Last Friday my mother passed away. When we placed her on hospice, I wrote her a note saying things I knew my voice could not relay through cracks and tears. I let her know how much I loved her, the things I admired and respected about her, and promised that I would be okay. I asked her simply if she had it within her power to let me know when she thought she might go. I told her I did not want her to be alone and that I did not want to receive the call.
Since we placed her on hospice in January, I have went by every morning before work and every afternoon after work. I have spent my days off with her. These moments have created the greatest treasure that can never be taken from me. Friday morning when I went in to see her, they told me that she had become unresponsive overnight. I called to work and updated my boss and stayed by her side. Mom couldn’t tell me, but the look in the nurse’s eyes told me.
Different family, friends, and hospice workers came throughout the day. I was told that this stage could last 24 hours to almost a week. Mostly we just sat and talked about life and held her hand. There were moments of tears and moments of laughter. A little after eight my husband called and said he was there but did not know how to get in to the building with the code. I took my granddaughter to get Papa, leaving my oldest daughter with my mom. When we came back in, she was gone. Everyone was a little surprised that she passed so quickly.
I can’t help but think that even in death she was watching out for me. My husband had not been up to the nursing home except to change my flat tire earlier in the week. Nineteen years earlier, he was the rock at my side through my father’s illness and death. I told him, I thought that she waited for him to be there for me. She knew of all the people in my world, I would need him the most.
She wasn’t alone. My daughter was with her. I didn’t have to get the call, because I made the call. When I walked back in to the room, I went to her side and noticed that she was no longer breathing. Without a word, I walked around the side of the bed and pushed the call button and then walked out in to the hallway to find staff. They came in and confirmed what I already knew.
I have spent the last week reliving the past with my siblings and extended family as we went through her stuff. I know they say not to do that immediately after a death, but in my mind my mother was gone long before they pronounced the time of her death. We had already downsized her three times – from her home to my home in 2008. From my sister’s house to the assisted living in 2013. Then from the assisted living to the nursing home in September 2015.
I let go of my mother in stages over the past eight years. My mother was my shopping buddy. She and I would take the kids shopping what seemed like every weekend. We would spend all day just walking through the stores, stop for lunch and then finish the day out with shopping. By the time she moved in with me, getting out of the house was a taxing effort. The shopping trips came to a halt. The last time we went shopping together was for shoes for my son’s wedding after a doctor’s appointment. When I dropped her off back at the nursing home, I cried as I realized my shopping buddy was gone.
My mother was also my confidant. When something was really bothering me, she was the one I would process things with. If I had a rough day at work, if the kids were driving me nuts, if my husband wasn’t doing what I thought he should, she was the one I would talk to about it. As her memory and hearing faded, so did our conversations. I remember going and laying on her bed at the assisted living facility sharing about something that was bothering me. She heard things I did not say and became upset. That day I mourned the loss of my friend.
My mother was always so independent. While looking back I realize this wasn’t necessarily a good thing, she was independent. I remember the start of her mental decline and how she messed up her checking account to a tune over $1000, twice in a short period of time. She was in her room crying, and I went in to find out what was wrong. She had a letter in her hand from the bank. They had given her a deadline to fix the account, and she couldn’t because she was on a fixed income and her check would not be there in time. She thought that they would send the police to put her in jail. I assured her they wouldn’t. She reached out to my brother for help, and I took control of her checking account. That day, I mourned the loss of her independence.
I can look back on the past with fond memories, a few that I wish weren’t there. I can remember the good and the bad. I can laugh and I can cry. I can honestly say, “I have no regrets.” I will miss my mom, but I know that she is where she wanted to be for the past nineteen years, at my father’s side in Heaven. She has been reunited with Christ, and with the son that went before her. I am at peace and so is she. I trust that going forward, we are both safe in the Father’s hands.
This post is prompted by the Tuesday@Ten blog Link up where you have 6 full days to use the “prompt phrase” as a part of your writing. Whether it be just writing a story behind the phrase or being as creative as you wish using photos, poems, art, or graphics – whichever creative way you choose. You have 6 days to write and link up your blog at the bottom of the page so that others can link up with you.