“Sorry kid, I remember how I felt the day my mother died.” My uncle said as he grabbed a hold of me while I sobbed uncontrollably in his arms. They were the first words spoken to me just moments after my mom passed. I didn’t know it then but those words would play over and over again in my mind in the days to come.
On Christmas Eve, my cousins came in from Florida to see my mom, their aunt Peggy. She was delighted to see them! As the evening went on my mom complained that she was in so much pain, mainly in her lower back. The Hospice nurse told us that we could give her morphine. My dad administered it. He was the best care giver to my mom. He stayed right be her side until the very end. My mom called for me, and she asked me to pray for her. I looked at my dad with tear filled eyes.
“Be brave, honey. Be brave.” My dad said as he grabbed my hand. I let go of my dad’s hand and placed my hand on my mom’s “bad” leg. I used my other hand to run my fingers through my mom’s hair. I shut my eyes as tight as I could, took a deep breath and prayed:
“Dear Lord, I beg of you to free my mother from this pain, no matter what that may mean. Give her peace, place your loving arms around her, and reassure her that my dad, Jason, and I will be alright. (Tears were streaming down my face, and I could no longer hold back my sobs) Lord, I beg of you to not let my mom suffer. If it is your will to bring her home, then please do so.” I leaned down, kissed my mom on the forehead. “You don’t have to fight anymore mommy, it’s okay. I’ll take care of daddy. I love you.” She told me that she loved me too.
My mom looked at my dad with tears in her eyes. “Is it okay with you?” She asked.
“Yes, honey. It’s okay with me.” He replied as he placed his forehead on hers and kissed her.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the room. She kept apologizing to everyone; we told her that she had nothing to be sorry for. She fought sleep and continued to complain of pain for most of the night. Finally, around 11 she calmed down and went to sleep. I didn’t think she would make it through the night.
Christmas morning, I awoke to the sound of my phone ringing. I prepared myself; I thought for sure it was my dad calling to tell me my mom was no longer with us. It was my dad, but all he said was “I need you to get here as soon as you can.” Neil and I threw on clothes, woke up my cousin, and ran out the door. When I walked into my parent’s living room my mom was lying in her hospital bed, asleep. My dad grabbed me and started to cry. “I tried to wake her up, she won’t wake up.” I held him while he cried. We went on with Christmas, because that’s what my mom would have wanted. We talked to her just like she could hear us, and who knows, maybe she could have!
The next day was the worst day of my life, the day my world stopped turning. I walked into my parents’ house. My dad was sitting by mom’s side, she was still asleep. Her breathing actually sounded better than it had the day before. I took a seat in the recliner next to the Christmas tree. Our good friend Jason came to visit, and my aunt, uncle, and cousins were there too. We all sat around chit chatting, eating left over ham, and even shared a few laughs. The next thing I knew my dad was calling my name. I ran over to a chair that was sitting in front of him, but next to my mom’s bed.
“Her breathing is getting worse.” He said.
I listened; sure enough she was taking shorter breaths, almost gasping. My aunt and uncle went outside while everyone else went in the kitchen. It was just my dad, my mom, and me in the living room. I placed my hand on my mom’s leg. “I’m here mommy.” My dad was holding her hand. We continued to just listen to her breathe. The hardest thing I had ever done up until that point was telling my mom it was okay for her to let go. Watching my mom take her last breath, took the cake. I put two fingers on her neck to check for a pulse, there was nothing. I placed my hand in front of her mouth, there was no air. I looked at my dad, and I didn’t have to say anything. He stood up and started crying. I didn’t even realize it, but Neil said I screamed. I latched onto my dad as hard as I could, as we both sobbed. He let me go and leaned over my mom’s body. I felt like I was going to fall, but Neil was right there behind me to catch me. I didn’t even realize everyone had entered the room. Again, there wasn’t a dry eye in the place. I was instantly surrounded by people, grabbing me, and hugging me. I looked over at my mom’s body. Both my dad and my aunt (my mom’s sister) were clinging to her body and sobbing. I grabbed my phone, gave it to Neil and said “Call Hospice, and then call my brother, I just can’t! “ Suddenly the room started spinning, I felt weak in the knees. That’s when my uncle grabbed me.