Thank you

Sometimes I have so much running around in my head, I don’t know where to start. So I guess I’ll start with a simple ‘thank you.’

Thank you.

Thank you to each and every one of you who took the time to message, text, comment, call, hug, bring/deliver food, send a card, reminisce, share, offer encouragement and an ear/shoulder or beer/shot, and everyone who took the time to send love to me and my friends and family.

I’m the type of person that wants to respond to each and every comment; I have been able to respond to a few, but the outpouring of love has been overwhelming in the best kind of way. So I do apologize for not being able to reply to everyone individually as I’d like to, but please know that I have read and very much appreciate your words of comfort and the memories you’ve shared.

10888541_10203497339130848_333118508660658692_nMy friend Lydia coined the name “Mama Pat,” and it was embraced by so many people over the years. I saw one comment that said “she was a mother to all of us.” When meeting with the funeral director and discussing the obituary, I remember joking that she is survived by her son – and all of her adopted children.

I began crying when reading through the comments and stories/memories. It showed me just how loved my mother was, and as I said in my last post, my main goal was to make sure she knew that. I love my mother so much, and it warms my heart to know how many other people loved her, too.

So many people have asked me what I’ve needed and told me to contact them if I need anything. I’m not sure what “normal” is in these situations. I don’t know what is normal to feel, to think, to act, to say…to need. I just don’t know. But please know that I appreciate the offers.

I know of something my mom would want, though. There were two organizations that were extremely helpful to us during her battle with cancer, and there are so many people fighting similar battles that could still use help. And I know she would want to help others who are in that situation.

When my mother went through radiation – three weeks in 2016 and two more weeks this past summer – the Joe Lee Griffin Hope Lodge in Birmingham provided us a place to stay at no cost. That kept us and many other families from all over the southeast from having to travel long distances each day for treatment, or endure costs of finding a hotel for weeks at a time.

Another organization that helped us was CancerCare. The costs of chemotherapy drugs can get expensive. Even with good insurance, co-pays can eat into a person’s budget, especially when added with other medical costs. CancerCare has a program that helped cover co-pay costs for the chemotherapy drugs my mother took, which was extremely helpful.

If you would like to make a donation to one of these organizations in my mother’s name, you’ll be helping others going through similar experiences while honoring my mother’s memory.

In the meantime, her memorial service will be Sunday, Oct. 29 at her home church – Harvest Family Church (7245 Copperfield Dr., Montgomery, AL 36117.) Service begins at 3 p.m. and people can arrive during the hour prior.

Again, thank you, and much love.

Not 100% sure, but this may have been my first photo bomb.

A post shared by Josh Carples (@joshcarples) on

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Mama Pat

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“Love is watching someone die.”

Since April 20, 2016, the date my mother was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, I knew this day was coming sooner rather than later. The ups and downs, with each doctor visit and each stage of treatment, were difficult, but love sticks around. Love means watching the deterioration happen day by day. Love is watching someone die.

When I first heard the diagnosis, I set goals. I told her I would stand by her. I told her that I would back her up in whatever her wishes were. And the main goal I set for myself was to make sure that she knew how loved she was by so many people.

I hope I succeeded.

Along with that Death Cab for Cutie song above, another that really got me was the song “Flirted With You All My Life,” originally by Vic Chesnutt but covered by David Bazan. I’m a Bazan fan, and his voice and delivery really make this song impactful, especially this part:

“And when my mom was cancer sick
She fought, but then succumb to it
And you, you made her beg for it
‘Jesus, please, I’m ready’”

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I love you, Mom. And I miss you already.