Call the Family

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Have you ever heard those words?  I remember that day.  December 26, 2007.  I am sure that is not something you soon forget.  My mom was in the hospital again, which wasn’t really a new thing, as she had been before and she always got better and went home.  I was surprised she was even there this time!  She woke up one day, not feeling well and was put in there again.  I just assumed she would come home this time,  just like all the other times.  Even though you know  that the possibility is there, you don’t let your mind go there.

My sister was at my house on Christmas and I remember while we were doing dishes, we discussed going over and visiting our mom, but we were told, she was doing so much better. We decided to wait. So we enjoyed our day.

Then the next morning, the phone rang.  The doctors said to call the family in, so my oldest sister made those calls and we hurried over.  I was not prepared to see the old woman in that hospital bed. I walked in and literally drew my breath in.  There was this frail, old woman in that bed who was supposed to be my mom.  “What are you doing here?” She asked. “I told you we would be over to visit at Christmas time, so we are.”  Not untrue.  Do you think she really knew why suddenly her family was around her? I imagine so.

A day went by  and we stayed, and watched, and waited.  Waiting for your mother to die is an uncomfortable and scary thing.  You know at this time, it is better for her, but selfishly not for you. How do you say good-bye to the person who gave you life? Who took care of you? The one who made you so mad when you were younger and the one you called even when you were an adult and still needed your ‘mommy’.

Some of the family left and some of us stayed after that first day. The hospital was great. They shut the door, they brought us a tray of coffee and other things, they gave us the respect to let us spend this short time left with our mother.

Then it was the morning of Dec 27th.  Some family found their way back, some could not.  We were sitting around her room then, chatting when suddenly my older sister touched my arm and motioned to the bed. At that time I watched my mother take her last breath.  She watched me take my first, and I watched her take her last.

And that was it. We cried, hugged and said good-bye.

I was 49 and an orphan. She was the only parent I ever knew. My father died when I was 4. Sure she remarried, but that is a story for another day!

When you lose your mother it changes a lot. Your place in the world is suddenly different. It is sometimes hard not to pick up the phone to call her, to ask her a question about a recipe, to brag about your children. The normal every day things.

SO, by now you might be wondering how a post about losing your mom belongs on a blog about living your life JOYfully! But it does, because if I learn anything from the trials in my life it is to do just that. I try to remember every single day to find the joy and to live that joyful life! I try to be the best mom I can, although, like most, feeling that I fall short many times. I sometimes think that my mom wasn’t all that happy in life. I hardly remember her smiling and laughing a lot. She was a caretaker in life, being the oldest sibling and then having a large family of mine, yours and ours. She took that ‘job’ pretty seriously, I think.  But for all I know, that IS what was HER joy. Maybe she just didn’t outwardly show it!

My mom and I didn’t often talk, were not all that close.I never heard “I Love You’ until I was diagnosed with cancer.  But she was my mom, and I find that I miss her always. She once told me to do whatever in life makes me happy because that is what mattered. She was right as moms often are!

I hope you are doing just what makes YOU happy. I hope you are living your life JOYfully!

I know I try to every day!

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2 comments

  1. Oh, Joy. I’m sending you a virtual hug. I was present when my mother took her last breath, too. And you’re right about it changing your place in the world. I still think sometimes, “Oh, I need to call Mom!” And then realize there is no mom to call.

  2. I lost my mother on December 27, 1974 when I was just 22 years old. I cannot even count how many times since then I’ve wanted to pick up the phone and talk to her. Losing your mother absolutely changes everything but the perspective of years has made it easier to look back and remember the joyful times and to recognize the things she instilled in me. I’m only sorry my children never knew her. She would have loved being Grandma!

    Thank you for sharing your story and your thoughts, Joy.

    Debi

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