somewhere over the rainbow

I write best when I’m reflective. Now would be one of those times.

My husband’s mom, dad, and brother came to visit yesterday to help us get out of the house and be here for us. They couldn’t have come at a better time.

We got the news that my mom had one or two days left and to visit quickly. We rushed right over. My mom hadn’t opened her eyes in over a day, stopped eating and drinking, and was breathing erratically despite the oxygen pumping in from her nasal cannula.

I got to speak privately with her and say everything I needed her to hear. My friend and coworker who happens to be a former hospice nurse had told me hearing is the last thing to go, so I firmly believe she heard every word. I reminded her of the great times we’ve had, how strong she’s always been, and how it’s okay to rest now. I told her I’ll be okay and I will try to live a happy life, because I know that’s what she’d want. I told her my husband will take good care of me and his family will too. I guess he told her the same thing; so did his mom. I told her we will go to Paris this autumn. She kept insisting we go there and have a croissant for her.

As a side note, I have to admit I have kept Ray’s family at arm’s length while my mom’s been sick, especially his mom, and I apologize deeply for that. I have been afraid his mom would take my mom’s place, because deep down I knew my mom would pass soon, and if Ray and I ever had kids, they’d never know my mom, but they would know her. I shared a lot with Ray’s mom before we got the news yesterday: the baby clothes my mom and I picked out if we should ever have kids, the baby blanket my mom hand-sewed for me growing up, good stories, and more. And I realized she loved my mom too and just wanted to be there for me. She told my mom, “I know I can’t be the mom you have been to Tori, but I promise we’ll take care of her.” I can’t thank her enough for promising that. To my mother-in-law: I love you and thank you. You’re an incredible mom and person.

Anyway, the oxygen converter was incredibly loud and there was too much stimulation in the room. I talked with my mom and told her I was going to make it more comfortable, something I’ve been trying to do since she’s been sick. I grabbed a photo of us in New York City for her to hold on to until I came back and slipped it under her hand. Then I got to work.

I asked Ray to come back in to help me. The tubing and electrical plug for the converter luckily reached outside the door, so we got it out of the room. I turned the TV off and hid the remote control so nobody would disturb her. We dimmed the lights. I asked Ray if he could find some soft music, but then decided the sound of the ocean would be best. He found an eleven hour stream of the sound of waves crashing on the beach which we left next to her. I told her, “We couldn’t bring you to the ocean, so we brought the ocean to you.” That’s her happy place. I mean, that was her happy place. I still don’t know the right tense to use here. She looked so peaceful.

Ray suggested we go home to get some sleep, as otherwise I’d be hovering over her all night. We grabbed some Asian takeout food on the way home, although hunger isn’t something I feel anymore. I nabbed a fortune cookie and hoped for a good one. “The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go.” Remembering the truth of impermanence, it couldn’t be more fitting.

I needed to go to sleep soon after we returned home. This has all been emotionally exhausting, and I don’t have much energy anymore. Ray’s parents and brother apparently cleaned our house spick and span while I was passed out. I am so thankful for his family and their being here yesterday. For hugging me yesterday especially. Everything happens for a reason.

At some point in the middle of the night, Ray woke me up and delivered the news. My mom stopped breathing around 11:45pm. She had passed. I wasn’t there when it happened, and that’s okay, because I don’t think she’d want me to see her like that. She was protecting me still.

I think I cried a little when Ray delivered the news, but right now it feels more like disbelief and detachment. I knew this time would come and I have grieved and cried ever since she was diagnosed in November 2012. I’ve tried to keep her happy and comfortable since then, and I can rest easy knowing that.

As I told her last night, she has fought so hard for so long, it’s okay to rest now. I promise I’ll be okay. I love you the mostest, Mom. Always have, always will.

You earned your wings.

Tori

In loving memory of Margaret Mary Baczek, July 23, 1953 – August 2, 2014

“Somewhere over the rainbow bluebirds fly…”

I do not have wake or funeral information yet, but I can tell you a few things. When talking about my mom’s final wishes, I told her how in some cultures, they consider passing a time of celebration for one’s life, not a mourning of their death. They even wear bright colors. She loved that sentiment and wanted it for herself. She would like everyone to wear colorful clothes, not black, to her wake and funeral and to remember the good times.

Also, in lieu of flowers, she wanted everyone to consider making a donation to the National Brain Tumor Society in her memory. Here is the link to her memorial page: www.braintumorcommunity.org/goto/MargaretBaczek

Thank you, everyone, for your continued happy thoughts, prayers, kindness, and consideration.

the most beautiful person in the world, inside and out

the most beautiful person in the world, inside and out

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47 thoughts on “somewhere over the rainbow

      1. pradamary

        Oh you could have, and would have but it was an honor to be there with you and for you. You are an extraordinary young woman, who went through such a tough situation with dignity, grace, and a strength that I envy. You are your mother’s daughter. I’m honored to know you and that you allowed me to share in your journey.

