gentleman was caressing his disabled and confused wife's hand, and I knew that soon my daddy would be caressing his bride's hand again after all these years. I sat and watched my mom all day Monday. She slept most of the time but would wake and smile at me from time to time. I fed her lunch and held her hand. We talked but mostly I watched her sleep and thought about the kind of mother she was. I thought about my dad...sitting in heaven waiting for her, and the beautiful love they shared. I thought about my whole life....with them as my parents, and how much they loved me. There has never been one minute of one day of my existence that I was not assured of their love for me. There was never any doubt how they felt about me, Neil or their grand kids. They adored and loved us so well. My mother was my biggest inspiration. She was the most generous person I've ever known and embraced and encouraged me in everything I did. She was determined and strong willed, or as my cousin Kris referred to her .... She was a pistol. Even at 83 pounds, she fought hard at everything. Just try and tell her that she couldn't do something, and that's all it took for her to show you she could. She knew what she wanted, how to get it and had a plan in place. The health challenges she has faced over the last 25 years were very difficult, but it never defined her. I never remember seeing her saddened or angry about her circumstances but just more determined and happy to have another day. I rarely ever remember anything but joy in her face, voice and heart. I don't know if I could ever embrace such challenging circumstances with such grace, gratitude and beauty. She ended every visit, email, phone call with an "I love you", and she always made me feel special. For the last several years, I would get an email every day that said "I love you! Mom, Sandy, Moo!" She was mom to me, Sandy to Neil and Moo to her grand kids. After all these years and through her death, God has revealed so much to me in these past few days. From messages, comments and conversations I've had with people since her passing; it has become crystal clear that my mama...and my daddy....left quite a legacy behind. They shared their welcoming and unconditional love with everyone. Nobody had to earn it or prove anything, they just loved you; and they loved you well. I had forgotten how bad a broken heart hurts, but knowing she is home and whole; and her heart is no longer broken makes mine more bearable. I have a vision of my daddy taking her hand and leading her onto the dance floor while they laugh and dance together. My mom loved to dance, and she hasn't been able to dance for a very long time; but there she is....dancing and celebrating her new gift of life in eternity. The best part is that she was greeted by a kiss from her mother, a caress by the husband she loves so deeply and the open arms of Jesus. Tomorrow is Mother's Day, and I would really like a kiss from my mother. I won't get that this year, but I am so very thankful for the millions of kisses I have gotten from her in my lifetime. So what I would like for Mother's Day is for her legacy to live on, and tomorrow.... If you're able to do so, kiss your mama. Tell your kids how much you adore them every chance you get. Sit in the sun with the people you love. Hold hands with your husband or wife. Send your friends an encouraging message, tell someone how they have made your life better, and Thank God for the blessings in your life! Don't let those you love wonder but always let them be assured!"

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Moo, The Speech and The Funeral!

Elliot has been curious about the funeral all week....almost excited by the thought of it. It's the first one she's ever attended. Every afternoon this week, she would say only ? more days until the funeral, and she would try to be solemn; but she really wasn't. Then on Thursday, she informed me that she had a speech she would be reciting at the funeral today. I said, "Really? Well that would be nice. There will be a designated time in the service for tributes." She then asked me if there would be a microphone.  I said, "Yes there will, but you can also say your speech from your seat if you would like to." Last night, Neil was explaining to her and Bryna what the viewing was going to be like. He explained what a casket was, that it would look like Moo was asleep...sort of like Sleeping Beauty, that many of our family would be at the viewing, and that the casket would be closed during the service. He did a wonderful job of explaining to all of them that grief is different for everyone, some cry, some don't, some of her family will want to see Moo, and some won't. We had decided they didn't have to go to the viewing if they didn't choose to do so. Elli proclaimed that she would be going, because she had something to put in the casket. Neil said, "Really? What is it?" Without skipping a beat, she said, "It's my speech." He said, "Don't you need it to read at the funeral." She answered, "Nope, I have it memorized."  I was helping the girls pick out clothes last night. Addi wasn't sure what to wear...."I don't have anything black." I told her I wasn't wearing black, but would be wearing a dress with butterflies on it. Drew and Bryna both decided on sweet dresses after searching for a bit. But Elliot....she knew from the get go....of course it had been planned in her head, like the speech. I got up very early this morning, and there she sat on the couch.....fully dressed, shoes and all. She had already eaten four muffins and was holding her Pinky Pie/sucking her thumb, watching TV. It made me smile to know that she sees this day as a celebration. She has been a good reminder for me all week that this is a good day....we are celebrating the life of my beautiful mother. My heart is broken, and there will always be that hole that is never filled on earth. But I do find great comfort in knowing my mother is pain free....her pain was so bad, and I am so thankful that it is gone. But my biggest comfort is that my mom is rejoicing today. Please pray for my family today and all of those who love us and loved my mother. Please pray for Elliot and all of my children today....I pray their memory of today is exactly how God intends it to be.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

