Thursday, October 22, 2009

Goodbye Mom

I am back home and as much as I am glad for my return I am so sad at what that means.... My Mom is no longer with us.

Back in August, on my mom's Birthday she got the news that she had Cancer. It was such a devastatingly blow to me, so many losses in my life already that I could not take one more, not one! But there it was in the call from my brother. So I did what I had to do, packed up my home in Boise, moved my family to Twin Falls and left to join my siblings in seeing mom.

It was so hard to see this feisty, spry woman who looked amazingly good, wear oxygen and be teetherd to a machine. To listen to her tell us her wishes for her death. It was all too much to imagine. And then there was the realization that mom wanted me to come and help her through this. Could I do it? Could I be the rock that mom so needed in her life at that time? Oh I felt utterly unprepared for this task, but my love for her and my need to not have any regrets were enough to make the sacrifice.

So I left my family behind in the hands of my husband and left to become my mom's 24/7 caregiver. I am not going to lie, she was hard, she was difficult and she made it very clear that she wanted things her way. My lesson was to learn to just say - "Yes Mom," and get it done. So many awful things that needed to be done; taking her to the doctor to hear the sad prognosis, going to the mortuary to arrange her funeral and helping her pick a casket, writing her obituary and beginning the process of closing out a life. There are times that I was certain that I could not handle one more moment, I wanted to run, far away and just ignore that this was happening. But I felt the prayers of so many friends, I felt the comfort of my Savior that I could do this, no matter how hard. How could I? Because in the end I loved my mom and she needed me.

Days went by and before my eyes she faltered. Each day was less then the one before, each moment became more precious. Her reliance on me more and more and the visits with Hospice closer and closer. Then one day, it was time to gather the family around and tell her - Goodbye. At first my one brother was so angry that I had caused so much trouble by gathering everyone - mom looked good. She did! She hid the battle that was raging inside her so well. She did not let on to how tired she was, how much energy it took to just move about. She was ever the consummate host. I told him to just wait, tomorrow you will see how much she has changed. Then he knew and we all gathered around mom.

She held on to make sure that loved ones had been talked to and then she nodded at me and said it was time to go. I sat with her, comforting her, swabbing her dry parched mouth and doing everything I could think to keep her comfortable as she fought this battle alone. Even though I was there that was the hardest part, knowing that she would do this alone. I could not go ahead and open the door, and make sure that her pillow was in the chair for her. She would be leaving me behind and doing it all on her own.

The night seemed to drag on and I prayed that soon, oh God, soon please come and take her from this awful battle. I selfishly wanted her to stay but because I loved her I prayed for her to go...... and oh how my heart aches for her.

I would like to think that mom looked out her window and saw that it was a cloudy, grey morning and decided that if she could not see the beautiful blue sky, the red-red rock and black of the mountain, then there was not point in getting our of bed and so she went to where she could see the blue- blue sky and she left us.

The moment she was gone, her home became a stranger to me. What was I supposed to do? For so long I had been running so hard, doing for her, attending to her needs that in the silence I did not know what to do. I am still wondering what I am supposed to do...... What does a child do when they lose their mother? I am only 40 and she is gone. My kids have lost such a great grandma. Many have lost a neighbor, ward member and dear friend and we are all heartbroken.

So I am home, looking at a mound of laundry that I should do, but I can't for my grief. I want to sleep and dream that for a moment she is not gone. But going to call at any moment and give me her advice and we will talk about the kids and mundane tasks of life and she will tell me before she hangs up that she loves me. But then I know, that will never be again.

So today I am numb. Today I am still so full of grief that it hurts to breath and I wonder if I am any good to anyone? But I will hang on and make it one more day, cause that is what she would have wanted for me, to go on one more day and then another and then another, cause that is what we did - celebrated that we had made it to one more day.


Elena said...

Oh Queenie...I can't even imagine. I haven't had to endure the loss of a parent yet. I'm so so sorry. We all know it's a fact of life and everyone must go through it, but it sure stinks and doesn't make anything any more easy. What can I do to help? Phone calls, lunch date, laundry? When is the funeral? Hang in there, my thoughts are with you.

This Mom said...

I am SOOOOOO sorry for your loss. my words can noteven begin to express. I will keep you and yours in my prayers.

Rhonda said...

*sob* I'm so sorry for your loss. What a sacrifice to go and be her caretaker, you will be so blessed for that.

I wish I could give you a real hug but this will have to do,

Melanie said...

Thank you for sharing such tender and poignant moments. This was a very fast and tumultuous journey for you and your family. You are strong and have already done what so many could not. You truly endure. You don't just grit your teeth and get through it, you are better because of your experiences. You are amazing.

My heart aches for you my friend. Your mom sounds like a fantastic woman who raised an incredible girl. Much love to you!

Heather said...

It is so hard to lose a parent. To lose that someone who has loved you since the beginning of your life. Who knows your stories. Who loves your babies as much as you do.

As hard as it is, though, you have to remember that you are a mother, too. And your babies need you. If nothing else helps you to get out of bed in the morning, let that be it. Time truly does ease the pain; for now, just take it one day at a time.

Wendy said...

Beautifully written. My heart is breaking for you. :*( Thanks for sharing such a tender time in your life. I think you are the perfect example of what a hero is.

What a blessing you are to your Mom. What a blessing you are to your family. And we feel blessed to call you "friend".

Take it one day at a time. Hang in there. Sending you hugs. ♥

Kate said...

Sorry to hear of your loss. I am so glad that you went and spent all that time with your mom in the end. She needed you and you needed to be there. Even though it is so hard for the ones left behind, remember that this life is temporary and a much better place awaits. It's not "goodbye", just "so long for now".

Sending you love, hugs and shedding a few tears for your loss.

You have been prayed for and we'll continue to do so.

pawlyandsandy said...

Oh, my heart aches for you! Loosing a mom must be so hard. I've been dreading the day for several years, and my mom's in great health, you just don't want to ever be without your mom. You want to glean more advice from her but you can't talk to her anymore, so frustrating and sad. But it's not the end of seeing her. Yes it hurts to not hear her or see her, but that is NOT permenant. You CAN see her again, I KNOW that to be TRUE! Hang in there and be patient with your grief, just let it out as it comes, it's ok to be sad.

Laurel said...

Hey there SIL...I am very sorry about your mom. I can't even imagine what you are going through. I am so glad you were with her at the end and were able to serve her. I know those days will never be forgotten. Your post really was written beautifully...a testament of the love you have for your mom. Sending my all my love.

Aubrey said...

Hey--I was sad to hear about you losing your mom--even though you knew it was coming. It's something I would never wish on anyone--I htink losing a mother is hard at any age. At least you had a chance to say good-bye.

Screw the laundry--maybe the Drama Queen can take after her dad and uncles and start doing it all. ;) kidding.

Laurel said...

I am heartbroken for you. Losing my mother is a day that I dread. But I hope, that when the time comes, I will be as strong and loyal to her as you were for your mother. Bless you. Your service and love were the very best of gifts.