Yesterday has been two weeks since my Mom passed away. It is hard to write about because I really don't know where to begin. I have written about my mom here and here. She hadn't been the Mom I knew for a while but she was still the most important woman in my life. Her passing was a sad and terribly hard thing to see but was also a beautiful blessing.
Mom was back in the hospital for pneumonia yet again. At first I couldn't bring myself to go see her. As selfish as this sounds, I did not want to see my mom so sick again. But then on April 12th (my birthday) I just had to go see her. The nurses had given her some medication that made her sleep. My understanding is what they had given her was to help her not struggle to breath so much but it also knocked her out. I spent an hour or more just talking to her, holding her hand and crying. I wanted her to know that it was ok to let go, to go to heaven where she would not be in pain and with her sisters, mom and dad, and my brother Gary.
When I left the hospital I really lost it. No more holding it together. I talked to my sister Gia and really did not know what to say. Was Mom dying? Should she come home? I really didn't have the answers but I knew I was scared.
The next day (Tuesday, April 13th) I talk to Gia in the morning. She had talked to the palliative care nurse who suggested she get home as soon as possible. I then get a sitter and head up to the hospital. Mom was struggling to breath and couldn't stay awake but she was talking and asking for water. Later that day, after talking to the palliative care nurse, we decide to stop the antibiotics and IV fluids and move her to the suite. We knew it was only a matter of days, so we make plans for my other siblings to get up to the hospital the next day to see her. I head home to spend some much needed mental health time with my boys. I think I was gone 2 to 3 hours.
When I get back to the hospital and walk into the suite, I knew it was going to happen sooner. Mom had really declined in those 3 hours. Her breathing had changed and she couldn't wake up. One of the nurses told my sister-in-law that she would be surprised if she made it though the night. Something I already knew.
We take turns sitting with her, holding her hands, rubbing her hair, and telling her its ok to let go, to stop fighting.
My sister Ellen and I are sitting on either side of her. I couldn't leave her side and let go of her hand. The tears flow again and Ellen asks "Is this too hard on you?" I answer through falling tears "Yes". But I couldn't leave. It was too hard but I wouldn't have it any other way.
Right around 8:00 pm her breathing really changes. I can't remember if I said it out loud or just in my head "This is it...she is going!" All the others (Brenda, Ronny, Gia and Kathi) join Ellen and I at her side. The next few minutes she takes her last breaths. After a couple of last gasps, that surprised and scared us, Mom took her last breath and then this peace comes over her. It was the worst moment of my life but also the most blessed moment. I cried out "She's gone!" and break down into a puddle of tears (as did everyone else). At that moment God came and took Moms hand to guide her to heaven. The peace that came over her face was indescribable. It was beautiful.
Through tears and cries we all call loved ones that need to be told. My husband and my niece Kate come right up. We all sit there in the suite and cry, laugh, hold Mom's hand, tell stories, and work on her obituary. I think we spend about 2 hours in there with Mom and each other. We waited until the funeral home came to get her body. Saying goodbye to her at that moment was just as hard as seeing her die. Thank God, Ray was the one to pick her up. We know he took good care of her.
I could write more about the days that follow but this post is as emotionally draining as I can take right now.
Until I see you again in heaven...I love you Mom!