May 5, 2014....MOO!

Her breathing was labored and she was moaning. I was filling the nurse in on her condition, and she asked me if I would be staying the night. I said no, I will stay until she's settled and calm. She was going to offer me a cot, but I kindly declined. Then it was silent. Mom was breathing hard, but she was not moaning; and I was watching her. I looked down at my phone, for an instant, to reply to a message from my aunt and my mom's best friend when I heard Code Blue. I looked at the nurse, who was attending my mom, and she seemed calm. Had those words come from her, or someone in the hall? In rushed a few people looking somewhat confused, and someone asked her if she called Code Blue?  She said it again much louder.....CODE BLUE! She said we just lost her pulse. What? I thought out loud. I knew the end was near, but I need a few more minutes, more days, more years. I looked at my mom's face, amd it was apparent she was not breathing. It's odd how death changes someone's appearance so drastically and so fast....literally like the life has been sucked out. A team of people came rushing in with machines and loud commands, and all I could do was stare. The doctor said we will start CPR unless you don't want us to. I dont. We had discussed this, and there would be no resuscitation , but I needed a few more munutes, days, years; so I said "I don't know" and they began. Please don't hurt her I screamed and then stood in the corner with my hands covering my ears as I screamed. I didn't want to hear anything breaking. It seemed like forever,  but it was a few seconds before the doctor said we can stop if you want us to; and I said STOP! I sobbed and screamed, and they stopped. The room was so quiet. I looked at the faces of all of those people who had been trying to save my mom, and the sorrow on their faces was evident. They were grieving as if they had known her and loved her like I did. It was awful and beautiful, and I buried my face in my hands and wept. A nurse embraced me, and I leaned into her hard. I never even saw her face. She comforted me and let me wail in her arms until my husband came back into the room. The doctor assured me that I did the right thing. She tried to tell me some things that might have caused her death, but it was mute to me. I didn't need to know the details, it was over in a blink. I knew the time was coming, I just needed a few more minutes, days, years. The instant heartbreak that overcame me took my breath away. I have suffered loss before, but I had forgotten how badly a broken heart hurts. Somehow losing your mother is different. Maybe because I'm a mother. I don't know, but there were things I wanted to tell her and show her. I know she knows, but I wanted to see her know. My mother was one of the most generous, fun loving, hard headed, stubborn people I've ever met; and all those traits served her well in life. Her will and determination kept her alive through some of the most challenging trials I've ever seen anyone endure. I don't think I could have ever fought a battle so bravely. The love she had for her child and her grandchildren inspired her to stay strong after my dad passed away, and she was a fighter by nature. She missed my dad so much over these last 8.5 years, and I don't know how she survived that either. She was my biggest inspiration, and I'm grateful she was my mother. She loved me so well!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

