The Ultimate DIY – Saying Goodbye to Your Mom

While I sit here in the hospital with my mom, I thought I’d share a really great project with you that my daughter, April, did recently – a dresser turned tv stand.
But then I decided to just have a chat with you. To encourage you. To let you know what’s up and that it’s all good.
I’ll do the Dresser Turned TV Stand another time.
At the moment of this writing, I’m doing the ultimate DIY

sitting alone in a hospital room

I’m tending to my mom who had a major stroke Saturday morning. Let me take a moment here and encourage you. I’ve been through losing a father (30 years ago when I was 26) and now am dealing with a part of life no one wants to – watching a mother decline and trying to figure out how to make her as comfortable as possible, manage all the family’s emotional needs and navigate the ins and outs of insurance and hospital care.

Making decisions sometimes stinks.

But they must be made.
Pain. Insurance. Hospice. Decisions. Family. Grief. Closure. Doctors. Foleys. IVs. CNAs. Morphine. HIgh Blood Pressure. Heart Rhythm. Grandkids. Updates. Rehab. Tests. AFib. Blood Clots. tPA. Nurses. Swallow Studies. Call Buttons.
The list goes on. But you know what? I’ve learned a lot. I’ve discovered I can do it alone. Don’t get me wrong. I have a ton of supportive, loving family and friends. My DH is amazing. My kids are amazing. Even my grandkids are amazing. But when you have medical and financial power of attorney, it’s all you. IT’S ALL YOU.
I’ve spent some A LOT of time in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and rehab.

Too much time.

I found myself directing people when I saw they were lost and trying to find their loved one’s room number. I’m not a rookie any more. I know the nurses personally and they all know who Pepper is (my mom’s nickname). They were all disappointed when I told them she’d had a stroke. They were all pulling for that 86 year old spunky lady that grumbled when she had to do rehab.
I’ve taken on the role of being a mother to my mother.  She is looking to me to make decisions for her, to take care of her, to protect her, to honor her wishes.
Make your decision now. Prepare for this in your future. Decide to do what you have to do to get the job done.
When it happens to you, you will either fall apart or you will get the job done. You can decide to say, “I got this.” I want to tell you. You can say “I got this,” too like I have.

Be that person.

Don’t just rely on others to do stuff for you. Learn. Do. Ask questions. Google it. Watch YouTube. Ask more questions. Prepare. Trust yourself to handle it. Tell yourself, “I got this” whether it’s a DIY home project or deciding which care facility to use for your mom.
I’m not just telling you this. I’m living it. And I know what I’m saying is true. 
Mom chose open heart surgery two months ago today (she’s 86) where they did a quadruple bypass and an aortic valve replacement. She had 12 near blockages in her heart and a bad valve. According to the cardiologist it was either open heart surgery or 2-12 months to live. The past two months were hard but we made it through and mom had been progressing well the last two weeks, finally. She had just told me last week, “I feel like I’m going to make it.”

Enter “the stroke.”

Life took an unexpected turn.
Since we are people of faith, there is no questioning “why” though I do feel kind of ripped off. A year of constant sickness, 6 or 7 hospitalizations (so many I can’t remember) doctor visits, tests, open heart surgery, more doctor visits, rehab, ambulance rides, etc. Then when progress is evident, life starts to take on a normalcy again. You take a breath and say to yourself, we’re going to make it through this. 
Then BOOM. Your life is turned upside down. Yeah. I feel ripped off. I’m human. We went through so much for months and just start to see a light at the end of the tunnel and all goes dark in a brief moment when blood clot meets brain.
Guess what? I have a secret that sustains me. It’s why I can say, “I got this.” God never sacrifices our good for HIs glory and He never sacrifices His glory for our good. So I’m covered. My mom is covered. Our family is good.

We all know He’s got this.

So I’ve got this too, with His help. I may wonder but I don’t doubt. I may be saddened but I have the joy of knowing my mom will soon meet up with my Dad and that all my decisions for her refected her wishes.
What a day that will be when she is whole again!
Now my job is to do what I can for her and let Him guide me and those I have to work with.
As I sit by her side with my family and friends supporting me in body, spirit or on Facebook group text, I know I can do this.
I want you to decide the same thing when it’s your time.
Thanks for listening. Thanks for what you are doing for your mom.

I got this.


41 thoughts on “The Ultimate DIY – Saying Goodbye to Your Mom”

  1. Hang in there I feel your sorrow your strong am you hAve Jesus feel his peace in this dreaded time . Take care your in my prayers

    • Thanks, Jan. God’s grace is surrounding us and making our path very clear, even though it is bumpy and certainly not enjoyable.

  2. Val,

    There's not many words to express after your beautiful post! I'm in admiration of your strength, your courage, your perserverance – because I know where it comes from.

    I also understand the human feelings of being "ripped off". How wonderful and sweet that HE knows that and loves and carries us still!

    I'm praying for you sweet friend, for your mom's comfort, and the family's strength. Mostly, may you all feel the presence and comfort of the Lord Jesus Christ as He carries you through these hard days.


  3. Loved your honesty. So sad that Pepper had the stroke but we know that God is in control and our bodies do fail. I see the same thing now with my mom and I am taking notes from your spiral notebook. I too want to get it right as a daughter of an aging mother. We do become the parent in many ways and I see her hating to give up control of areas of her life. (i.e. driving, etc.) It is not easy and not for wimps but I am with you, God has this.

    Praying for you and we know that you got this. What an awesome daughter you have been.

