Saturday, September 21, 2013

This one's for you, wherever you are

29 years ago today my mom, Vera, lost her battle with lung cancer.

i've written about her in the past, but i wanted to share the details of her final day here on Earth.

Let me also say that for my entire life (and most of hers) she was ill.  She had asthma,  Tuberculosis, lost a lung to that disease, and had lung cancer in her remaining lung. Each day was a fight for breath.  She never once complained.

On Sept 18th, She was hospitalized for lung cancer as it neared its final stage.  On Sept 21st, that day was remarkable.  Dad and I went to the hospital to visit here, and she was sitting up! She had been partially reclined the previous few days and on a high level of oxygen.  But today, in addition to sitting up, she was not on her oxygen. 

i attributed this to nothing short of a miracle. However, as i learned later, this sometimes happens to people who are at the last stage of their life. We had a wonderful visit. She was happy, chatty, and looked so healthy!  After the visit, dad and I drove home.  We had no sooner walked in the door, when the phone rang. it was the hospital.  They said that she was in a coma and it was 'time'. 

We couldn't believe it.  We made the 20 minute drive back to the hospital, and indeed she was in a coma, her breaths were short and the oxygen was back on.  The nurse told us to talk to her and tell her it was okay to let go.  Dad couldn't do it. It fell to me.  What a huge responsibility it was.  I leaned forward and told mom how much dad, Brian (my brother, who was in northern CA) and I loved her, but it was okay for her to let go and go to heaven.  Within 2 minutes, her breaths became short and farther apart. And just like that, she was gone.  It was my first experience with death.

i creid of course, but no sobbing like i expected.  one thing that shocked me is the uncontrollable shaking that took over my body.  The nurse gave me moms wedding rings, and i held my moms hand and told her i would miss her and what a wonderful woman she was. 

And just like that, it was over.  Dad and I went to the car absolutely dumbfounded. I mean, how could she have been so alive 2 hours ago and now she was gone.  Her death was totally unexpected, but at the same time we knew it was inevitable. The only woman my dad ever loved was gone.  My mom, the rock of our family was gone. How would we ever survive?  

Well, we survived of course.  Life as we knew it changed.  mom is still missed to this day. I can only hope she's proud of the woman that i turned out to be.  I miss you mom.  I'm comforted by the fact that Dad and Brian are up there with you serving you tea, and watching General Hospital with you.  XOXO


joanne said...

I have also heard that some people will rally like that just before they pass. Very strange, it must be their way of being with us one last time. I know how hard it is to lose your mom, we never get over needing her or missing her. Sometimes it tears me apart. Love and hugs to you as you visit some difficult memories today. She was a lovely woman, I love the photo.

Debbie said...

I know how it is to lose your Mom. It will be 1 yr for me on Oct 10th. I will never quit missing her.
Your tribute to your Mom is beautiful. I glad she had that last rally to be able to spend that time with you.
I love ya, Deb.
God Bless~