Wednesday, October 21, 2009


We had Mother's funeral this past weekend and had so many good friends and family members join us for several days. Saturday night we had a Vigil Prayer Service and story telling with friends and relatives telling their favorite Mary C, Mother, Grandmother, Great-Gram stories. Three of my boys made video tapes of the story telling and I watched one last night. It was wonderful!!

Sunday our parish priest celebrated the Mass of Resurrection for Mother and his remarks were wonderful--not to mention that he flew in from a meeting just for her funeral and flew back when the ceremony was over. That was such a considerate thing to do for our family!

All weekend our house was full of people. We had all three children and spouses here. We had all 12 of Mother's grandchildren and spouses here and we had all 12 great grandchildren here, plus cousins and friends. Luckily it was beautiful weather so the children played in our big backyard. One of our sons got small pumpkins and hid them in the wooded part of our backyard and led the little ones on a pumpkin patch hunt. Then his wife helped the children decorate their pumpkins to take home. Other children pulled out all the play dishes and a number of them "cooked up a storm" while some got busy with the sidewalk chalk on our patio. The older ones played football and soccer on the grassy part of the yard while adults either sat and watched or joined in the fun and games.

And, of course, we did what our family does best--we ate and ate and ate--thanks to all the wonderful neighbors and friends who provided several bountiful feasts for us! Pictures will follow later! I promise--when I catch up with a few other things around here.

Friday, October 16, 2009


The pace around here is definitely picking up and I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Family members are on their way from nearby and as far away as Egypt. Our WHOLE immediate family will gather this weekend for a marvelous celebration of Mother's life.

Tomorrow night we will have a Vigil Service (a prayer service our parish priest suggested) and a session of story telling. Guess you might know that I figured out a way to gather stories from this huge family of ours. A couple of our boys will bring video cameras to record the stories for posterity. And I am sure that we will have a zillion photos snapped during the two-three days we spend together. A priest who is a dear friend is doing the Vigil Service.

The funeral is Sunday afternoon. Our priest is in Houston for the weekend, but is very kindly flying in for a couple of hours before returning to his meeting. It has been marvelous how so many people have bent way over backwards to make this celebration a nice one. Even the church secretary worked overtime making the worship aid beautiful for the funeral, using a family photo on the back page and a design that looks like Mother's exquisite needlework on the front.

I am so touched by all the love that has been extended to our family at this time. Thanks to all of you dear people!

Monday, October 12, 2009


My brother and sister and I whizzed through decision-making and planning yesterday after Mother died. We really work well as a team, just as we did when our dad died ten years ago. It is marvelous to have supportive family members at times like this. And it is wonderful to have so much support in making important decisions. The result of our planning is as follows:

The church was not available on Saturday for Mother's funeral, so our plans are to have the Vigil Service at Harrell Funeral Home, 4435 Frontier Trail, Saturday evening from 5 to 7 and the funeral will be held Sunday afternoon at St. John Neumann Catholic Church, 5455 Bee Caves Road at 2:00 p.m. Burial will be in Amarillo the next weekend at Llano Cemetery.

Thanks, Anne and Joe, for being here this weekend with me to share Mother's final hours.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Mother passed away peacefully this morning--about 7:50, Sunday morning, October 11, 2009. My sister, Anne, and my brother, Joe, and I spent a wonderful day with her yesterday. Early on Saturday morning we had a chance to visit with her and she recognized that her kids were there with her. We spent the day visiting and reminiscing with her and among ourselves. Fr. Jim Evans came and anointed her and she then slept peacefully until the end.

