I went to see her in the hospital, knowing quite well it would probably be the last time I spoke with her. I am sure she also knew this would be it, and with her last breath she said “I won’t see Genevieve get married. I replied, I know mom.” She fell asleep from the painkillers the nurse had given her. She lasted three days, never waking up again, my sister was with her when she passed.
It was a year before when I found out that my mother was ill. Being the oldest, my father had taken me aside and told me that mom had only a year to live, and oh don’t tell anyone. Don’t tell anyone? OMG, he’s got to be kidding, not tell anyone? How in the hell am I suppose to keep this information to myself. I mulled for days, then told my sister, she didn’t believe me but the information was correct. Mom had stage 4 Chronic Heart Disease. She was one of the women who had no signs the disease was slowly eating away at her heart. There was nothing anyone could do.
I don’t remember all that happened in that last year, but it started off with mom ending up in the intensive care ward, she had sepsis, meningitis, along with other things. We were asked what to do if she needed life saving measures, my father wouldn’t make the decision, it was left to us kids. Mom was now in a coma, and stayed that way for a few months. I visited everyday, brought my three kids, all taking turns talking to her. Funny thing is, she didn’t hear a word of it, because when she woke up, I asked her and all she remembered was the last words the doctor said “we’re losing her.” I didn’t tell my kids.
*Note: Mom has been gone quite a few years, but yet writing this brings tears to my eyes, it is hard to continue.
Mom finally left intensive care. When she first entered the hospital, my sister had started a log book, detailing everything the doctors had said. I am not sure why she did this or why she kept it on my mother’s bedside table, because mom found it and that’s how she found out she had a year to live. This was followed by days of more crying. Mom eventually went home but was no longer herself, the heart disease was taking it’s toll on her. She was no longer able to drive my kids to school, soccer practice, and spent most of her time in bed. My dad started filling in for my mom. He was the new grandma, driving my kids to and from school. It was probably best that dad started doing all that mom used to do, but it was still hard. Mom had always taken my son to his soccer practice and even today, if we drive down that street, he remembers, and will say grandma drove me here. He is seventeen now, and that was more than ten years ago.
The first time my kids found out that mom had died, she hadn’t. My dad’s mom phoned us and said she had died but was wrong. My kids completely lost it. We found our oldest hiding in her room crying. When mom did pass a few weeks later, my eldest didn’t cry, didn’t cry at her funeral, all the tears were buried deep, very deep.
Life did not get better for the next few years. Six months after my mother’s death, her mom died (that devastated me), then a year later, my mom’s brother died, again we fell apart. These were people we spent all our time with. Then, to make matters worse, my father got sick. Again, in and out of hospital until he moved in with us for his last six months of life (that’s a whole other blog story). Mom had died just before my eldest graduated from grade school, dad died just before her high school graduation. Graduation does not hold good memories for her.
My children do have good memories of their grandparents, though years later we really can’t talk about them.
Correction: I have been corrected by middle child, Grandpa attended the eldest graduation, he died just before middle child’s grad. Middle child spent a lot of time with Grandpa, when she was a toddler she was always outside helping him with his vegetable garden. He had a lot of patience with her, teaching her how to correctly plant plants and waiting for her little hands to gather the dirt around the roots, the roots of life.