Ten years. A decade. A lifetime. In August, 2004 my Mother flew on angel’s wings to Heaven. Her years of frustration, confusion, anger and fighting for her independence were now gone. Gone was her pain.
I was being the selfish one. I didn’t want her to leave. On her final day – I experienced a loss as no other. The nurses gently told us that we needed to give Mom permission to “go”…she was waiting to join my Father – but she had to know her children and family would be OK before she took her last breath. Her half opened eyes followed us as the tears fell down our cheeks. We knew that Mom was aware that we were in the room. I wanted to scream, please don’t leave Mom….not yet. Please stay a little bit longer. That was me being selfish. I didn’t scream. I moaned silently.
Growing up with her and my Father, every day consisted of “I love you”. Every kiss and hug helped shape me into the woman I would grow up to be. I was loved. It was an honor to have my Mom and Dad as my parent’s. When my Dad passed in 1999, I thought my heart would break apart and leave my body. My broken heart was followed by grief and a numb sense of reality that my Father was gone.
Now, I had to experience the loss of another and my last parent. It was almost too much to imagine.
Mom’s mind had been tortured with the nemesis and vile disease of Alzheimer’s. Since the passing of her husband five years ago, the grief and loneliness had sped up her plunge into this darkness. I was her caregiver. I watched unarmed as this disease ravaged her mind and her body. I stood by unable to stop the progress as her personality changed into someone I no longer recognized. I had to take away her independence – her home – her possessions – her car – her driving – in order for her to be safe and most importantly, well taken care of. I took it all away. That weighed heavily on me even though medical professionals had deemed it necessary for her future.
After years of phone calls, I mean up to 15 per night, the phone was silent. Looking back on the days that I almost threw the phone thru the window out of frustration – I begged for one more chance to hear her voice. Silence ensued.
Since I visited Mom several times per week, took her for walks, for coffee and muffins, bringing her to our home for dinner/lunch or a snack, out shopping, visiting friends, and driving around looking in admiration at the Christmas lights – my being was jarred to a sudden stop. The reality that I would never see Mom’s smiling face and outstretched arms again at the convalescent center that had become her home, was devastating.
My Mother was now gone. No more laughter from her beautiful blue eyes. Her arms that held me tightly for 49 years were still beside her on the bed, never to embrace me again. Her perfect lips were silent even though I waited for one more utterance of “I love you”. My beautiful and incredible Mother was at peace, finally.
Mom, I miss you more than you will ever know….I’m sorry I have been selfish.