Goodbye Cruel World, I’m leaving you Today – Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye…

This was the longest week of my life. Mom lost her battle with cancer. Therapy for me has been the construction of the musical slideshow that she and Dad asked me to create for her viewing services. I talked to many friends and family members that I’ve not talked with for far too long. I’m going to keep this entry brief, as my mind is obviously elsewhere…
On Monday, it was business as usual. With the exception of the gas prices, it was a relatively normal day. We paid $4 per gallon at the pumps. On TV, they blamed the hurricane in the gulf for it, saying they had to shut down the refineries. Ann was excited that she finally had a day with no bitchy/crazy patients! We ran the boys really, really hard at Luke’s football practice at North Park that night. One boy chucked, several whined, a couple cried. I ended up running a lap with the boys as they needed the encouragement. They did great and hopefully it will pay off in the 4th quarter of games this season. Abby had a good volleyball practice and Matt ended up doing a lot of running as well due to his extracurricular activities in his last game. Needless to say the kids came home, ate & showered and went on to bed.
It was rainy Tuesday and very, very hot. I had to miss Luke’s football practice in order to catch Abby’s volleyball game vs. Batesville St. Louis. They ended up getting started a little early, so I kept Luke at the game until the 7th graders finished. I dropped him off at practice and came back to watch the 8th graders. As it ended up, the 7th graders blew them away, easily winning in 2 games that were never close. Abby played more but never had a chance to touch the ball. She made her debut in the back row that night, which should help her to get more PT if she is able to be more-rounded. The 8th graders also won. The 7th graders increased their record to 3-1.

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I spoke to Dad & Rob on Wednesday. Mom was quickly going de-compensating. Her doctor came to see her today, which I thought was very cool – a throwback to the 1950s. He spoke to Dad and he said that she likely wouldn’t last a week at this rate. He wanted 24 hour nursing to be with her as well. Dad & Rob got a hospital bed and portable commode from hospice and put them in the living room. Mom didn’t like it and refused to sleep in it. She knew what it meant – the end is very near. Rob is getting the house tomorrow and is very excited. I am thankful that he is there with Mom in her last days to help look after her. Part of me wants to be there with her as well. When all of this started, however; she told me that when the time was near that she didn’t want me to down there – she wanted me to stay with Ann & the kids. So, as she had requested and against my better judgment – I stayed in Indiana. It was a very hard decision…
Thursday was another hot day. Ann ran Abby to the dentist before school. After work, I ran Luke out to Coach Messer’s house. It is a gorgeous home with lots of space. Because this is a holiday weekend, there is no football game. Therefore, he gave the kids the night off and decided to have them all out for pizza, swimming and fun. Meanwhile Ann was at the high school with Matt. She was helping to serve the boys their Thursday night meal – a tradition that has been on-going for a few years now where the parents take turns making dinner for the boys the night before the varsity game. Ann made two big batches of dirt pudding. I met up with her back at the volleyball game where Grandma O also joined us. Tonight, Abby and the 7th grade squad faced off with a team from Laurel. I’m not even sure where Laurel is, but their team wasn’t very good at all and the girls easily breezed through victories in two straight games to move their record to 4-1. Abby received yet more playing time this game but again did not even touch the ball. Ann left and brought back Matt to watch the 8th graders with us, but he quickly lost interest and bugged me until I took him home. So I dropped him off and went out to the Messer abode to join the coaches and kids. They were being good and we Luke & I ended up staying out there for a quite a while. We had a few drinks and enjoyed a Puerto Rican stogie that was dipped in rum…man was it nice…and talked football. Brian and Angie are very cool and quite hospitable but Ann eventually texted me and reminded me that Luke still needed a shower and it was a school night.

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It sprinkled a few times on Friday. Abby had school pictures that morning. It was pretty humid that evening as we headed out to Shriver Field. Luke came dressed in his football uniform and was excited to play at halftime on the varsity field, under the lights! Matt and the #17-ranked Pirates hosted the Franklin Grizzly Cubs for the final time. Although a regular opponent for several years now, we will be dropping them and North Decatur from our schedule as we welcome Rushville and Connersville next season. Franklin was undefeated coming in to the game and we hadn’t beaten Franklin in more years than anyone could remember. Still, the Pirates came out fired-up and ready to play football. Matt had much more playing time as he was rotating in every 6 plays or so. He did get pulled out when he jumped off-sides. However, when he returned angry – he played his best ball of the season. I need to find ways to piss him off before each game so that he plays this good! He had a couple tackles and was more aggressive than ever – and his shoulder held up again to boot!! The trainer is really on to something. We were up 31-0 going in to the 4th quarter when they pulled Matt and the starters in lieu of the JV and freshmen. Franklin, however, refused to give up and left their varsity squad in to the very end. They scored a couple touchdowns and of course stopped our young players. Coach Moore gave him every opportunity to put in his younger squad but he refused, so we put our starters back in as well and we shut them down and ended the game, 31-15 to extend their record to 3-0!