May 5, 2014....Sandra Jean Thorn Addison

Yesterday I asked my mom what she wanted for Mother's Day, and she said...."A kiss from my mother."  At 10:22 pm, she got that kiss as she entered the gates of Heaven.  Mom passed away peacefully last night.  Her heart just stopped beating, and although the hospital room was chaotic; she was not.  When I went to visit her in the nursing home yesterday, I saw the sweetest elderly couple sitting outside in the sun.  The gentleman was caressing his disabled and confused wife's hand, and I couldn't help but think that soon enough my daddy would be caressing his bride's hand again after all these years.  As I watched my mom throughout the day and spoke to her caregivers, I didn't know what to do.  The decisions were hard, and I couldn't make them alone; so I told God...."You do it.  Whatever You decide is what is best."  I gave it to Him.  My mama wanted to go home, and it became apparent this past weekend that she couldn't go back to her house alone.  By the time we got to the ER tonight, I had decided she would come home with us once she was strong enough; but she didn't get to come home with us.  For the first few hours after she died, I felt like I failed her....why didn't I just take her home?  But then God reminded me that I had asked Him to decide, and it dawned on me....she did get to go home....where she was greeted with a kiss from her mom, a caress from the husband she adored and missed so deeply and into the waiting arms of Jesus!  She is whole once again, and I rejoice because of that.  I had forgotten how badly a broken heart hurts, but I know hers is not broken anymore; and that makes my broken heart a little more bearable.  I covet your prayers especially for my children.  Addi and Drew are taking the news very very hard.  Cal is confused, yet he knows there is a reason to be sad.  We haven't told Bryna and Elliot yet and probably won't until after school today, but they will both be heart broken.  Bryna went with me to the ER and smiled a huge smile when Moo called her Drew and said, "Drew is my grand daughter, I would know her anywhere."  Addi too came to the ER, and I could tell that she knew the end was near.  Drew was shaken up quite a bit each time we would see Moo and really wanted to remember her before she got sick.  Seeing her suffer was more than she could take.  The broken hearts of me, Neil and my children are a testimony of what an amazing mother and grandmother she was and how our lives will be forever changed for good at having her in them.  As I share the news of her passing, there will be many other hearts broken.  They will break for us, because of how our time with her was cut so short; and they will break for themselves because of how their time with her was cut so short.  What I cling to is the vision of her in heaven, with no more pain and no more sickness, holding my dad's hand as he leads her out on the dance floor.  She loved to dance, and she hasn't been able to dance for a very long time; but now she is dancing in celebration of the new life in eternity she has been given.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

My Mom

My mom is sick.  She's been sick for about 6 weeks, but she has taken a turn for the worse over the last few days.  When I went to visit her in the nursing home Friday, I immediately knew she was worse.  She was disoriented, and I couldn't get her to wake up.  Saturday was the same, but I was able to feed her a grilled cheese sandwich and have a short conversation with her.  Today I couldn't get her to eat and when she was awake, she was not lucid and was hallucinating.  When her friend visited her today, she told her that she had not seen me in days; and this made me sad.  I don't want her to think I'm not there.  When I was there tonight, she stared at me in confusion as her hand gripped the imaginary knife that she thought she was holding.  When I stared in her hollow dull gray eyes that use to sparkle bright blue, I assured her that she was not holding a knife and was okay.  Those eyes were the same eyes I stared into 8 1/2 years ago when I saw my dad's eyes open for the last time.  As I stared into her eyes, and she into mine; all I could think about was how much she adored me.  I know this, not only because she has told me time and time again, but also because I am a mother too.  I know first hand how much a mother loves her is a love like no's one that can't be's all encompassing.  I stared into her hollow, dull, confused eyes and instead of feeling despair; I felt joy because of her love for me.  She was only awake for a moment and then her grip relaxed as I assured her she was not holding a knife and was okay, then she drifted off to sleep again.  When I left her tonight, I rubbed a kiss on her cheek and woke her up to tell her that I loved her.  She stayed awake long enough to tell me she loved me too, and I know that no matter how confused she is; she means that from the inner most part of her heart and soul.  I am grateful to have parents who lavished their love on me, so very grateful!