The last time I sat and talked with my mother was December 27, 2010. She had been living in a nursing home for the last nine months after she broke her hip at my house. She was finally opening the Christmas gifts she had refused to open when I visited her on December 24, before I drove to Roseville to be with my son, Chris and his family.
She had been grumpy on my last two visits, but today she was agreeable. I showed her a card that had come in the mail from the son of one of her high school friends. I read his note to her that explained that his mother had passed away during the summer. My mother took the card and read it to me, saying “Oh, that’s too bad.” This was the last of her life-long friends to die.
As I was leaving, I noticed Mother had a bit of a cough, sounding low in her chest. Two days later, I was awakened at 7:20 a.m. by the nursing home staff telling me that my mother was being sent to the ER because her blood pressure was low, she didn’t want to get up, and she didn’t seem right to them.
By the time I got to the hospital, they had determined she had had a heart attack early that morning, and probably had pneumonia. They had her on an IV trying to stabilize her blood pressure, which was continuing to drop.
I guess she knew I was there but she didn’t say my name. I was told she was not likely to recover. I requested they provide comfort care, but not to prolong her suffering. She was becoming agitated because she wasn’t getting enough oxygen so they gave her some morphine, and after the IV was stopped she passed in about twenty minutes.
I have spent a lot of time trying to understand our relationship while writing my memoir the last few years.
Last week, I watched a YouTube of a song where a family member has died, it’s Christmas, they are grieving, but taking comfort in knowing their loved one is with the Son of God, the Prince of Peace.
I don’t have a picture in my mind of how heaven will look, and I don’t think about it much, although I realize that some day I will go there, too.
As the song went on, I thought about how I had not grieved a lot at her death because she had lived a long life and the last few years she was often confused and probably lonely. On the rare occasions when I think about seeing her again in heaven, I expect she will still be on my case for my short-comings.
But now, listening to that song, it occurs to me that if she is with the Prince of Peace she would be sanctified, and will see me as He sees me. Perhaps this is how healing begins. It’s time.