My Mom, my Hero, our loss

Organized by: Abbe Terry

Abbe's Photo

THE STORY:

I want to start by saying first of all, thanks to anyone who takes the time to read this and to get a glimpse into what a wonderful woman my mother, Sharon Leonard was. As you can see from her picture, she was a beautiful woman, but she was even more beautiful on the inside. It is still impossible for me to believe that she is even gone, I still find myself starting to call or text her. But one of the worst things is that I have not even had the time to mourn this loss before being bombarded with bill collectors and worse. Let me give you an idea first though of what a amazing person my mom was. My mother, Sharon Leonard, has been my personal hero my entire life. Then in December 2014 she took a fall. Not a bad fall, however, her back hurt very badly and she went to the doctor. The Orthopedic specialist diagnosed her as having 2 Osteofractures of the spine and told her that aside from medication for the pain, they would heal on their own with time. My mom did not heal, but proceeded to get worse. She went from looking like a strong healthy woman of 60 to looking like a shrunken version of herself. She aged 20 years in a matter of a few months. Then in April 2015, she became nauseated and after a couple of days with her not improving, I took her to the hospital. They ended up keeping her a week, running test after test. After another month of tests and doctor's appointments, my mother was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in June 2015. The oncologist gave her an excellent prognosis however. He told her this form of cancer was highly treatable and had a great survival rate. She was prescribed several medications, underwent a few blood transfusions, and for a few weeks things looked hopeful. But it did not last. My strong, brave, beautiful mother began to lose to a disease that had also taken her mother about 20 years before. By September 2015 she was back in the hospital and losing ground so fast it was unbelievable. My mother passed away on October 5th, 2015 to a disease that she had just been diagnosed with 4 months before. A disease that by all indications she should have beat. It all happened so fast that at times I still don't believe it. During the months of her illness, many things had been pushed to the background. Because of the huge cost of the care of her illness, bills went unpaid. The main medication she was prescribed during this time was Revlamid. This drug was specifically to fight the Multiple Myeloma, and for a 28 day supply, the cost was $13,200.00, and that was just one of the prescriptions she took daily. During this time, many things got behind including the mortgage, car payment, and utilities. Now that she is gone, as the only child, my children and I are struggling to recover from the heavy cost of the expensive, aggressive fight for her recovery, and ultimately, a complete turn around into striving to simply keep her comfortable and at ease while taking time off to be by her side constantly. Since her death, I have been notified of the mortgage going into foreclosure, the car has been repossessed, and a lien is being processed against her estate for an IRS over-payment she had incurred. If that was not enough, there is a mountain of medical bills, as well as back balances for the utilities that had fallen behind. In addition, I also have a $5,300.00 funeral bill to pay as well. She had a small life insurance policy, and although we are very thankful for it, the medical costs alone will take the majority of it when it is issued. It may still be 60 to 90 days before the life insurance is even issued to us. I fully intend to pay my mother's debt's, she sacrificed so much to raise me on her own, and I want to continue to make her proud as if she were still here. But I have come to realize that I cannot do this without help. I have no extended family to turn to, and I have no one else. My 2 children and I are all working to make ends meet, but because of the debts her illness and death have raised, we will not make it to Christmas without losing the house and everything else we have. We have 2 weeks to pay the car payment and retrieve it from the credit union, and we have 30 days to pay the back mortgage and remove the house from foreclosure, and about the same amount of time to come up with enough money to keep the IRS from imposing a lien on her estate. The worst thing about all of this is that we have been so worried about losing our home and everything we have worked for, that we have not been able to even mourn the loss of the most important person in our lives. The day of the funeral I already had bill collectors calling and foreclosure papers being served to our front door. One of the last things my mother said to me in the hospital was that I was the best thing that ever happened to her, and that we had an amazing journey. But she was the best thing that had ever happened to me. I miss her unbearably every minute of every day. I could write all day and still not even touch on how extraordinary she was, but I hope to give you and idea of what a strong, amazing woman she was and what she meant to me and my children. My mother married fairly young, she was 20, and a little over a year after my parents married, they had me. She and my father were like any young couple in the early 1960's, they were struggling, so it was a devastating loss when my father was killed in a train/automobile accident when I was only 6 months old. So at age 21, my mother was a widow with an infant to support all on her own. She started work as a secretary at Monsanto which would end up being her lifelong employer. My mother and I were never well off, but she always managed to not just provide for me, but to make what was an amazing