Where to even start?! I have been “gone” for so long that I don’t know if to recap or start fresh or somewhere in between. What was normally so therapeutic for me – keeping up the blog – just felt suffocating in the last several months. In all honesty, my brain has been mush…..on second thought, less mush and more like a giant tossed salad. So many shreds of thoughts, but seemingly incapable of getting a complete idea put together.
My last entry was in October, when we found out my mother had been diagnosed with cancer. Shortly after that I went to Peru where I spent about a ten days with my family. My mother, father, brother, and my mother’s two sisters. When I arrived my mother was in the hospital and not doing well. It was a mixture of sedation, feeling overwhelmed, and a burning desire to just get back home. After a few days, she was able to come home, and receive palliative care there. With 24/7 support, my mom rapidly adjusted to being back home. Despite the oxygen, nasal feeding tube and endless steps to treatment – she was just so relieved to be in her comfort zone. We took turns riding with her to the daily radiation therapy sessions. On the surface we were a family enjoying time together – good laughs, a few games and a movie here and there. Underneath the currents of our emotions ran strong and deep. It was not how we had expected to be together again.
Less than two months from diagnosis, my mom took her final breathes at home with my father by her side. Their relationship strengthened further by this challenge – we know she left us just as she would have liked. Within a day I was in Lima, and Roger the following day. It was a lot of running around taking care of things – minutes and hours filled by a busy state that suppressed the rush of emotions. My mother’s funeral was beautiful! The church was packed with folks standing on the sides and in the back. At our request people came dressed in bright colors. My mother wanted to be celebrated, not mourned, and that is what she had…..I just pray that as she went up to heaven she was able to see how the colors filling the pews resembled the English garden we wanted her to experience. There was so much love, so much support, so much celebrating of who she was at each stage of her life.
My father came back to the US with me. And in true Colorado form, we had truly frigid temperatures for his stay. Did I mention he HATES the cold? I know where I get it from! And I doubt he honestly believes me when I tell him we have been in the 50’s, 60’s and even a few 70’s since he left! Despite the cold, the warmth of being with family helped us all!
I will be honest – I have not yet really fully grieved. I know I need to, but it is a little bit out and a lot bottled up in the same place as everything else that has accumulated over the years. Peter’s health challenges from the moment he was born, the diagnosis of leukemia, the nine week hospital stay with many on a ventilator, all the times we have been told “he may not make it through”. Every day of the six plus months we have spent in the hospital over the last five years. Tack on my own self induced stress and that which normally comes in marriage and life…..my “bottle” is very full! At times I yearn for that ability to just sit down and let it all come out…..but you know how that goes in my home? Probably not much different than any other home full of kids! I think everyone is covered off on…..I sneak off to the bathroom. Quietly close the door hoping no one will notice I snuck off. Yet, I must have gone right out of the radar zone, because all hell breaks lose! A poke, a hit, a paused video game, empty glass of milk, lost book, homework drama, chore avoidance, wrong words ushered followed by “MAMA!”. The mounting chaos can be heard climbing the stairs behind me. Peter’s “Mama, mama, mama” and pounding on the bathroom door. Gretchen’s “MAAAAAMAAAAAA!!” and a hormonal unleash only a three year old girl girl can let out that rivals a teenage girl! Keep in mind there are four more coming up the stairs behind her …..so you get the picture! I know one day I will miss the chaos – but right now I miss silence, just for a day, a silence where maybe those shreds of thoughts can come together and form an idea!
So what else has happened at the Krause house? Well…..Alexandra turned 18 and has been accepted to her top three college choices. We head out next week for tours of two of them, and an interview for a full scholarship to one. Fingers crossed!! Michael turned 15, and finally got his birthday party last night. Can you still call it that when they are sweaty stinky teenage boys cheering on XBox games as if it were an olympic sport? One laser tag, bowling, pizza, cake, video games, movie and sleep over later…..I am back down to 6 kids, and not the mother of 15! Jack is anxiously waiting the start of wrestling and football, but in the mean time fills about every spare minute with a book. As a result he has tested at a 9th grade plus reading level at the tender age of 9 years. So proud! Tommy has determined he loves sushi based on samples at the grocery store. Waking me up in the middle of the night to ask if I will take him to see if they have more samples has crossed the line into serious obsessive behavior! He has proudly (and finally) began Cub Scouts. He has wanted this for years! Gretchen turned 3 on December 31st. Way late for a girl, but she has finally started potty training. She is further motivated by the fact that she is on the waiting list for gymnastics and needs to be potty trained. My kids tend to skip the terrible two’s and make up for it in the terrifically terrible threes – and she is exercising that will many days! Good thing she is so stinking cute!
Last but not least of course is Peter. He continues to love school!! He was hospitalized in December, and released just a couple of days before my mom passed. Thank you God! I could not have handled both at the same time!! The chemo is taking a toll on him – but we hold on to hope that, God willing, his final dosage will be December 27th of this year. Just the fact that it is this year is so exciting!! His speech is still delayed, but when you listen closely you can hear him working so hard at words His favorite phrase is “what’s that?” ….a sense of inquiry leads to a mind full of wonder! His school testing confirmed he is behind his typical (and healthy!) peers – but he scored “typical” for school community and coping skills. Celebrating! There alone he has beat a couple of his siblings who seem challenged in the school citizenship area. We plan on having him do full day Kindergarten next year, and optimistic that another year of the basics and being post chemo will help make up for lost time and better prepare him for 1st grade. Preparing for the summer, Peter starts swim lessons at the end of this month. He loves the pool! No doubt many entries still to come on all his accomplishments.
I thank all who have continued to keep us in thoughts and prayers despite being “off the world wide web grid”. Praying 2013 will be peaceful and full of good health to all…….and the loss of weight I gained as I ate my way through the stress of 2012 would be much appreciated too!