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  1. Elissa Childers

    So sorry for your loss Tori, even though you knew this day was coming, it doesn’t make it any easier. Your mom was amazing, she will continue to guide you and protect you in her death. Her heart and yours are one in the same. You will know what to do with life and the lives of your future children because your mom prepared you.

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  2. Sandra beard laliberte

    I loved your Mom, during my 4 yrs at B-P. She was the best gym teacher, and would listen to all our “teen-ager dramas”. May she rest in peace, and you and your family I send lots of hugs.
    Sandra Beard LaLiberte

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  3. Aimee Fernandes

    Tori this is so beautiful, I am so sorry for your loss. Your mom was such a wonderful women as of course you know first hand. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time.

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  4. Michelle (White) Tangaro

    RIP! Will never forget you. Somewhere over the rain I know you will keep watch over your loved ones. Your sweet smile and caring loving heart will always be treasured.

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  5. Dori

    She was a wonderful person, and I will never forget her! You were both blessed to have each other as family ♡ thank you for sharing this journey with us. My heart is with you and your family.

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  6. Marie vitale

    This is heart wrenching to read, your mom and dad were both my teachers in HS and they were incredible unforgettable people. God bless you. She is as beautiful as I remember and it seems they passed their beauty onto you their daughter. Every eloquently written. My heartfelt sympathy and love.

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  7. Krystal Rivera

    She is a beautiful woman and you are a beautiful writer! She was such a good persons and she always will be remember and loved by so many.. May she fly in peace ❤

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  8. Nicholas Silva

    Sorry for your loss Tori, I had the pleasure of knowing your mom. I was a student of hers and the passion she had for herself and her career was truly amazing, quite breathe taking at times. Your mom helped me through a ruff time during high school when I lost my closest friend. Im forever grateful for her, she was awesome! My condolences

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  9. Pegi Frostholm

    Oh, Tori. There are no words to express my sorrow and sympathy. There is a Peggy-sized hole in the world now. Your mom’s love and spirit live on in you. My love to you and your dad.

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  10. Mark White

    I am so sorry for your loss,you don’t know me but I was one of the many children that grew up in Taunton who’s lives were enriched by knowing Mrs.Baczek. She was a beautiful spirit and will be missed.

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  11. Fatima

    I am truly sorry for your loss. Your mom was my gym teacher in high school. I’m grateful for having had the chance to cross paths with such an amazing woman. God bless

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  12. Samantha downs

    So very sorry to hear of your mom’s passing. She was such a great woman, so compassionate, thoughtful, and understanding. I greatly enjoyed the time spent with her as a student at BP. She was such a genuine person. I can absolutely understand her desire for the bright colors. She was so fun-loving and cheerful! I hope you can find strength and comfort in your memories. She will forever be with you, your guardian angel above. Your family will be in my prayers. Samantha D’Abreu-Downs

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  13. Brenda Leary

    So very sorry to hear of Peggy’s loss…she was a tremendous person who cared deeply for everyone..she always took into consideration peoples feelings and individual emotions of all she knew. I enjoyed my years of playing softball with her as she epidomized the meaning of a total team player both on the field and off..please accept my condolences with heartfelt sadness…

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  14. holly durant

    Tori ,
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time. Your mom was so awesome when I was at bp I could talk to get about anything. May God bless you all with peace and comfort at this time as she is in a much better place and still will be there with you always. .

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  15. Denise

    My condolences to you and your family through this time of greif and sadness . your mother was an amazing woman. she fought a hard battle and kept her integrity throughout the whole time. she will live on in everyones heart. Rest peacefully Mrs. Baczek.

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  16. lin

    So sorry for your loss tori.. your mom was an amazing and wonderful woman. She was always a bright ray of sunshine at bp.. I don’t remember any kids ever giving her a hard time. She was the best teacher and was very understanding. I also wanted to add how she was so proud of you. She always talked so highly of you. I could tell that you were very very special to her and how proud she was to have you as a daughter. She always talked about you and i could see how happy you made her!! Anyone that met her was blessed to have met such a wonderful strong woman 🙂

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  17. Danielle Roy Azevedo

    I had the privilege of knowing Ms Y from my high school days. She really was amazing. I remember her laugh and that amazing smile. She taught me how to play volleyball so I could make the team and thx to her I played all 4 years including varsity. She definitely was a favorite among the class of 1984. Rest well, you r already missed so much. Xo

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  18. Caryn

    Your mom was my gym teacher @ BP ’88-’92. She saw something wonderful in me when I saw nothing. She was a beacon of light to me in my time of teenage angst-ridden darkness. She is going to be loved forever ❤ I am so sorry for your loss.
    With Warmest Thoughts,
    Caryn Carle

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  19. Donna Riendeau

    Tori, our thoughts and prayers are with you, Ray, and your dad. Your mom was a wonderful friend and I’ve especially enjoyed spending time with her since we’ve all retired. She truly loved you the “mostest” and was always so very proud of you. Thank you for sharing your journal with all of us. You can certainly tell that you will always love her the “mostest” too. Donna

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  20. kristen Mayers

    I am so sorry for your loss. She was one of my favorite teachers I have ever had. She always made you feel like you mattered and when you were having a hard day she would sit and talk through it with you. She will be missed. Celebrate her life as she shines down on you.

