Today is the two week “anniversary” of my mom’s death. It’s absolutely insane for me to be writing that. I never thought I’d be writing it… I thought… I ASSUMED that I’d be too old and would have outgrown this diary by the time it came for my mom to pass away. But, things never happen how you expect, do they?
On 5/13/2015 around 8:07 pm my sweet, caring, precious mother died with Dad and I by her side at home. She was 62 years old. Her birthday was only 1 month earlier. She had been brought home from the hospital for hospice the evening before and I took time off of work and came home the same evening. I arrive around 1-2am though. I slept in the same room with her. She was completely knocked out from the morphine. If she wasn’t knocked out from the morphine she would have been awake and delirious and in a lot of pain, so although I would have preferred her to be conscious for my own selfish reasons, I am still thankful that she was knocked out during her last day on Earth. We had several friends and neighbors come by that day. Don and Danny had only just left maybe 10 minutes earlier. Dad and I sat down in the bedroom and began watching Two and a Half Men and ate some pizza that Danny had brought over for us. Dad then received a phone call and stepped out into the living room. That’s when I became conscious that Mom’s breathing was different. It was shorter, yet almost gasping, whereas her breathing had been fairly steady all day. I went over to her to investigate and I saw that her eyes were opened. I knew something was wrong so I called Dad in from the living room to come look. The more I looked at her, the more I thought that we needed to call the nurse to see what we should do. I stroked her hair and face and kept talking to her… I just felt like THIS was it. So I told her it was ok to leave us and that Dad and I would be alright. Her face barely changed but I saw her mouth curve downward like she does when she cries. And her eyes were tearing up. I got a tissue to blot the tears and continued stroking her hair and telling her it’s ok, it’s ok. Then she stopped breathing…. maybe 30 seconds later there was a startling gasp. For a second, my heart leaped for joy. She wasn’t dead! But, then she stopped breathing again…. and maybe 40 seconds later there was another small gasp… and that was it. Dad got a stethoscope and checked for her heartbeat and couldn’t find it. We were both kind of panicking. He was fumbling around trying to call the hospice people and still trying to find her heartbeat. And I was just getting impatient with him, yelling at him to call the hospice people right away. For a brief moment or two I thought we might be able to bring her back. But, quickly reality set in. She was in such poor condition, her organs had failed. There would be nothing they could do for her. I closed her eyelids with my fingers and pulled the covers up to tuck her in tight like she used to tuck me in for bed when I was a kid.
It still doesn’t seem real. It seems like it was someone else that died in that room that night. She had become so malnourished over the two weeks prior that she was nearly unrecognizable. Her skin was yellow and her hair was so thin she was nearly bald. Yet I thought some miracle would happen and she’d recover somehow. Until the weekend before she died when I came up to see her in the hospital. She was already delirious at that point and all she could say was “help me! halp halp!”. She would tug at her clothes and say “ow ow ow” if anyone touched her legs. She didn’t seem to notice or care much that I was there. She was in so much pain and would eventually start to yell so loud that they had to sedate her. When I saw her like that, it was just like a boulder fell on me. It was so painful to see her in that much pain and to be so helpless to stop it. I knew at that point there wouldn’t be any coming back or recovering for her. I felt helpless and I just wanted the whole world to go away. People would come in to visit her and they kept saying “why can’t the doctors do this?”, “why can’t the doctors do that?” “oh we’ll pray for her and she’ll recover, just keep the faith”. But, I knew there was no point in doing that at that point. She was too far gone… too sick.
I keep thinking about the last conversation I had with her maybe 1 and 1/2 months ago. I was talking to Dad about the issues I’m having with my sewer line in the new house and Mom overheard and wanted to jump on and tell me to not put ANYTHING down the drain – no food, no hair, no cooking oil, nothing but pure liquid. lol. And THAT was the last conversation I had with her. I just wish I had known it would be the last… I would’ve made it better. Yes, I did talk to her once more about 2 weeks later on the phone again. But, she was already starting to withdraw from the world at that time. She would only respond to my questions with “yeah” or “no” and sounded very out of it and tired. It really didn’t classify as a conversation.
I keep looking at my phone to read the last text message I received from her on my birthday… “Hello my Jenny, just want to wish you a happy happy birthday and many more! Love you. Mom”
This evening is going to be difficult… especially at 8:07.
The next day Aunt Mary arrived and we were going through some of the things in the bedroom and we came across a birthday card that she had bought for me, but forgot to give me. It’s hard to look at, but I read it almost everyday.
I’ve lost both of my grandparents and suffered some various other emotional losses so pain like this isn’t brand new to me. However, I’m still at a loss. I feel like my life is stunted/stopping. If I think about it too long or hard, I feel panicky knowing that there’s no way for me to reach her right now no matter how bad I might want to. If I want to see her face again, I have to look at a picture. I can’t get anymore hugs from her or hear her voice anymore. It’s shocking and a part of me still doesn’t believe that it’s real.