life. She never remarried, and it was always just she and I against the world. Still, she managed to always make ends meet, and as she moved from a secretarial position to customer service and human resources, our financial situation did improve. As a pre-teen and then into my teenage years, my mother took me on some amazing vacations, and we found out we had a love of camping. We traveled and camped our way west across the United States from Illinois to California and the West Coast. It was on these trips my mom discovered her love for Colorado and the Rocky Mountains which was only surpassed by her love of the beach and the Pacific Ocean. My mother never let anything stand in her way, including the fact that it was just the 2 of us. My mother was such a strong, outgoing, vivacious person. She never met a stranger and would strike up a conversation with anyone. She loved music, especially the Rolling Stones and Bob Seger. We went to many concerts, and even as a teenager I was never embarrassed to be seen with my mom. She was the mom that everyone else wanted to have because she was considered so "cool". My mother and I had an extraordinary relationship. One of the hardest days of my life was the day I got married and moved into my own home, even though I only moved a few blocks away! But we adapted, and we moved into a new phase of our relationship, which eventually ended up with me presenting her with 2 grandchildren. When I told her I was pregnant with her first grandchild, my son Cody, she started crying and laughingly told me she was too young to be a grandmother! However, she turned out to be just as good at being a grandmother as she was at being my mother. She refused to be called "Grandma", and said it sounded much cooler to be called "Grams". By the time my daughter Kaitlin was born 3 years later, she was thoroughly enjoying being Grams. Not too long after that I became a single mother myself, through divorce, and myself and my children moved in with my mother for a while until I got on my feet. It would seem that it would be awkward to move back home, but it was seamless, and worked extremely well. The kids loved having unlimited access to their Grams and mom loved having company, she had hated living alone. During this time my mom, who had Mitral Valve Prolapse since childhood, underwent open heart surgery to repair the faulty valve. She came through the surgery with surprising ease, other than the MVP, she was in excellent health and physical condition. She was fit and very active. She and I eventually decided to buy a house together. I needed a bigger home for myself and the kids, and she did not want to live alone. We bought a home that she absolutely fell in love with. It's not big or fancy, but it's a nice home, and it has a beautiful back yard that ends in woods so we have all sorts of wild life that mom loved to watch. She was always up in the morning with her coffee watching the deer or turkey or the raccoon's that come out and beg for food in the evening. She could have retired at this time, but she loved her job and also said she could not imagine sitting around doing nothing, so she kept working for Monsanto in human resources. She loved her coworkers too In 2012, at the age of 70, she underwent a second open heart surgery to replace the valve that was repaired in 1992. She still was in excellent health though and she bounced back from her second major heart surgery like it was nothing. She and I and my kids had a simple, but great life. During this time she supported my dream to stop working at my long time employer and to go back to school to finish my degree in Library Science and to pursue a career in that field. Like every family, we had our ups and downs, but everything seemed to be going so well. Even though my mother was 72, she looked 15 years younger, and acted at least 20 years younger! She was still working full time for Monsanto, three days a week there and two days a week at home, and absolutely loving it. My mother's illness took her so quickly, too quickly for us to even plan anything for what came after. I am at a loss for words when it comes to explaining how much I miss her. Her passing has left a huge void where she fit in our lives. I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to read this, and if you are donating to us, you have no idea how much that means to what is now just our little family of three. Any donation, no matter how small will be appreciated more than you can imagine. We have lost the person that meant the most to all of us, and we cannot bear to lose any more. Thanks and God Bless. The Family of Sharon Leonard, Abbe, Cody and Kaitlin Terry

$350

 

5% Raised of$7,500 Goal

  • Lisa J. Miller

    $100

  • Rachel Hubbard (Curry)

    $200

  • Anonymous

    $50

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Organized by

Abbe Terry

This is a direct to organizer fundraiser.

Donor Comments

Anonymous

ANONYMOUS

DONATION: $50

I'm so sorry for your loss. May God bless you and your family and bring you peace during this difficult time and through the holiday season. 3 years ago

Rachel Hubbard (Curry)

Rachel Hubbard (Curry)

DONATION: $200

Abbe and family I am so very sorry for your loss. You are in my thoughts daily. Hang in there. You are strong and I know you can survive anything . Keep positive thoughts and just remember all the good times you had with your mom. Lots of love being sent your way. 3 years ago

Lisa J. Miller

Lisa J. Miller

DONATION: $100

Oh, Abbe, my heart is breaking for you and your family. I can't imagine how hard this must be. Your mom was an amazing woman, and you are too. Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Stay strong, you can do this! ~lisa 3 years ago

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