This morning I was in tears, again. After so many hours in hospitals holding mom’s hand I was denied the right to be there holding her hand when she died. I live 6 minutes from my mom. Everyone in every hospice, hospital, nursing home, assisted living, and care center had me on speed dial because they knew how strong the bond between my mother was.
That does not mean we always agreed. We didn’t. But our discussions were rarely heated and few. I loved her, she loved me in her own way. We accepted each other. The last many years she has relied on my husband and I to be there for her. We never let her down.
As her needs grew, so did the time we gave, and so did our love for her. No place she had stayed during this ordeal we faced together had ever worried about calling anytime, any hour and since they always have people on night shift they never worry about calling at midnight or 2am or 4am, if mom needed me I was always available. Her red cell phone around her neck was her security blanket and she used it to call.
When I left her at 7:45pm on Monday night, her care giver and I talked. Neither of us believed she would last through the night. But I would not last through the night either if I did not get some food. A skimpy breakfast 12 hours earlier had long ago worn thin. My sweet and patient husband had gone home to get the last of the “it’s almost winter” yard, patio, and deck things packed up and stowed before the winter rains begin. He also would be running on an empty fuel level himself.
Before I left Monday night I was not only surprised to see my sister but so glad she had been able to come again so soon. I knew with her there, mom would have a family member there until I could get back. I left knowing I would get the phone call from either my sister if mom’s condition deteriorated early or mom’s care giver as the night grew long. Her care giver promised to call if anything took a turn for the worse.
I had felt badly for my sister that due to circumstances out of her control she had been unable to visit mom more than once a week. She works 9-10 hour days, lives an hour drive away and suffered some permanent vision damage from a stroke this spring and is not allowed to drive. It has made it difficult for her to always have transportation.
I went home to a very restless night with little sleep ever coming. I was expecting the call. My clothes were folded and on the counter in the bathroom so I could dress in two minutes and get to mom.
At 9pm my mother had a seizure just as my sister was ready to leave. She decided to spend the night and sent her husband back home. But she didn’t call me. As I tossed and turned and waited for the phone call that never came, I did not know my sister was with mom. Apparently as it grew closer to morning it became evident that mom’s death was imminent mom became a little agitated and my sister sang to her, talked to her, held her, hugged her, and soothed her. All things my mother needed. But she did not phone me…
…until 4:50am. I was confused, I was expecting mom’s care giver’s voice, why was my sister calling? Was she okay? Was her husband? Was there an emergency with her family? What had happened that she would call at 4:50am?
Mom had died ten minutes ago.
I did not say anything. I was devastated and hurt. I had failed to keep my promise to mom. The promise I had made many years ago when mom had admitted to me that she feared being alone and she feared death. I promised her I would not let her die alone, I would be there. Everyone who ever knew me realized the importance of this pact to both of us.
Burying my feelings is something I am a master at. This time my mastery has failed me. Every time I think about mom dying and me being only minutes away I cry again and again.
The overwhelming despair engulfs me. I needed to be with her as much for me as for her. That was no secret either. Everyone knew it was important to me. But in the end, only minutes away, I was denied my last goodbye to my mom. WHY oh why??
In the gloom of the morning I got a text from my grandson. He’s 11. He’s an Asperger kid. They are not supposed to be able to process human emotions. But this is what he sent to my phone:
BEAUTIFUL sunrise at our house this morning
Him: How are you feeling about granny today?
Me: Still sad. But Better. The picture this morning made me feel better. How are you feeling about Granny?
Him: I feel very bad. Are you gonna send a random picture of granny to me in memory?
Me: I’m going to post your morning picture to my blog tonight.
Me: I’ll look for a picture right now.
(Please remember that as we text back and forth Q & A are not always one after the other do to time lags as we both are typing. We texters do get used to that.)
Mom and Me
I sent him several from my phone and felt better.
Great-Grandson and his Granny
Looking at this picture I know this very special young boy has the ability to make me see the beauty, feel his love and care, and know life goes on.
An 84 year age difference, two very wonderful girls.
Adorable Little Sister was a brave girl to face a roomful of sick, very elderly people. She bravely sat on Great-Granny’s lap and showered her with hugs and kisses. What a sweet child.
Tomorrow is a new day. The sun will come up, I’ll have a good day, the sun will set. My wounds will heal. I will not stomp around and hurt others. My undying belief is that everyone is doing the best they can with the tools God gave them. None of us are perfect. Pouring out my heart in this blog helps me feel better.
But mostly my grandchildren are the best mood enhances ever. Yesterday Grandson and Grandson’s Little Sister came in to work with their mommy and brought me a beautiful bouquet, and best of all hugs and kisses.
My Desk Today, with thanks to my family. Oct 26, 2011
Wishing you all beauty and hugs.