Wednesday, August 27, 2008


"...the Lord looketh on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

There have been a lot of girls out there who have lost their mom...and so I guess it is my turn, my turn to experience this thing called death and learning to say goodbye to my mommy.

Right now as a family we are starting to say goodbye to my mom's old self, her fun personality, her light of she deals with the effects of brain cancer and radiation.

I have so many thoughts right now...especially after yesterday's events and reading joette's post on her blog this morning.

I have been thinking a lot about the heart lately- the actual organ and also as it is referred to in the scriptures- examples like: how we feel the spirit, the effects of not listening to the spirit and dealing with sin, our own spirit, the light of Christ in us, how we love, the Holy Ghost, turning to know, all the big heart stuff.

In one of my college classes we studied the heart and brain for a couple weeks. It wasn't my anatomy and physiology class either. It was a family counseling class.

My mom was told a couple weeks ago that she had about 5 weeks left of life. Her brain was full of tumors. She decided to do the gamma knife radiation treatment on her tumors without her oncologist even knowing. The tumors were surrounding her optic nerve and causing her to slowly lose her eye sight. Fear of being blind seemed unbearable to my mom and so she went ahead and did the radiation so she could see her new grandson once he was born. The treatment saved her eyesight and slowed down the progression of the cancer but she is now suffering from major cognitive failure. Her reasoning, logical, communicative, and mobile functioning (tremors, shakes, walking, muscle atrophy) has been impaired greatly. She doesn't know anymore how to use the phone, computer (that is why she quit blogging), camera, stove- she forgets if she's taken medication or not so she was in the ER the other night for overdosing on coumadin (blood thinner). She is hardly expressive anymore besides being very emotional and crying often. Joette said she was downstairs one day looking for a piece of bread. She doesn't remember anything anymore. Many who know my mom- know this is not like her- she was a very smart, spiritual, talkative, artistic, happy, confident, gifted person-

One day she called me crying and was explaining to me how she couldn't figure out how to use the microwave. She told me she felt useless and incapable. She kept wondering why she was still around and what her worth was since she can't do anything she loves to do anymore...and so these thoughts about the heart and brain came to my mind:

Did you know the heart pumps all its own and doesn't need the brain to work? The heart has its own brain so to speak and is the only part of the body that doesn't have any connection to the brain -besides providing blood supply and so forth...but you can be brain dead and still have a heartbeat...but you can't be heart dead and still have brain function- you're officially think of all the scriptures that refer to the heart...there are a ton- I know because I have been reading them all morning...and you know, it's the heart that matters...think of little children's hearts- think of their brains- we all know little 2 year olds have huge hearts but don't always make the best decisions.- Think of people with down syndrome- incompetent brains, big loving hearts.

Our spiritual self, the light of Christ, the Holy Ghost, dwell in places that can't be affected by a sick brain...our bodies house our spirits- but in my own opinion I feel like the brain, which of course accomplishes logical reasonings needed to function, but however, it can be kind of irrational at times as it is encompassed with random thoughts, generalizations, expectations- the brain holds centers of habit learned through coping mechanisms that support addictions, control and cravings that provide temporary emotional comfort. The brain grasps vivid pictures, unhealthy thoughts- it supports a memory center and neuron development through maltreatment and abuse (trauma and childhood) occurs which can interrupt normal processing- the brain can be a wonderful thing but it also carries a lot of baggage. We need our spirit, the atonement, Holy Ghost, faith, and sometimes even counseling to learn to bridle some passions originated in the brain-

Who we are, what we truly are, our spirit, cannot be depicted through a mortal brain and its functions- our spirit doesn't thrive off of such communication and can't be compared to anything on such a level as the brain. Sometimes our words are so useless and meaningless compared to what we are truly feeling in our hearts. Why do we remember feelings better than words when it comes to feeling the Holy Ghost? I believe that a lot of our pride and natural man tendencies all originate in the brain and how we have processed experiences in life. Your worth is not in your brain Mom- it is in you, your heart, your spirit. Who freaking cares if you can't work the microwave! Your brain is sick. It's the heart, the you you, the Edie Kaye mother testimony fighting beautiful daughter of God who we love...and who God loves dearly.

So my mom acts differently now...and it's ok. I know Heavenly Father's plan and I know He has a plan for my mom. It is "heart" breaking to talk to her on the phone and I already miss her...but how grateful I am for hope and faith in the afterlife...and for hope and faith that God is in control of all this yuckiness life can bring.


Fosburg Four said...


All of us love your mom, it's hard to see someone you love so much go through such a hard thing. Please let us know if there is anything that we can do! Your family has been such great friends all these many years and it's the least we can do.

Marne said...

So sorry April. What a touching have the gift of writing with your heart. I loved everything you said. You and your family and are in our thoughts and prayers.

Joette Tomblin said...

dang girl... this was so inspired and so insightful. I loved every word....

Calie said...

I heart you April! The Lord does look on the heart. He does have a plan and we are all a part of it.Is that not the best thing in the world....we are on the right side of that plan.

Stacy said...

April - it takes a very strong woman to write the words you wrote. I was crying by the end as I read it to my husband. I know you through Chay (old co-workers) and I've read your blog regularly. I feel your pain and joy in knowing where your mom's future is. I wish you peace and solitude as you get through the next few weeks.

Amy said...

I hope my commenting on your blog is not inappropriate. I met you at my brother, John's, wedding. Tonya and I have been friends since we were little.
I read your post today and it touched my heart. I have had many of those same thoughts and feelings about the brain versus the heart and spirit as I've watched my sweet husband recover from brain surgery. I loved your insight. Thinking of you & your Mom.
Amy Browning

The Pyper Fam said...

I agree with you completley. You said it perfectly. I was in tears yesterday reading Joetts blog and now I'm in tears again. I have a hard time imagining your mom be anything but fun, spiritual and strong. We all know who she is and love her dearly for it. You made me realize (or remember, rather) how lucky we are to have the gospel and to know that we can be with our loved ones, in their perfect state, one day! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, they were inspiring!

Tara said...

Thanks for your post. You are definitely in our prayers. You are so giving!

April said...

thanks for all your comments- my mom seemed to be more upbeat today and she actually remembered her conversation with Kenzie yesterday on the phone! So who knows right?

Amy, you can always comment on my blog- I think about your family a lot and I always admire your strength.

Marie said...

I've been wondering how things are going. Sounds like not so good. I appreciated your post...even though we have knowledge and faith it's still hard to let go. Take care and hang in there.

Janna said...

Gosh, I just had a good cry. I love you so much. I love your mom so much. Thanks for the latest with her. She is in my thoughts often and we are praying for you all. Let's get together soon. Love you!

Stephanie said...

My heart is beyond aching for you and your family right now. I can only imagine how I would be feeling with us being in Utah and that they are 10+ hours away. I was in tears when i read Joette's and then your blog. I love and admire your family so much. Your mom is a rock, and you and Joette are absolutely AMAZING! I've always looked up to you three and can only imagin the heartache that is there.