Life has taken a big twist for me in the past few months. Mom, who moved to Dayton to live with us two years, died fairly unexpectedly on March 7th. While we knew it could happen at any time, really, and she was going to have to have surgery on her back, which would have been risky, she died before her surgery. My phone rang about 5 a.m. on March 7th and I was totally confused. I didn’t answer it. My Aunt Dott and Uncle Ron were in town and we had been up pretty late and the ringing phone, of an unknown number was just something I could not comprehend. When a voicemail was left, I was still confused and just figured I would listen to it when my alarm went off in an hour or so.
About the time I was deciding to go back to sleep, Alex came screaming into my bedroom. The hospital had called him. He stated that there was a voicemail saying something was wrong with mom. Maggie jumped out of bed and I am pretty sure she was dressed before her feet hit the floor. Before I even got dressed and before we got a hold of the hospital, I ran to mom’s room to wake up Dott and Ron, telling them something was wrong and we needed to go. Alex called the hospital back and handed me the phone. Or maybe he told me the number and I called on my phone. I am not really sure anymore.While the doctor was talking to me, telling me what had happened, I realized what he was saying. I screamed and cried and Maggie collapsed onto the bed.
Everyone was awake by now. Michael wanted to go to school and RJ wanted to stay home. There was no keeping Maggie home … and that is the way it should have been. I called my sister right away, while I was trying to get dressed and while waiting for others to get dressed so we could go. I remember walking around the house, pretty dazed and confused. My brother worked 3rd shift and was at work. I don’t even remember who called my sister-in-law to tell her. We took two cars to the hospital. On the way, I called my dad’s sister, Lynn, and asked her to come down. Now. She did. My dad and stepmom were on a trip in Costa Rica and had only been gone a day, I think. I hated to even tell them about it but I did.
When we got there, most people were very considerate and caring. I think a couple of her nurses even cried with us … she was a very good patient and they all loved her. I tried calling Mary, our minister. Her phone just rang and rang. I didn’t have her partner’s number. I texted with some friends who also know Mary and they tried calling her and Amanda, both. Finally, they got a hold of some other friends and went pounding on their door … at 7:30 in the morning. I needed Mary there.
My friend, Judi, sets her phone in such a way that only her kids and spouse can reach her during certain hours. I know her one daughter has young kids and is up early. I sent her a message on Facebook to have her mom call me. She did and she came right up. I picked up mom’s phone and noticed that her phone had called a good friend, Mari, around 5:20 a.m. I am assuming it was an accident while moving the phone around. Mari had called back and, obviously, didn’t get an answer. I called her to her tell her what happened. She came right up.
There was a note on mom’s door that said, “Please check with the nurses’ station before entering”. I guess the nurse’s aide did not think that applied to her. She came to get the vitals. I just stared at her and I think I said she was a bit too late. She backed out of the room. A while later, the cleaning lady came in. She had been told the room was ready. She was horrified and started crying. I went out into the hallway and we comforted each other … she talked about how much she liked mom and how kind she was. She had been horrified that she was told by her boss to come clean the room. I let her know it was okay and we moved on.
We spent a couple of hours there and they were kind enough to leave mom there so when Rick and Nancy got to town, they would be able to go see her. Just as we were getting ready to go, Mary was saying a blessing over mom, Kelly called. We laid my phone on mom’s chest, all held hands and Kelly got to be there as we bid mom a safe journey and sweet dreams. It was very lovely and I have absolutely no clue what Mary said.
We came back home and word spread in our faith community. Karen brought over some snacks and lunch meats, which was greatly appreciated. Judi stayed with us most of the day. Kelly arrived around 1. Phone calls were made. Plans to make arrangements were made. I was pretty much in a daze. I had sent Tony, my Team Lead at work, a text that morning that just said, “Mom coded. Won’t be there”. Later, he sent a text asking how she was doing … He lost his mom 15 months before I lost mine so he totally knew what I was going through. He told me to take whatever time I needed and to not worry about it. I had been on the new job three weeks. It was nice to not have to worry.
Mom’s memorial service was lovely. Mary said so many nice things … I don’t remember what she said but I know it was exactly what mom would have wanted. Kelly got up and talked about mom and then had us all doing the Hokey Pokey. I am sure the funeral attendants were all a bit confused. But mom would have loved it.
Maggie had a very hard time with it. She hated being home alone … because mom had always been here, in this house, with us. When mom and I would be gone when the kids got home from school, and they didn’t know we were going to be gone, I would get a phone call or a text asking if mom was with me … because if not, she had run away. Maggie had been battling migraines since early February and she has a neurology appointment on the 10th of March … which was when we had the memorial service scheduled. Since she had already had two ER trips and 1 urgent care trip, we kept it. Over the next month, Maggie missed more school and a few of those days, I stayed home with her, too.
Over the past 4 1/2 months, we are settling into a new normal. I have two kids leaving home in less than 6 weeks. One starting her junior year of high school. I miss mom each and every day … and still crying at least once a day. Most of the time, it is a brief tearing up but some days are harder than others.
July 9th would have been her 70th birthday. I took the day off work so Maggie and I could hang out. That we did … three doctor appointments for us. It was a good day, though. We went to a movie and ate popcorn for dinner. Mom would have approved.public agent teen