Saying goodbye (or, a bad day at Black Rock)

Posted: July 9, 2014 in family, I has a sad, regrets
Mom and I at my 40th birthday party

Mom and I at my 40th birthday party

I write this with a heavy heart.

On Monday, my mother suffered a massive stroke. It was unexpected… she was in great shape and I fully expected her to outlive me. Her blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar were better than mine and , not only that, she had much more willpower. When the drugstore blood pressure machine showed her BP was a little elevated, she managed to pretty much eliminate extra sodium from her diet. She kept up her own house, and while she might have been slowing down a little, she was still able to take care of things.

So, as I was driving home from the gym Monday, I called her, as I normally do. Ever since I had a heart scare a few years ago (turned out to be nothing), she would worry if I didn’t check in. It was 5-10 minutes out of my day, not a problem. If I couldn’t call, I would send a text (she recently learned to text). When she didn’t answer, I assumed that she went to the grocery store or had other errands to run. I tried her cell, but no answer, which again was nothing unusual. A few minutes later, my phone rang. I almost declined the call because I didn’t recognize the number. I answered, and it was my mom’s dentist’s office, letting me know that she had been in for an appointment and collapsed and was being taken to the hospital by ambulance.

That is not what I expected.

I raced home, collected Supportive Partner Woman, called my sister and my aunt and uncle and went heading to the hospital. Thankfully, SPW was in better possession of her faculties and drove, as I was a nervous wreck. I fully expected to show up in the emergency room and find her sitting up, wide awake, wondering what we were all doing fussing over her.

Instead, I found a bad scene… a scene out of my worst nightmares.

Mom had an aneurysm that burst and was showing no brain function. She was being kept alive with a machine doing her breathing for her. Today there was no signs of brain function, either, and she was taken off the ventilator, being declared brain dead. I was able to hold her hand as her heart finally stopped around 25 minutes after being taken off life support.

So many thoughts went crashing through my mind. Many tears were shed. In fact, I’m still not sure I’ve fully accepted this. It all seems so surreal.

I still have my memories, though.

Memories of mom teaching me how to read (Richard Scarry in the house).

Mom showing me around a kitchen.

Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad

1989 band trip to Disney World that the folks went on at the last minute as chaperones. The funny part is that they were in the room next to where we were playing poker and being rowdy and they never mentioned that we were too loud. I was mortified when I found out where their room was. Whoops.

Mom being there with a shoulder to cry on when life went to complete shit.

Mom being a rock when my dad died, even though she was hurting worse than we were.

Going to the drive-in for the Disney movies and popping popcorn and making sure my sister and I had blankets and pillows, in case we fell asleep.

Laughing because she could be so perceptive and yet oblivious at the same time. Case in point, we had a surprise 50th birthday party for her. We instructed my dad to go to a certain entrance of the hall, and I made sure that cars she would recognize were parked on another side of the building. Dad got his signals crossed, parked right next to my car and she never even noticed.

She was the glue that kept our family together and now she’s gone.

It’s not fair.

As I was talking to my uncle last night, I said that the world was a better place for having her in it. We both had a good cry.

I know deep down this is how she would want to go… quickly and painlessly. That doesn’t make it easy on those of us left behind, however. I ask of you to say an extra prayer for Mama T tonight, or, if you’re not the praying kind, to keep her in your thoughts.

I miss her already.

RIP, Mom… 1942-2014

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