Most everyone knows already that my siblings and I lost our mama on May 22nd. It was tough....really tough....I can't answer for the others, but for me it was hard because altho I was expecting it, and have been for a couple of years, I wasn't expecting it to be the way it was.
The story from my point of view:
Shirley, my oldest sis, called me on Mother's Day. She told me that Mama had to be taken to the hospital the evening before because she was having trouble breathing. A CT scan reflected masses in her brain, liver, and lungs. Cancer.
Mom had gone thru surgery for uterine cancer three years ago. They thought they had it all, and started her on chemo. She didn't tolerate the chemo well, developing problems with her hands and feet because of it, so they discontinued. All of this time, the cancer has been on it's way back with a vengence. It probably didn't help that she smoked more than a pack a day.
I called the next day and talked to my brother Gordon. He had just talked to the doctor and had been told that Mama had maybe 6 months to a year. That didn't sound right, but I relaxed a bit thinking that I'd have some time to plan a trip to see her before things got bad. Then the Hospice nurse told my sister that 3 months would be a long time for her to last. Ah....plans needed to be stepped up a bit, but still plenty of time. Daily calls to my sister, and one attempt to phone Mama told me that I didn't even have that much time. When I tried to call Mom, she had to be told several times to put the phone to her ear, and then she couldn't speak to me. Not even a week had passed and I knew I had to go...NOW. That was on Saturday, on Sunday I was on a plane winging my way to San Diego. Tom was kind enough to pick me up at the airport and took me straight to Mama. When I woke her up, she brightened up, smiled and said, "Hi!". I gave her a kiss on her forhead and asked her if she was ready to go dancing with me... Mom loved to dance. "Huh-uh" was her reply, complete with a little frown, and she went back to sleep. I sat with her for awhile,. and then let the others talk me into going to Shirley's and getting some rest. I felt fairly comfortable with going.
The next morning, Tom and I went into her room and woke her up. She didn't know me. She knew Tom, and responded to his "I love you Mom" in kind. It was a long day. Gordon came and got me for lunch at his house with he and Kelley, and by that time we couldn't wake her up. After lunch,he went back to work and I stayed and visited with Kelley for awhile, but then got uncomfortable and wanted to go back to the hospice. I sat with Mama and Shirley for some time...William called and I put the phone to her ear to let him tell her that he loved her and goodbye. Shirley and I knew that the end was close and we encouraged Mama to let go and go to Daddy, Grandpa, and Nonnie. Brother Corky called and once again I put the phone to her ear while he told her he loved her and told her that it was ok to go, that Daddy was waiting for her.
I will forever be angry with myself. I allowed myself to be talked into going home to Tom and Shirley's for the night. Just a couple of hours after we left her, at 11:45 pm, Mama looked to the light and followed it. I will never forgive myself for not staying with her...especially since I *knew* it would be that night. Water under the bridge now....and a hard lesson learned.
Her funeral was lovely. Beautiful flowers, and we used the urn that we had for Dad's ashes. The funeral director said that there is always a bit of ash residue left in the urns, and this way they'd be together once more. We liked that. Music selection was easy for me. I chose her favorite hymns, Rock of Ages and Amazing Grace. The third song was Leanne Womack's "I Hope You Dance". I just felt like it would fit Mama's wishes for those she left behind. She really did love to dance....it's how she met Dad! :)
She left me her wedding ring. The one that Dad bought for their 30th anniversary. I wear it. I need to have it sized, it's just a hair too big for my ring finger, but once it's sized I know it will be on my hand often, if not always. It means the world to me that she left it to me.
It's been two weeks on Monday that she's been gone. It already seems like forever, and yet it seems like yesterday. I still have her phone number programed into my phone. It came up the other day when I was going to dial Shirley. Kind of a shock, but I left it in there. I guess I'm just not ready to totally let go...
I miss her!