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  21. Cynthia Logan

    So sorry for your loss. I got to be one of her students at BP 1989-1993. One of my favorite teachers, she will always be a great high school memory of mine and many others. Thoughts and prayers for the family!

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  22. Sarah Eastep

    Im so sorry for your loss. I had Mrs. Baczek when i went to BP and she was a wonderful lady. She was fun to have as gym teacher She had such a good spirit. She will be greatly missed.

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  23. Kellie chase

    My thoughts and prayers are with u in this sad time. Your mom was my gym teacher at BP for my four years there. She wasn’t just a great teacher but a great women. She was so easy to talk to and helped with advice if needed but she knew we just needed someone to listen. Though my heart is saddened by her passing I know now she rest in peace with the angels.

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  24. Rachael Quinton-Medeiros

    On behalf of the 1995 graduating class of Bristol Plymouth, we wanted you to know she was very loved. Hopefully you can see the comments in response to the post I made about her passing-it is pretty obvious she was a favorite teacher of ours and she will be greatly missed. Our condolences go out to you.

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  25. Laura (Watson) Buell

    your mom was one of the best…..when i ran into her years after school a smile would always come to her face and she would say i know your smile anywhere…. then when i said Laura out came Watson before i could finish we would always chat away til Mr. Baczek would roll his eyes and we would laugh cus it wold be about 15 minutes sent talk

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  26. Kristin Child

    Mrs.Baczek,You were such an awesome teacher,thankyou for all your years you dedicated to your passion.You will be dearly missed.My love and prayers to your family& friends.God Bless

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  27. April Smith

    So very sorry for your loss Tori. Your mother was my gym teacher at B-P also. She was an amazing woman!! Your words to her are beautiful. I have tears running down my face. I also lost my mother just 1 year ago. She had breast cancer that spread to her lungs. She was only 54. I know there is nothing I can say to make this difficult time easier, but I want you to know you will be in my thoughts and prayers. It sounds like you have a wonderful support system with your husband and in-laws. May your beautiful mother rest in peace.

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  28. Marcia Borden Fishman

    I am so sorry for your loss.Your mother was an amazing person. She helped me to be the women that I am today. She will forever be in my heart.

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  29. Rosemary Marques

    So very sorry for your great loss. I will forever be grateful to Miss Y for helping me and encouraging me during my years at BP (class of 88). I am keeping you, your Dad and family in my prayers. May God guide you all in these difficult days ahead. Thank you for sharing you very beautiful, kind, caring Mom with all of us. (((HUGS)))

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  30. Brie McFarland

    Tears are streaming down my face. This is so beautiful. I’ve been honored to provide end of life care for many people. Everything you said and did for your mom in her final hours couldn’t had been more loving, giving and thoughful. Much love my friend. Sending healing energy your way. – Brie

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  31. class of 2014

    on behalf of class of 2014 I would like to say sorry for your losswe all heard amazing things about her and I do not think the family at bp will forget her.
    sincerely,
    Class of 2014

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  32. jesselyn mcdonough

    To the great family of mrs bacsek i dont have to tell you how wonderful your mom really was but for the time she was there for me in high school with any boy trouble or how you looked she always had words to cheer you or let you know life wouldnt be all so bad to enjoy it and love yourself i will miss her more than words can possiblly say so glad she was part of my life rip mrs b ill be seeing you someday

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  33. MargaretWesling

    Please email me with the wake and funeral times . She was a great person. She was my high school gym teacher. An angel has gone to heaven 😦

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  34. Jamie Johnston

    Victoria,
    Your mom was a beautiful and wonderful person. She always had a smile on her face. My deepest apologies on your loss. What you wrote here is a beautiful piece for her.

    Deepest sympathies to you and your family,
    Jamie Johnston

    Liked by 1 person

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  35. Jenna Poirier

    Your mom was such an amazing, inspiring woman. I am lucky to have known her, and for that I will be forever grateful. Your posts are always so sweet and filled with love, I can’t imagine how you are feeling. You’ll be in my prayers ❤

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  36. Ameka & Marcus Shanks

    What a great teacher who inspired so many. Her daughter is very talented also! She’ll be sadly missed. Love Marcus and Ameka Shanks BP class 2002

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  37. Adele Collard

    We take our first breath and at a given time we take our last, no exceptions to that rule. What we do, what we leave behind, in who’s life we make a difference and how we will be remembered are the breaths in-between. Her body is gone but her heart and soul are here forever.
    You are your mother’s daughter, make no mistake. You will carry on her legacy just the way she would want you to, you have big shoes to fill. Cry your tears, feel your pain, but most important, go on with your life just the way your Mom wants you to. When I was 18 my father died of cancer, he died in my arms, I never thought I would ever stop crying. That was 53 years ago and I still think of him, I still remember so many great things about him and yes, I am still brought to tears at times when I think of how much I miss him. Perhaps we become stronger, better people because we have their example and we want to forever make them proud. You always made your Mom proud, she loved you so so much.

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