Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Out of the Blue

This morning I woke up, got my baby up, prepared her breakfast and while I was waiting for my Eggos to be toasted I got a phone call. This is not the phone call you ever want to get out of the blue. I was not expecting this at all. I was told that my Mom was being taken to the Emergency Room and had just been resuscitated. I was in shock, didn't know what was going on and neither did they.

It was my Mom's apartment manager that called. She lives in a retired community home. Someone below her unit heard running water for quite a while and got concerned. The manager said they found her on the floor of the bathroom passed out, not breathing. The paramedics came, were able to get her breathing and rushed her off to the ER. I was told that was 5 minutes ago when I received the call. I waited about 10 minutes while I tried to process the information I just heard over the phone, and started to mentally prepare myself for the worse. I called the ER and the Doctor got on the phone, he said they were currently working on her. Her heart was faintly beating and he said he wasn't sure if she was going to make it and to come to the ER right away. I unfortunately live about an hour away from my Mom, so rushing to the ER to see her before she passed would be difficult. I just was hoping that by some miracle she would either pull through or I would be able to say to her one last time, "I love you" before she passed on. But I was prepared for the worse.

When I finally arrived to the ER they had me wait while they made sure it was okay to go back to see her. The receptionist told me I could go in and see her. She said she was down the hall to the right, bed 12. I was thinking, "She's in a bed, that's good. Perhaps that means she is in recovery." But when I got to the room and pulled back the curtain there was no nurse or Doctor in there with her, she was still strapped to the gurney, her eyes were slightly open, she had tubes in her mouth, she had no top on... I was with my Mother-in-law (my husband, the pilot, is in Dubai at this point.) I asked her, "Is she still alive?" I reached out to touch my Mom's wrist and check for a pulse, and I knew as soon as I touched her that she was gone. I almost didn't want to believe it. I looked at her eyes closely and touched her forehead. Here eyes were vacant. No life at all. I held her hand, and stroked her arm, and the words that came out of my mouth were, "I'm sorry Mommy, I am so sorry." As I looked at her I saw that her spirit was gone, and all of a sudden this body in front of me was no longer my mother to me, it was an empty shell where she had once resided while here on earth. I can't explain it any better than that. It was very strange. I couldn't look at her face any more after that, it was too sad and empty. She was gone already, there was no one there to say goodbye to. I had missed that opportunity to say goodbye to her before she passed away.

I turned and my Mother-in-law held me and we cried. I said, "I am so thankful that she believed in Jesus and that she is in Heaven right now." I truly believe that. If you are saved, a Christian, our home is not here on earth, it is in Heaven. Where there is no pain, no imperfect bodies that keep us down, no sadness, just the presence of God, and Love. It almost made me envious to think that she was there in such a happy place and I was still here on this imperfect globe, earth. The last couple years she had been suffering in her earthly body. She was bi-polar and in late 2007 her medication became toxic to her body, after being on it for over 30 years. She was put into a mental hospital and her mind never fully recovered to its previous state of function. I could tell it frustrated her that it hadn't improved that much since then. She had bad knees, stiff hands, and recently diagnosed with Diabetes. She was unable to handle her own mail and paperwork or tasks that took more than a couple steps. So, although she was still my mother, and I loved her dearly, she wasn't the woman I had known for the past 33 years of my life. So I am glad her suffering is over and she is in Heaven, fully functional and clear headed and has no worries. My Aunt, in the hospital, is her sister... and she doesn't need to worry about her anymore. She has no worries any more. That is what is joyous.

What saddens me is that I had planned to pick her up this weekend to spend the weekend with me and visit with her granddaughter. Her birthday was coming up, and I thought the best present would be to give her time with her family. In fact yesterday I thought about calling her to see how she was doing and to remind her that I was coming this Saturday morning for her. I know she gets lonely. She lived alone, although she had some wonderful neighbors and friends where she lived she got lonesome. It had been a few weeks since I had made a trip to her place. The last time I had free time to visit anyone I went to see my Aunt in the hospital. These thoughts of, "I should have made time last week to see her, since I haven't been over for a while." and "I should have called her yesterday when she was on my mind." kind of haunt you a bit when someone passes. But I know she knew I loved her. She often told me, "You are so good to me, you are a wonderful daughter." And I did call her several times a week, and held the phone up for KD to talk to her Grandma. They would chat and KD would say all her new words and my Mom would be so delighted to hear her talking to her over the phone. I know that made her day when I did that. So I don't have any regrets about her not knowing how much I loved her or cared for her.

Later today I thought to my self, "Why was my response to her 'I'm sorry'?" What was I sorry about? I think first of all, that I wasn't there in time to say goodbye before she died. Even if she wasn't fully conscious, I think it would have been nice for her to have family around her when she passed from this life to the next. And then I was also sorry she was alone, that she was lonely where she lived... even though she had friends and I would come to visit. Its sad to be a single person, no spouse, no roommate or relative living with you, and to just be on the floor alone waiting for someone to find you. Such a lonely picture. Also I am sorry that she was on that gurney half naked with no dignity. (My Mother-in-law grabbed a sheet right away and covered her up, that was nice of her to do.) Such a shock to walk in and see her like that. It wasn't that I felt it was shameful, or something like that... that she was half naked, just sad. But the fact that she was about to take a shower was good news to me. When she was depressed she didn't take care of herself, she didn't like to shower. But when she felt good she would take a shower. So I imagine that she was feeling positive about life, had hope that her sister would pull through and looking forward to her weekend with her daughter and granddaughter. That's good. The last time I spoke with her she was very happy sounding.

Thankfully my husband was able to leave work and come home. He is on a plane right now, on his way home. Also, one of my brothers (the more level headed and calm one of the two) is coming over from the East coast to help me sort the details out for the funeral and go through her apartment with me. I am happy for that. And my two very dearest friends in the world both dropped what they were doing as soon as I was on my way to the hospital, to be there for me. They ended up being very helpful, watching KD while I made calls and received calls, they went grocery shopping for me and cooked me dinner, made some meals to have in my fridge for later, watched KD while I took a nap. They are the best! They loved my Mom very much too, so its nice to have people around you that love you and love the person you are mourning, and can help you remember good things about them. I thank God for all my friends and family. They are so wonderful!

I will miss you, Mom. I am happy you are in a better place, and are whole again.

3 comments:

Nicole said...

I'm so sorry to hear of the passing of your mother, especially so suddenly. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Flying High said...

I'm so sorry about your loss. I hope you and your family are getting all the love and support you need at this difficult time.

elsja said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. A bit saddened that no one prepared you for what you had to see when you walked in the room. I hope you can be at peace. All the best to you and your family.