Good Ole Mom
by Lisa Dougan
I never appreciated my Mom. I only found the faults of how I thought she lived her life. I know now that wasn't my place to do. She did the best she knew how to do. Now she's gone and I miss her so much. It's only been two months since she died but it seems like two years.
Of course now I'm thinking of all the things I should have said and didn't. How I should have handled things in the end differently but didn't. She died a week after being diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. I guess I thought we would have more time together after the diagnosis but that didn't happen. She was in the ICU that whole week and on heavy painkillers. She was hallucinating and in and out of consciousness. I just thought she would get well enough to take home. But that didn't happen.
How did I know that last time we left her home to take her to the emergency room that would be the last time she would sleep in her own bed in her familiar surroundings? I just wish we could have taken her back home to die. But that's not what happened.
I swore I wasn't going to leave her side and I didn't. I promised her she wouldn't die alone and she didn't because I was there holding her hand. That's the hardest thing I will ever do in my life! I had seen dead people before but I had never seen anyone die. I was there when she took her last breath. She had only been in hospice for a day. I was sleeping in a recliner by her bedside and the hospice nurse came in and told me her breathing was shallow and she wasn't going to last much longer. God how I appreciate that nurse!
I kissed My Mother's forehead...this is the Mother who was never touchy feely and who ever told me out loud that she loved me. But I knew she did and I wanted her to know I loved her.
When she passed, I waited for some kind of extraordinary event where I might see her soul leave her body but there was none. It was just over.
My Mother had beautiful hands and in the end I was holding her hand and trying to memorize everything about those hands so that I could always see them in my mind. She was dead but her hands still looked as beautiful as they always had.
Now two months later I'm writing this letter. I wish to God I had another chance to say I love you to her before she lapsed into a coma. How I will miss the trips we took to the thrift store together. How I wish I had travelled from WA state to AZ to visit her more often. How I wish the phone would ring and it would be her voice at the end. But that is not to be so.
Instead, I see her in my dreams and I remember the good times and not just the bad. You did a good job raising me Mother and I hope in some way I made you proud. I will miss you until the day I die.
In loving memory of Jo Ann (Hope) Cain.