I knew all my life that one day one of my parents would die. I took it for granted for so long. They were healthy, vibrant and full of life.
As they got older, they slowed down a bit. Didn’t take as many long walks, went to bed earlier. Maybe took a nap in the afternoon. Illnesses were popping up but were kept at bay thanks to operations, radiation and medicine.
But the older they are getting, more and more health issues arrive. My mom had been relatively well. She had COPD and just had her gall bladder removed. She was getting her strength back. My husband and I went to visit my parents just a few weeks ago and had a great time. We came back to Texas on Saturday, Mom had a massive heart attack on the following Tuesday. At first the doctors said she would survive it, but her body wasn’t fighting anymore. She was weak. I got a call on the following Sunday that we need to come home. My sister and I rushed to her side. My brother and Dad had been there with her. When we arrived, she alert and cracking jokes. But fragile and weak.
We met with the doctor and he told us he didn’t get a chance to see his mom before she passed and he wanted to make sure we got to see ours. The doctor had her on life supporting medicine. My sister and I spent a magical night with her. We all stayed up all night. My mom would sleep off and on. While she did, she would talk to people who had gone one before her. Saying “you look so beautiful” and “I love you”. It filled my heart with so much love. My sister and I were not afraid. Seeing my strong, determined, ever moving mom hooked up to all the tubes and breathing devices was awful, but that was what was keeping her alive. I got private time with her, she told me how she looked forward to my afternoon phone calls as I drove home from work. She always loved that I would send her flowers on May Day and the little cards I gave her cheered her up. That she is proud of my art and to go full speed with it. That I should stay graceful and dignified. But I needed to find my voice. She told me she will find me when I needed her. She always told me that when she died to look for her on the tip of the moon, that she would be there waving at me! I really didn’t realize the little things that I did for her meant so much to her. Now I am so glad I did. The last thing I gave her was a pottery piece I had made that had a wing and FLY stamped on it. I hope it gave her strength to Fly with the angels! I haven’t told anyone everything she told me, she asked me not to, but I will fulfill her wishes. They are simple tasks, but hard to achieve. Mom and I had a good relationship. I could ask her or tell her anything and she could do the same. She told me on several occasions that I was her rock…..and she was mine. She passed peacefully surrounded by the family she loved. She died quickly, but as she did, her arm reached up to the sky like she was taking someone’s hand. I think that it was Jesus taking her home, where she is no longer in pain and with the family in heaven she loves so much. I know she is flying and running with strong legs and lungs. Her heart is healed and full of love. She is perfect.
My mom and dad had been married over 61 years. They have known each other for 75. Growing up in the same small town, they played together as children, became dance partners at social events. Watched each other play semi professional sports. Dad played baseball and Mom, basketball.
Mom and dad had the same friends. One night as a group of friends were on their way to a dance. My mom, who was sitting in the front seat with her friend Richard, jumped into the back seat as my dad went to get his friend Betty at her door. When Dad and Betty returned, mom said…I want him. Pointing to my dad, Dad got in the back seat with mom…..The rest is history.
My mom wasn’t just a housewife and mother. She started her own craft company later in life. Mom made amazing dolls, clothing and handbags. She would set up at the Country living Shows in Atlanta and other prestigious shows. She loved that part of her life. Mom never meet a stranger, always talking to someone. After she closed her shop, she sent me some of her dolls. I will treasure them forever. But closing her shop didn’t stop her from creating, she took up painting and basket weaving. Mom would knit hats every winter for the homeless shelter and serve dinners to the less fortunate…
My Dad will be ok. He only loved one women his whole life. He wanted mom to be able to stay home and raise their children. He worked so very hard to do just that. My dad is surrounded my so much love. His family and friends are so supportive and loving. He will continue his work as a part time electrician (at 82!), play his banjo and walk their little dog Sophie around the lake. I know it will be too quiet at their home…not enough chatter and no one to fix coffee for. But he loved mom so very much and never left her side. Dad’s heart is full and it is grateful.
My mom taught me to be strong, to stand as straight as the next guy. To never compromise my values, convictions and beliefs. To follow my heart, and believe in myself when no one else does. Not to care what others think of me, that I am my own person who she taught to be true. To be kind and look people in the eye. She loved nature. We would walk in the woods and she would go up and hug a tree just to feel the energy. She taught me how to plant flowers and a garden. To feed the birds and lie down in a green field and watch the clouds. Make wreaths out of things we would find outside. To enjoy a good cup of coffee. Most importantly, she encourage and taught me to love art, music, theater and books. And to never stop learning.
I will miss my daily phone calls to her. I will miss her laughter and her humor. I will miss her bright blue eyes and calling me Samantha (my nickname only she would call me.) I will miss sending her pictures of what I am doing, pictures of my grandkids, cows and animals. She always look forward to seeing my first toad of the season and what I had planted in my garden. I will miss her telling me what to do! She said she always had to push me, but I think I have found my legs and my voice.
I could keep writing about her. Mom is in heaven looking down on us. Knowing she is with Jesus and all her family and friends that have passed on before gives me great peace.
I will keep my promises Mom…. I will be seeing you on the tip of the moon!