Saturday, February 11, 2012

Missing Mom

Thursday marked a month since Mom died. Mom died.  I still can’t believe it.  My mom died.  I wanted to post, but I just couldn’t.  I still don’t want to, but it’s time.

The Thursday before she died, Dad, Mom & I met with Dr. P.  For the 4th time, Dr. P explained to mom that she was dying.  She didn’t understand how he could be so sure – she wanted scans.  She wanted to go home.  She hoped he was wrong.  He asked her if she was hoping for a miracle and she said yes.  She said that she believed in Jesus as her Lord and Savior and he asked her if she knew how many times Jesus walked on water.  Just once.  That was all He needed to do to prove His point.  Dr. P carefully explained that Jesus doesn’t perform miracles all the time, because he doesn’t have to in order to make a point.  He explained the 3 miracles he had witnessed in his own life as a doctor.  He prayed with my mom for a miracle.  Then, he prayed for us in case that wasn’t God’s plan.  Mom’s hope exceeded all hope.

For whatever reason, that night she finally understood what was happening for more than 5 minutes.  She talked about who she wanted her pallbearers to be, what she wanted to wear, who should officiate… she told us to take care of each other.  She told us she was sorry she had to leave.  She cried and grieved for us.  She also got her nails done – a gift from her Sunday school class (she had been begging to leave the Hospice House for a little while to get her nails done – God does believe in comic relief).

Friday was a good day.  I’m not sure that she still remembered the conversation from Thursday, but she didn’t talk about it.

On Saturday, Parker & I slept in and when we got to the Hospice House that morning, Mom was sleeping.  I took that as a good sign – she had slept the night before.  I asked dad how she did over night and he said that she had slept, but had been very restless.  Then, he told me her feet were getting cold.  It hit me so hard.  I knew it was coming – I’ve known it was coming.  I still was stunned.  She was awake later in the day, but she was never very lucid.  She was very agitated when she was awake.  Finally, that night, they put her on the morphine pump.

Aunt Kay & I stayed so Dad could take Weston home to sleep.  I don’t think either of us slept at all.  Mom’s breathing was noisy and I lay there counting every second between breaths.  Every time something changed, we asked the nurse if she thought we should call Dad.  She always said, “Not yet.”  Sunday morning around 7, the nurse came in to rotate her and said, “Call him.”  Mom’s body was clammy – overnight, her arms, feet, and legs had been freezing cold, but now her body was clammy.  We called immediately.  Dad, Weston, Parker, Grandma, Aunt Kay, & I all stood around her bed and said goodbye.  It was so hard.  Thirty minutes later, she was still breathing at the same pace.  The day went on and nothing changed.  My best friend, Amanda came and sat with us.  Sunday night, Dad & Weston went home to shower.  Within 30 minutes, the nurse told us to call again.  We did.  We repeated our goodbyes & tears.  Again, she kept breathing.  All of us stayed through the night.

On Monday morning, January 9th, Dr. P came back.  He asked if we had questions.  How much longer?  It’s a dumb question, but how long could we listen to her “death rattle” as they call it… how long could we watch her fight… how long?  He couldn’t hear her heartbeat because of the rattling – congestive heart failure.  He also said that her pupils were dilated, despite the strong pain medicines – a sign that her brain was very swollen.  He said that eventually her brain would swell to the point that her body would stop breathing.  He also said that he didn’t think it would be something the nurses would announce – “Hey, it’s time,” but that it would be something we would just know.  Again, he prayed with us and for us and for her.  Specifically, we prayed for Weston.  I think Mom left us on Saturday night… but her body kept fighting.

Family and friends came.  We talked while we waited.  Then, there was a really long pause in her breathing.  Immediately, I told Parker to go get Dad (he was in the living room area).  Dad heard it and was already walking down the hall.  The nurse came.  We stood around and knew that it was for real this time.  She would breathe a few times and then stop.  Breathe, then stop.  As time passed, the pauses got longer and longer.  Within a couple minutes she was gone.

Amanda, Parker, Grandma, & Aunt Kay packed up her room while Dad, Weston, and I sat in the living room.  We went home and cleaned up – Christmas stuff was all over the dining room.  We met with our pastor that afternoon and with the funeral home that evening.  It was a daze.  Relief, but extreme sadness.  As my mother-in-law called it, I was in a “grace coma.”  When we got home, the house was full of family, friends, and food.  The next day, Aunt Kay and I went to pick out flowers and her outfit.  Wednesday was the funeral.  Beaty sang “Glory to God” – a song that summed up how we felt.  The song I sung and hummed to Mom while she was dying.  The song that I clinged to during those awful days…

Before the world was made
Before you spoke it to be
You were the King of Kings
Yeah you were, yeah you were
And now you`re reigning still
Enthroned above all things
Angels and saints cry out
We join them as we sing

Glory to God, glory to God, glory to God forever

Creator God you gave
Me breath so I could praise
Your great and matchless name
All my days all my days
So let my whole life be
A blazing offering
A life that shouts and sings
The greatness of our King

Take my life and let it be
All for You and for Your glory
Take my life and let it be Yours

I wanted to praise God, because His plan is so perfect.  He was with us every second and knew every move before any of it had happened.  I wanted people to know of His glory in all of it.

I understand why we use the phrase “my heart is broken.”  I feel like my heart is broken.  I understand why we use the phrase “my heart is heavy.”  My chest feels so heavy.  I grieve for our loss.  I miss her SO much.  I miss her for the future events in our lives.  I miss her voice and her touch.  I miss her laugh and her smile.  It literally takes my breath away at times.  I’m only 23 and I’ve become the “matriarch” of our small family.  It doesn’t seem right.  It’s not right.

I want so bad to call her.  I reach for the phone to call her all the time.  I know it is okay to grieve.  I know my emotions are normal.  I don’t think that it’ll ever be easier.

I’m so thankful to have had such a wonderful mom.  She was one of my best friends.  I’m so glad she was at our wedding – something I had prayed for for years.  Looking at the pictures, she was so happy.

It gives me comfort to know she is praising God in His presence.  How joyful she must be now.

Still, I miss her so much.

laura ann


Steven & Kimberly said...

Laura, this post has me in tears. My heart is so, so broken for you. I found out this morning that a dear friend of mine isn't expected to survive today, and if so, not for long after. Her short battle with brain cancer is coming to an end. I'm speechless. Thank you for being real, for sharing your heart. I'm so incredibly sorry for your loss. I can't even begin to imagine what it feels like....

Kim Barrett said...

What a beautiful post, Laura. You and your family have been in our prayers.

The Winglers said...

How courageous to share your story...we are praying for you!