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At halftime, Luke and his blue team squared off against the white team for a quick scrimmage. The only bad part was that we did a split squad and we start 9 boys on both sides of the ball. We put Luke and the other starters on offense while a couple coaches and I took our remaining 8 players (we were missing 7 players that night that didn’t tell us they wouldn’t be there!) to the other side of the field where we tried to play defense. It wasn’t pretty – I won’t lie. We couldn’t stop them; playing 11 on 8 – especially with them passing the football – we simply couldn’t cover everyone. Although we didn’t keep score, we got our butts handed to us for sure. Still, Luke looked pretty good on the other side of the field, picking off linebackers from his guard position. We ended up at Chili’s after the game to celebrate the victory. I spoke with Mom & Dad. Mom was not doing well, the hospice nurse was now staying at the house 24/7. She said that Mom would most likely not make it through the weekend. Dad handed the phone over to her and she managed to say she loved me and good-bye. We shared one last cry as I told her the same. It would be the final words she would speak. She slept the rest of the day and almost all of Saturday.
It rained overnight as the full brunt of Isaac took over our area of the country. We were invited up to Franklin College to the annual football player alumni game. This year they faced a formidable opponent, ranked higher than the Grizzlies. The game itself was a blow out as the #2 Mount Union Purple Raiders slaughtered the #13 Franklin Grizzlies, 45-7. It was their 63rd straight regular-season victory! They had a guy on their team named Chris Denton that looked like a man playing with boys – I wouldn’t doubt it if he was playing on Sundays in the future. Abby was crabby and Ann wasn’t sold on going due to the threat of rain, so when Abby started acting her age it was just the out the girls were looking for as they opted out of the trip. The boys and I were actually OK with catching a football game with just the guys. We picked up some FC swag (the boys got shirts and I got a hat) and watched the 1st half from the endzone, like we always used to do my junior & senior years after I had stopped playing. The new stadium is amazing. The entire setting is so nice – including a new field, new stands, new entry way – completely re-designed. Whoever dreamed this up really knew what they were doing. Unfortunately, as Luke & I were playing catch there in the endzone, it began to rain. It was on and off at first, then a drizzle turned in to a steady rain. We sent Luke to grab the umbrella (the car was parked right outside the gate) when the skies opened up! Matt & I toughed it out as long as we could before we finally had to give it up and join the Dukester in the car. We tried to wait out the rain, but it wouldn’t let up and we were all hungry so we decided to skip the halftime ceremony (they were going to announce my name and the other former players) as we were recognized for our time on the FC fields. However, it was not to be as the rain washed everything out (that field still looked amazing since it is turf!) so we packed everything up and headed to Steak N Shake for lunch and wait out the rain. Jefferson Ave was swamped – badly flooding all along the main thoroughfare through town. We took our time eating and it finally stopped raining. So we grabbed to-go milkshakes for Matt & I and stopped by Wendy’s for Lukey and headed back home. It was so stinkin’ humid afterwards! We came home, dried out and got comfy. Meanwhile in Largo, Mom pretty much slept the entire day, waking only momentarily when Rob asked her to sit up for a couple of pictures. Here this woman had been sleeping or at least keeping her eyes closed for most of the past week and she was able to rally (Ann would later call it her Death Rally) enough to open those bright eyes and even managed a smirk with the last ounce of energy in her body. She fell back to sleep almost immediately and as it turned out, would be the last time she would sit up in that bed.

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We were awakened early on Sunday morning by the sound of Luke telling us that Grandma was calling us on my cell phone (Mom & Dad’s contact has a picture of Mom playing euchre with us in Florida). It was Dad on the other end and he was crying. I knew instantly why he was calling. Mom had passed away moments earlier, surrounded by her family (Dad, Rob & Sharon) and her best friends (Dave & Mary Jane and Bob & Jackie). Dad said she went very peacefully – she simply stopped breathing and was gone. It was very hard to tell the children, but we sat down with each one and told them the horrifying news. I had completed Mom’s musical slideshow only last night. Ann will overnight the DVD to Dad on Tuesday for use at the little ceremony the park is having for Mom. I heard from several family and friends that day. It was very cool to see all the love that woman invoked in people. My best friend Paul and his family took us out for pizza and beers at Pizza King. We ended up coming back here to our house for a nightcap. Abby had gone to the movies with her friends Kenzie & Megan and Matt went with Ann to pick her up. The boys (Luke, Cayden & Conner) played outside for hours with bikes, basketball, football, soccer, the “beach” (sandbox) and eventually talked me in to shooting off some fireworks. Congrats to Paul, Pat, Jino, Wayne, Wes and all the rest of our friends on the back-to-back championship softball team! It rained on and off all day again and was extremely humid. Poor Conner wasn’t feeling well and ended up sleeping for awhile with a fever. I spoke to Rob & Dad that night. They had a busy day, getting the outfit for Mom ready and transporting her to the crematorium. They told Dad it would be about 5 days or so before they could get to Mom. On a much lighter note, Rob & Sharon received the keys to their new house yesterday, though none of that mattered today. However, several of their friends were helping to paint, scrape wallpaper, etc which was very sweet. It was gloomy all day, very fitting of the significance of the day.
It rained all night and continued on and off on Monday, which was Labor Day – and another overcast, gloomy day. We took the day off and bummed around the house, completing our weekly chores around the house. Matt had football practice. Ann made some yummy Panini-style sandwiches. I took the kids out for ice cream from Dairy Point for their help around the house. We took naps on and off and watched stuff on the DVR (the 2 NASCAR races from the weekend and the Dr Who marathon).

