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1/23/2013: Mom

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Nine years ago tomorrow, I lost my mom. She was only 78 and was sick for just 5 days and was gone. When I tell you I had no time to prepare, you might think that's silly. After all, she was 78, right? I just never let my mind go there, not even when we lost my grandma. She lived to be 93 so I had no reason to believe my own mom wouldn't live at least that long. But alas, that was not to be. I had been talking with her all that week and she was feeling bad, short of breath, weak. I encouraged her to go to the ER but she would have none of that. She called her doctor who ordered an x-ray for the next day. She had the x-ray and was told the doctor would call the next day. The nurse called her that day as promised, but mom passed out half way through the conversation. Finally, when I call her Friday morning and she sounded weaker, I told her if she wasn't in the ER in one hour, I was calling the ambulance myself.

My aunt came in from the farm and took Mom to the hospital. They did tests and found she had multiple blood clots in her lungs. I told her I would come right away but she said to come the next day after the baby shower for my daughter. I told her how much I loved her and that she shouldn't worry about a thing...I'd be there the next day and take care of everything. At midnight, I got a call that Mom's blood pressure had become unstable and it wasn't looking good. They worked on her for another hour and again said it didn't look good. Without saying so, they were asking my permission to stop. I wasn't ready for that. I asked if there was anything, just anything, they could try. The Doctor's voice softened and said, "I can try one more thing, buy honestly, I have no hope that it will work." I asked if the medicine he would give her would cause her pain and he said no. I gave myself that little extra time to let go and give it all to God.

My 14 year old was with me. Awakened by the phone, she wanted to know what was wrong. I told her we were losing our Grammy and there was nothing the doctors could do. She started crying and said she didn't get to say goodbye to her great-grandma and now she wasn't going to get to say goodbye to her Grammy either. I quickly called the hospital in WV and asked for the ICU nurse who was caring for my mom. I explained the situation to her and asked if she could please hold the phone to my mom's ear so my little girl could say goodbye. The nurse was so kind and held the phone there for the longest time so Mom could "hear" my daughter's voice as the last thing before she passed. My daughter told her how much she loved her, how much she would miss her, but that it was ok to go with Big Grandma and Pop Pop. She didn't cry, she just talked softly to her Grammy one last time. At that point I knew, if my 14 year old was ready and able to say goodbye, it was time for me to let go, too. About 15 minutes later, the doctor called to tell me my mother was gone.

I don't tell you this story to be a downer. I tell you for several reasons. We don't know when our loved ones will be taken home. No matter how much you think you are prepared, you aren't. Be quick to say "I love you" and slow to criticize your loved ones. Celebrate every single day you have because it is a gift to you and to those you love.

I love you, Mama. I miss you, and I know that we will see each other again some day!

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