    • Thanks, Diane. It’s not fun gaining experience or know how in these type of circumstances but it is good to know it will be useful in the future. Digging a well…

  4. I am sorry to hear about Pepper.  My thoughts and prayers go with you!  I can relate to all the health issues as I had to deal with many things for 5.5 yrs. with Wally.  He passed away in May.  God bless!  Ruth



  5. Thank you for this, my mother is at end staage leukemia, and I have it. . . . .my husband is my support in this, but it is hard to say goodbye. God Bless YOu.


    • Bobbi, God bless you too. I hope God’s grace is surrounding you. This is hard but we have our hope to sustain us. Thanks for coming by and keep me updated, please. I would love to hear your story.

  6. We love an amazing awesome God don't we. He does sustain us when all seems almost overwhelming. Thanks for sharing this inspirational post. I know times are difficult right now, but I agree you will get through this. I know how heart wrenching it is to watch your mother pass away bit by bit. May she gain the peace she needs. You and yours are in my prayers. 

    • Yes Crystal, He is an amazing God and I am always blown away at how He takes care of us and cares about the details like only He could. Today we are seeing peace on her face. For that I am grateful. Thanks for your prayers on our behalf.

  7. your family will be in my prayers tonight


    i've had the "talk " with my healthy 79 year old parents, but one never knows what tomorrow holds.

    • Thanks, Gail. Glad you’re prepared. I’m so glad we talked and talked and talked. Decisions are hard, but made easier when you prepare. But even when you are prepared, they are still hard.

  8. I love hearing your strength and conviction in God's goodness. I'm sorry all the same for what your family has been going through. I'll be praying for you.

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #CHRISTMASbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely evening and a very Merry Christmas.

  9. I believe God gives strength when it's needed.  I've had to face some scary situations with my daughters health and can't believe how well I've taken charge.  It's almost like someone or something just takes over.  I'm a researcher.  I feel empowered by learning everything I can about the health issues.  It helps to be informed to make those tough choices especially when you're dealing with someone elses life.  I hope you remain confident and optimistic.  You're a fantastic daughter!  Thank you for sharing your story and linking up this week. Take care!

    • Thanks, Andrea. You are right about God’s strength coming in tough times – if we let Him. We have to look for Him in every situation and when we do, we find His grace. And that’s not just a religious platitude. It’s real and has to be experienced to know it’s true. Thanks for coming by and being an encouragement.

  10. I'm new to your site, but I pray God will give you the strength to go through what you're going through.  My aunt had a major stroke at Christmas time back in 2004, then she passed in the spring of 2007.  Yes, it is part of life and trying to say there are no sad days is not right, but friends can be rays of sunshine through the darkest valleys if we let them.  I've had to learn to release people and things and that is part of life.  To everything there is a time and a season.  Praying for you.

    • Yes, Teresa, we do need to learn to let go. It’s hard but it is a fact of life. Sorry about your aunt. LIfe can be hard at times, but God is there to give His grace.

      • Hi, I didn't want to sound crass when I said that "we have to release things."  I don't know what God is telling you to do, but I have aging parents that refuse to see my way (of reasoning), so this is what I have to do — learn to disengage.  I'm learning it is OK for each of us to choose our own path.  Let us know how your mother is doing.  Thanks.

        • Teresa, I agree with you that we ought not hold on too tight. I have to work on that. My mom passed away a week and a half ago from a major stroke. I had to let go whether I wanted to or not. But fortunately God’s grace was and still is sufficient. Thanks, Teresa for the dialogue – it’s how we learn from one another. Blessings!

          • I'm deeply sorry for the loss of your mother.  Not to minimize your situation, but I think a death in the family seems worse around the holidays because you expect the season to be joyful, not mournful.

            I've been through some pretty intense things over the last few years and as you say, God never leaves us, and even when I didn't understand everything or was numb with pain, He still is right there beside me, waiting patiently.  I pray for God's peace to you and each member of your family.

          • Thanks, Teresa. Feel free to email me at if you’d like to share privately in more detail. I’d be happy to pray specifically if you’d like.

            Or, go on over to my side bar and sign up for my email list and we can have a private dialogue – all you have to do is email me back when you get the first email from me. No one should weather trials alone.

  11. I so enjoyed your article about your mother. My mother passed away in 2011 and I still feel guilty that we had to put her in a nursing home. I felt I should be able to bring her home with me and take care of her. After all I had been a nurse for 25 years. As much as I wanted to iwas just not able. I had to quit work in 2004. I had 4 heart attacks that year and cancer in early 2004. I was able to take her to all her Dr. appt. , shopping and out to eat while she was still mobile and before dementia set in. I am thankful for that time. We are also a family of great faith. So I know that I will see my mother and dad(he passed in 1977) again. My oldest sister whom was power of attorney had the last say in what was done. She is a teacher, my youngest sister is also a nurse. We didn't always agree on decisions but …….We did place her in a nursing home that was connected to the hospital where my sister worked, so that did make us feel better. I don't know why I am going on and on but thank you for listening and sharing. God Bless.

    • Debbie, no guilt needed. You did the best thing for your family, took care of your mom and made her proud of you – she would have wanted you to do what was best for everyone. My dad passed in 85, when I was 26. So, like you, I look forward to seeing my folks again. You did good. Don’t ever think otherwise. It IS hard to not have our parents around any more. I’m so glad we have the hope of Heaven. Thanks for sharing. Feel free to stay in contact: Blessings!


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Love My DIY Home