We are together today and at peace as we prepare the arrangements. Tentative plans are to have the funeral here in Austin on Saturday, the 18th at St. John Neumann Catholic Church with a later burial in Amarillo, next to Dad. We are waiting to hear from the church to confirm these arrangements so we will keep you updated with further details as we work them out.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Mother is resting comfortably today. They are keeping her pain under control and she is sleeping most of the time although she woke up this morning and had a bit of responsive time with my brother and sister first thing. After that she was uncomfortable until they gave her enough medication to help with the pain. Our dear guardian angel doctor had the day off but sent an associate to check on all of us to make sure our needs were being met. I will miss him when this is over.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Yesterday was a difficult day because Mother was in pain all day. This morning the doctor said her kidney has stopped working and she is unable to eat. He recommended Hospice and I agreed. This way we can take care of her pain and allow her to be more comfortable.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Mother woke up all chipper this morning. She had a rational conversation with the doctor and demanded food at 10:00. When the doctor started to leave she asked him what he was up to today (a favorite question she always asks me) and he just hooted. As he walked out the door she told him to behave himself and he just leaned against the wall and said "She cracks me up! Her grandchildren need her around for a while longer!"

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Today they were supposed to do another surgical procedure on Mother and the nurse said she thought they would take her about 8:00. She suggested I get there a little before 8 a.m. so I could accompany her down to the surgical area. We waited all morning--no surgery. The nurse worked hard trying to get pain medication balanced so that Mother was not in too much pain or agitation and right after lunch she was finally fairly successful in calming Mother down. It is so tough to watch Mother writhe in pain, but the nurse is a real jewel!!

Still no surgery after lunch, so about 1:00 the nurse began calling all the surgical areas in the hospital to see what the problem was and no one had her scheduled. Seems like the doctor expected the nurse to schedule the surgery and the nurse said she had never had to do that before. A slight glitch! The nurse then called, scheduled the surgery, and they finally came and got Mother about 2:30 and finished up (unsuccessful at what they were trying to do) at 4:00. I left shortly afterwards feeling like I had taken a beating.

The good news is that Mother is beginning to make sense and wants FOOD and DRINK! She thought they were taking her downstairs for food and was so disappointed that they did not feed her in the surgical area. When the nurse was trying to give Mother a pill with a small sip of water, Mother whopped the nurse, grabbed the glass and began chug-a-lugging the water. The nurse said that Mother is way too spunky and not ready to "check out" quite yet. That's our MOM!

Monday, October 5, 2009


Mother slept most of yesterday and today she was in a lot of pain and discomfort. She was rambling in what she said and it was hard to stand by her bedside and watch. I hope and pray that all of her systems begin to work together and she improves quickly.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Mother went to the hospital with kidney failure and dehydration about 10 days ago. She improved at first and then her lungs began to fill with fluid. We have had a wonderful doctor who went on a "detective hunt" to discover the cause of her rapid decline. Today it was discovered that she had a bladder tumor which was blocking both tubes from her kidneys to her bladder. The tumor was removed and the tubes were opened up. The doctors feel like she will make a full recovery and that her prognosis is good. One doctor said that she would probably be back to playing "bingo" by the middle of next week. Her other doctor said that the procedure had literally saved her life!

I am not quite so confident about her rapid recovery since she has been very weak the past few days. However, this evening she was bargaining with the nurse to leave off the oxygen mask for just one hour, so she might surprise me. As one of my sons said, "She is a very stubborn woman!" He also added that her daughter had learned about being stubborn from her--surely he did not mean me???

I thank all of your for your prayers, well wishes and help during these long 10 days. Please continue to keep the prayers and good thoughts coming our way as she recovers.


Yesterday Mother's doctor decided to do a CT scan to check out a problem or two that had arisen and discovered that her tubes from kidneys to bladder were blocked. He and the kidney doctor recommended a simple procedure to see if they could open up the tubes. The doctor doing the procedure said it would only take about 15 minutes and be about as risky as driving from here to Dallas on I-35. They took her 2 1/2 hours ago and here I sit waiting for some kind of information. Her doctor said that he would also be there so he has not been his usual attentive self on this floor. I miss his friendly face poking around the door to encourage us. And so! I sit here waiting for more information. The waiting is the hard part!!