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Next up is the video section, including two family videos and a few more from around the net this week.

We have one very sweet entry for the Shit that Luke Says section: on Sunday, as Luke struggled to understand death, God and how it all fits together in his terms. He was playing outside and was staring up in to the clouds. When I asked him what he was doing, he said, “Watching to see if Grandma was sitting on a cloud above our house”…

For this week’s Waybac section, we feature the video slideshow that will be shown at Mom’s ceremonies in Largo this coming week and then following at some point at the gravesite in Lafayette…

With a heavy heart, we wrap up this week’s Scheu Family Blog. I would like to take this moment to thank every one of our family and friends for all the sweet words, the encouragement and all the well-wishes. We love you all. I leave you with a post I left on Mom’s wall today. It was something I had been working on for about a week and a half now. It is by no means an epitaph but something I needed to say.

How do you thank someone for choosing life when it was an unpopular choice at the time for the situation?
How do you thank someone for choosing marriage when it meant being ex-communicated from your family?
How do you thank someone for choosing to end a loveless union even if it meant being on your own and being isolated from your church?
How do you thank someone for striking out on her own and sacrificing everything to create a normal life for her child?
How do you thank someone for taking a second chance on love to create a better life for her child?
Because of you, I am the man I am today.
Mother, I carry so much of you inside of me. My very being – every cell – carries so much of you within it.
You were open-minded, always cared about others, treated everyone the same –
Despite their color, age, education or how much money they have in the bank and always helped others when you could.
Your hopes and dreams of a better world emulated themselves within me in many forms, including:
school (sociology – the study of people), my adult professional life (psychiatric healthcare) and even my personal time (coaching).
But what makes me most proud of you is that I now see so much of you in my own children.
I don’t know how to thank you for all that you’ve done for me, but please know that you live on through us…
I love you, Mom and will never forget you. You were always so strong, brave and independent – all the way until the very end.
Thank you for all you’ve done for me…thank you.

Later, Scheu

8 comments to Goodbye Cruel World, I’m leaving you Today – Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye…

  • sharon

    So beautiful Tom! I thank God for family! Very nice job, you know how Aunt Sharon loves music. A Great tribute to your mom. Can’t believe she is gone, looking back on the years and the memories, how wonderful they were. Thank you Sandy for being the greatest sister (in law),best friend,and confidant. Till we meet again………

    Love , Sis

  • Anonymous

    Thank you bro for all that you do and just being not only my brother but my best friend too. I miss momma so much and wish there was a way to prevent such terrible stuff to happen to such wonderful people. I love her so much and still find myself talking to her and sometimes even wondering if it is all real. I go to Dad’s and it is like she is still there as you walk throughout the house. I miss her so bad my heart is so broken. Never getting to hug her again is really hard for me to cope with. I love you and we will see you soon…Robby

  • Kelly U.

    Tom – I’m sorry for your loss. Mike lost his mom this month as well. This post was beautifully written. I even read to the end. 😉 Your mom must have been a great person, because you turned out to be such a great guy and parent! Thinking of you!

  • Thank you guys. It has been really weird. I think I am still in denial at this point. I have my moments where I get angry for no good reason (usually with the kids or Ann) or just tear up in mid-sentence. Mom’s services will be this Friday, so I assume it will hit me like a ton of bricks at that point. Mom was a trailblazing, independently strong woman that wasn’t afraid to make the right decisions even when they weren’t the most popular choice at the time. The more I have learned about her, the more she had become my hero. Thanks for the love guys,
    – Tom

  • Mindi Hill

    Tommy, great pictures…brought back lots of memories of growing up. Your mom was a wonderful person, and you and Robby were so lucky to have her as a mom for the time that you did. Your post about her was perfect.. Thinking of all of your family:)

  • Thanks Min. Sorry to hear your Mom is in poor health but was great to talk with your Dad for about 15 minutes. I always liked your Mom & Dad so much. They were very good to Mom & I in the early years and she never forgot it. The memories of you and I and your sister are ones I still cherish…

  • julie

    Tom, I am so so sorry for your loss. Your mom was a good person. Heaven has gained another angel. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family. I’m sorry this is so late, just came across this. Take care. J

  • Thanks sweetie; we miss her dearly. I appreciate your kind words. Obviously, I’m still adjusting. She was a one of a kind, man…hope you & Neil are well, my friend. Take care and have a good one,

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