Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The New Year

Well, it's 2008 and I'm glad to say goodbye to 2007. Really other than Michael doing so well, it was a hard year. My mom passed away on January 6th after 7 months of suffering from pancreatic cancer. I also organized my last autism conference (at least for a while) in October. My new focus is on Michael's education and our Road Trip this summer. He took the New York State ELA (English Language Arts) test last week. It was the same days as my Mom's wake. Good timing huh? Michael's teacher said he did pretty well, except for some behavior problems. I think that's understandable. A lot has been going on. Here is a summary:

December 30th my Mom goes into St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson. They put her in the hospice wing. Hospice is for terminal patients. It was VERY hard being there. My family took turns staying with my Mom. Michael even came about every other day. Thank goodness they had a lounge, so we hung out watching tv and playing with the computer. Michael didn't like going into my Mom's room (honestly neither did I). The look on his face was between confusion and horror. My Mom was about 60 pounds or so and looked nothing like usual self. Michael kept saying "we have to be quiet because the sick people are trying to sleep".

January 6th Michael and I go to St. Charles around 3pm. We went to check on my mother around 5:15pm and she wasn't breathing. The nurse came in and said that my mother had passed. Michael's first reaction was to add the day of death on my Reunion Geneology program on my laptop. His second reaction was to say "now Grandpa can sell Grandma's car". I found that funny, since my Mom hadn't driven in about 3-4 months. But, it was right.

January 8th Michael goes to his Grandparent's home and says "Grandma's not here because she is in heaven".

January 9th the wake begins at the funeral home in Miller Place, NY. My roommate took Michael into the room beforehand, so he could see the body. He poked my Mom and said "Grandma's dead".

January 10th I found Michael in the basement of the funeral home with about 20 other children. He had them all sitting on the floor listening to him reading a book. He was playing school. It was such a sight.

January 11th we had the mass and burial. Michael did well overall. It's hard enough for ME to sit through an hour long Catholic mass. After the burial we went out to eat at a local restaurant. No problems- Michael went with the flow. I know he was a little off at school because of the constant change in schedual, but overall he was great. So many people (family & friends) said Michael looked great. A couple even said "I would have never guessed he had autism if you didn't tell me."

We didn't miss any chelation with everything going on. Also, Michael has been eating more and more new foods. I still can't get more fruits and veggies- but at least he's trying new things. The good stuff will happen eventually. Michael also has gained about 4 pounds in the last 2 months. He gained 4 pounds in the 12 months before that. So, we were surprised by his weight gain. He also went from a 7 slim to a size 10 in pants.

Another thing I wanted to mention is that I think it helped to read some books about death BEFORE my Mom passed. Plus, we talk about it everyday. We told Michael that he can talk to Grandma, but she can't talk back. So, sometimes we catch him talking to her out loud.

Thanks to everyone who posted on my Mom's guestbook on the Newsday website. I think it will help my Dad to see caring words from people all around the world. Here is a picture of my mom and her three grandchildren taken in September 2007 at the beach.

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