I apologize for my radio silence. It’s been a tough month and I am still trying to figure things out.
I am not sure where to start, but I think it’s therapeutic for me to write it out. It has always been the best outlet for me anyway.
Next week will mark one month since my mom passed away. Some days it feels like it was just yesterday. Other days it feels like a lifetime ago. I feel like I’m living in a daze, really. I am forced to get through the day because I have no other choice…
My mom had been sick for a few years now. We have been in and out of the hospital and went to many doctor’s visits. Through it all, my mom was a fighter.
The first stint in the hospital was after my mom threw up blood and was sent to the ER. I got the call at work and it was the scariest phone call I ever had with my sister. I rushed to the hospital and I had never seen my mom in that condition. That was the first time we found out she had a blood disorder. Her blood did not clot like it should in other people. But she was treated and after a couple of weeks, she was back home.
The second stint in the hospital would come a few months later. She was at work and her best friend noticed she was not well. My sister took her to the ER. This time it was a blood infection. She also developed fluid in her lungs and was having trouble breathing. She went into septic shock and was rushed to the ICU. Thankfully, my mom responded to the antibiotics and they drained the fluid from her lungs. She was in the hospital for a month.
She made it home for Thanksgiving. We were so grateful and blessed to have her home finally. We had a great Christmas together and celebrated the New Year. Most recently, we celebrated my sister and brother-in-law’s 15th anniversary. My mom cooked her famous egg rolls and everyone loved them!
I think in hindsight, we all were in denial. We all hoped she would return to full health eventually. We refused to see she was weaker and weaker with each hospital visit. But my mom would not let you know she was. We would all ask her how she was feeling and she would say she’s fine and then start talking about how she missed her grand babies.
She was a strong woman. She was also very stubborn. She loved her family and never wanted anyone to have to worry about her.
She called me on Friday before St. Patrick’s day asking me to take her to Skyler’s (her best friend’s restaurant) to pick up something and then take her to the China market for some odds and ends.
I always loved talking to her in the car going places. We would have our heart to hearts. My two girls were singing in the back seat and my mom would smile.
But that day, when she got in my car, I could see she was having trouble. Earlier in the week she complained her legs were swelling. She was supposed to go to her doctor the following week to get it checked out. I asked her if she still wanted to go and she insisted.
So I took her to the restaurant and to the market. We got back to the house and we had lunch. My dad was out working on his koi pond and my mom was walking around the house.
As I left, I told the girls to give grandma a hug. She walked out to the driveway, like she always did when we left. I gave her a hug and said I love you.
A few hours later my dad called my sister saying he wanted to take mom to the ER. She couldn’t walk because her legs were hurting so much. My sister was in D.C. for a race the next day. She instructed my dad to call the ambulance.
I met him at the hospital. My brother arrived shortly after. When I went back to the room to see mom she was barely conscious. She did respond to us when we talked to her.
It was almost like the last stint. She had another blood infection. And this time she also had a bad infection in her leg. I lifted her hospital gown and it looked so bruised. I asked if she had fallen recently, but it was the infection. She must have been hiding this from us so we wouldn’t worry about her. She hated that. She also hated the hospital. She may have been trying to avoid going back until she couldn’t take it any longer. I felt so badly for her. Nurses and doctors came in and out of the room. They poked and prodded her and I hated it. I would have cried if I was her but she never did. Like I said, she was a strong woman. Seriously the strongest woman I have ever known.
Her blood pressure was dropping fast and they rushed her to the ICU. I sat in the waiting room most of the night. When I finally came to the room to see her, I don’t remember what I said to her. She was having trouble breathing. I told the doctor and the next thing I knew she was intubated and I couldn’t have any more conversations with her.
My dad and I slept in the waiting room. The next morning we went to check on her. She was still not responding to the meds. We went home to take a quick shower and change our clothes. I didn’t sleep the night before so I took a short nap. When I got up, I called my dad and headed back to the hospital. My dad beat me there.
He stopped me on the way to the elevator. He told me he spoke with the nurse and mom was not well. I sat down and I cried. I couldn’t believe it. I still didn’t believe him at that moment. I went up myself to speak with the nurse and doctor. They gave me the same grim news.
In my head and my heart, I was thinking she would respond to the antibiotics, she would get better, we would spend a few weeks in the hospital and she would be coming home. Never in that 24 hours did I think I would be losing my mom.
I broke the news to my brother. My sister was on her way back from D.C. Dad told her to she should come home when he spoke with her on Friday.
When she arrived to the hospital on Saturday, I broke the news to her too. It was all too much. How could this be happening?
The next hours we spent with my mom. We held her hand and kissed her. We cried for her and with her. The doctors told us she was in no pain and that she could still hear us. We each took turns talking to her. Her family and close friends came to be with her.
My mom passed on Sunday, March 16th. She is no longer suffering and the heavens have gained such a great angel.
It’s been a very hard adjustment so far. I just really miss her. I wasn’t prepared to lose my mom so soon in my life. There is no guide instructing you how to move on. But I know my mom wouldn’t want me to fall in some deep depression. I have my dad to take care of, and my family. It has brought my dad, my sister and brother closer together. I am glad we have each other.
I know there won’t be a day I don’t think about her. I know she is in a better place and it would be selfish of me to think otherwise. She would have still been sick if she came home from the hospital this time. It would have been miserable for her and for all of us. I have to take comfort in the fact she is at peace.
I guess that doesn’t make it any easier to know she’s not here. I hear from other people that have lost loved ones it doesn’t get easier. I guess it’s just about getting through each day. I’ve learned it’s okay to cry, to be mad, to feel guilty, to laugh, to let all my emotions out.
Thanks for letting me share a bit of my heart with you today.