And Suddenly She Was Gone
My mom died five days after my 46th birthday in January last year. She hadn't been sick until that last week, she certainly wasn't dying. I thought she had the flu and took her to the hospital. She was diagnosed with leukemia and died two days later. We had been waiting for a hospital bed to open up in an oncology hospital so she could begin treatment. I didn't know she was dying, I was just waiting for that bed, looking to the future, always the future. Maybe if I would have stopped and just lived in the moment I would have seen what was happening. But I'm a fighter, and I was preparing to battle the cancer.
Luckily I listened to my intuition the night she died and decided to sleep in her hospital room with her -- I didn't trust the nurse on duty. I remember being so completely exhausted after being in the hospital a couple of days and I SO wanted to go home to my bed. She kept taking her oxygen mask off and I was supposed to make sure she kept it on. The last time she ripped it off her face, I just got so mad. I was beyond spent, and I chastised her. I think that's the last time we communicated. After that we gave her some calming drugs and I fell asleep using two hard chairs as a bed. A couple hours later the machines started screaming and nurses were running in and lights were flashing...and mom was dying. The doctors got her heart going twice throughout the night but we finally had to let her go at 4:30 in the morning.
But even sleeping by her bedside, I never got to say goodbye. That will haunt me forever. I wish, I wish, I wish I'd just told her one more time that I loved her. I wish, I wish, I wish I could have told her what a wonderful mother she was. She and I were a pair, she was my wingman, we had adventures together and drank champagne on Sundays at the beach. I spoke to her on the phone several times a day.
Tomorrow I will be completing a job that she'd seen me begin and struggle with for eight years. It is a big accomplishment. And the face that has always been there won't be there to smile celebrate with me. The hole she's left in my life is so huge, it's like I lost a part of myself when she died. I know the hurt will ease with time, but the sun will always be a bit less bright and life a bit less magical without my mom by my side.