Goodness…what a surreal days have passed. As I wrote the last post, I could hear the words to Gloria Estefan’s “Coming out of the Dark” ringing in my heart. Now it’s back again to surreal~ville.
My mom’s been sick for a long time with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia…and on oxygen (with interstitial lung disease) for about 5 years. She went into the hospital a week ago last Friday with a rash on her legs and was kept to investigate it. She was in good spirits, smiling and joking with family. Sunday morning, the unexpected occurred and she coded while in the arms of her sister and my sister. It just went quickly down hill from there. We all sat together, shocked, wide-eyed and feeling broken hearted. After Monday, she never regained full consciousness and she passed on to her heavenly home by Thursday evening. Stunned. That’s how I felt. So much sadness and longing for one more conversation so we could say a proper farewell. Those clichéd things people say about “always say I love you, just in case you never get another chance” rang true in my thoughts. I always did that, but if I’d known that last hug would be the last time I’d feel her arms around me oh, what I’d done differently.
I would also add to the clichés, linger over those hugs; I wish I had. I studied Mom’s hands for hours last week, holding them and trying to will her to squeeze my hand back. It felt like we were living out one of those beautiful and gut wrenching hospital room scenes from a movie, filled with loved ones saying their goodbyes, and a strong desire to keep pinching myself to see if it was real. My sister spent the night before Mom was intubated with her, helping her as she wrote notes since her words would not get through the face mask rapidly blowing air into her lungs. One of Mom’s notes asked, “Is this real?”
I am so thankful my mom took 3 of my kiddos on a belated birthday date the evening before she was admitted and they had a wonderful time with her. They will always remember her smiling and happy, even though she was in a lot of pain that evening and had to use her walker. It was such a gift. She was an amazing grandmother and we all loved her so much.
My sister and I took different nights to spend with her and on the last one, stayed together. We played so much music for her throughout the long nights. Elivs gospel, Elvis hits, Johnny Matthis, Phillips Craig, and Dean, Tom Jones, and Carrie Underwood…oh, what bittersweet memories, praying, crying, and thanking God. So many emotions all smashed together. I kept hoping if she could hear the music, that she was enjoying it and not annoyed by it. We got no indication from her. There were quiet moments, in the dark, too, with only the sound of the respirator and nearly silent movements of incredible nurses constantly fussing with the tubes and making sure she was comfortable.
I think this is all I can say at present, I’m fairly certain there will be a part 2. My siblings and I had to breach my Mom’s private domain in the last couple of days to start clearing out her apartment…we are far from done packing her up, but today we feel we’ve had almost all we can take emotionally and mentally as we prep for the Celebration of her life on Saturday.
Life is so beautiful! I’m trusting God to help us remember that as we ride this rollercoaster, knowing that our mom/grandma/sister/friend/daughter/cousin/co-worker/neighbor is perfectly and wonderfully HAPPY, singing and dancing her way across Heaven.
We’re having pink balloons on Saturday, she always said she didn’t want flowers when she died because she would be celebrating and we should, too. It sort of blows my mind a little that a couple of weeks ago when I updated my blog “theme”, I’d chosen this one. I’ve seriously had balloons on the brain since last Thursday. Hug your moms and dads my friends. I wrote a note on Facebook saying, there WILL be a day when all the hard stuff or relational challenges just disappear like vapor in those moments of gripping sadness and all you think about is the good stuff. Quite possibly some of the silly or embarrassing things parents do are the very things you might find endearing and precious when you realize you will never experience them again down here…like hearing a full on rendition of “I Just Called to Say I Love You” on your answering machine. MOM, I love you, too!!!
Thank You, Father in Heaven, for being so near to us and holding us. <3
Psalms 116:15 – Precious in the sight of the LORD [is] the death of his saints.
John 11:25 – Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
Romans 8:18 – For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
John 16:33 – These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.