On June 21st my mom passed away.
A lot had happened since my last post about my mom. In mid April while at the nursing home my mom’s heart stopped. When the nursing staff discovered this they tried CPR and called an ambulance, they were able to get her heart started again, but by that time she had gone at least 30 minutes without oxygen to her brain.
I was the one who found out about the lack of oxygen first, as soon as I heard that I knew, and it was devastating.
She was left with severe brain damage. We were told she would not improve at all. She would not make eye contact, speak, or even be aware of what is going on, and I knew that was true.
She looked so bad the first few days, like she was already deteriorating, it was really hard to see her that way.
Once 4 days passed and all the appropriate tests were done I knew it was time to make a decision, but talking about that with my brother was hard to do. I had to be the one to tell him everything, all the details when it first happened. At first he fell apart, but he kept hoping and believing that the doctors could be wrong, and I envied that. He did not want to even think about it being the end for her, or talk about it, at all, with anyone.
On day 6 Tim (brother) and I had a talk and I told him it was time, we had to take her off the ventilator, and even though he protested, eventually we agreed. Our older sis (Ruth) agreed too.
How I knew it was time…I knew based on the length of time my mom had gone without oxygen before they revived her that she was not going to get any better. It was devastating for me, but I knew she would not want to be kept that way. Unlike when my mom had her stroke I wasn’t scared for her, I knew that she had made her piece with God and came back to the Church, so I felt like it was her time and God was just waiting for her to be ready, and if she was ready she would go, but if she was meant to remain with us she would hang on.
On day 7 my mom was taken off the ventilator. In the room was me, Paul (my husband), Tim, Ruth, Jack (Ruth’s husband), and Russell (my cousin).
I felt so sick to my stomach. Even though Ruth is older I have been the one making the decisions and taking care of things since my moms stroke, and I was the one who really made this final decision. Besides dealing with the fact that I was losing my mom, and would never speak to her again, or see her smile, Tim was the one I was truly worried about, I sort of pushed him into this, he wasn’t ready to let go. I was terrified that if she did die he would blame me, that he would think I killed her because we took her off the vent prematurely. He is 15 months younger than me and was my best friend our entire childhood, and though it may seem not as close now, deep down we are, and I was afraid of losing that too!
My mom sounded pretty bad for a while (but didn’t look as bad as earlier in the week), we felt like she would pass at any moment, but she didn’t. My mom hung on.
It wasn’t until 2 months later that my mom passed away.
I won’t go into the details of those 2 months, but they were hard. I went to see my mom often to brush her hair, make sure she was well taken care of, and talk to her. After a month I started to feel like I already mourned the loss of my mom and that I would be okay once she was gone.
I could not have been more wrong. The finality of her not coming back, knowing I’ll never hear her voice again, ever, has finally hit me, and it’s killing me.
My husband helped me write a mini bio about my mom to give to the Priest for the funeral, and Tim and I also wrote our own things down we wanted him to know about her. I brought copies of them with me so that if the Priest didn’t use all of the info (I knew he wouldn’t, but he did a great job!) I would read them aloud as her eulogy. I did end up ready them, at first I didn’t think I’d get through it, but I did. When I finished and went to sit next to my brother he said “thank you”, that was a sweet moment for me.
Here is what we wrote…
It was really important to my mom to be able to look at the world as if seeing it through the eyes of a 5 year old. She loved all things that brought a smile to someone’s face and she especially expressed that in her decorating style. It was Christmas all year in my mom’s house…well in the living room. There was always a place for princesses and Harry Potter too.
When we were younger there were times when we didn’t have a lot and my mom knew exactly what to do so we wouldn’t notice. We always had just a few treats, and every few months she would come home with caviar (cheap caviar), cream cheese and Ritz cracker’s. That of course was my mom’s way of exposing us to new things, which was really important to her.
My mom was very loving and nurturing and loving with us. All three of us had a special song she sang at night and we still remember her bedtime stories.
My mom really loved her children, she always had a great sense of you we are individually, and because of this she was able to understand our idiosyncrasies and accept them lovingly.
She also accepted our friends as her own, and I know she left an impact on many of their lives.
As we grew older and faced difficult times my mom was always a source of comfort. We never had to discuss anything, she just let us be in her presence and that would make us feel better.
My mom was a very intelligent woman. She always seemed to know the answer to everything. I remember growing up watching Jeopardy she always knew the answers before everyone and she was rarely ever wrong. I will always miss her wisdom, knowledge, and advice.
She was also a very loving person, she was always trying to help others. Even though she didn’t have anything she tried to find a way to help. Growing up with her she was always trying to teach us to see the good in people, and never to be unkind or say unkind things. She instilled this in us in a way that really did stick. She never judged a book by it’s cover, and if you did she would confront you about it, didn’t matter how well she knew you either.
My mom was very cultured, a result of traveling so much as a child with her parents. Her dad was transferred all over for work. When we were kids she exposed us to things like opera, musicals, old movies, all different types of food, etc… Providing us with a appreciation for everything was very important to her. She was always teaching us, even we we didn’t know it, that was one of my favorite things about her. Sometimes our friends would look at us weird, I would just tell them that’s just how she is, and our friends all ended up loving that about her too.