I Died When My Mom Did
by Deb Fegley
On June 26th, 2013 I got a frantic call from my eldest child. "Something's wrong with Grandma," she screamed into the phone. "Why, what's wrong?" "She is wide awake but she won't look at me or answer me and she's messed herself." "I've called the ambulance. "I'll meet up with you at the hospital then." I suspected a stroke right off and I knew time was important. I wasn't dressed yet, hadn't eaten, so I hurried around and headed up to our little, rural hospital.
I beat the ambulance to the hospital by about 25 minutes. I paced up and down the sidewalk in front of the ambulance entrance and finally it pulled up in front but it just parked. I finally beat on the window and asked them if they had my Mother, Dolores on board. They said they didn't but she was about 5 minutes away. My mind was in a turmoil; a turtle could have made it quicker. Soon after they arrived and unloaded her. I grabbed her hand and walked by her side. I speak loudly, so I was pretty sure, that if she was able to hear, she'd hear me! "Mom, Mom?" My worst fears were confirmed as her head lolled around and she remained unfocused with dolly eyes. This being a term I heard years ago to describe brain damaged person's actions as their head and neck lolle about and the eyes never focus. Her pupils were dilted and it made her eyes look coal black. I knew in my heart she was gone then but still I hoped.
They did a CT scan and showed it to me. It revealed a midline intracranial hemorrhage. One part of her brain had slammed into the other part, actually moving it she had a massive stroke. I am 62 and Mom was a vital, energetic 82 year old sweatheart of a woman. There wasn't anyone that didn't love my Mom. She was a compassionate and caring person. She never judged anyone and she always saw the good in others. I used to ask her how I could be her daughter, I am just the opposite. I am loud and excitable while she was quiet and calm. She sent me to do the dirty work, she couldn't do like yell at neighbors for transgressions on her property. She was sent down to a bigger hospital in Fort Wayne where neurologists could maybe perform surgery but I wasn't given much hope of her even surviving the trip down there.
There was nothing they could do for her so she was placed in the hospital hospice wing. I watched her every breath until June 29th when she took her last one at 5:55 PM. In those four days I grieved, even though she never regaine consciousness, they say hearing is the last sense to go; I was careful what I said to her but I thanked her for all she did for me, I told her I loved her. More than anything I wanted to beg her not to leave me. I saw her on Monday and she was out in the yard yanking and cutting branches out of her snowball tree; dragging branches to the burn pile. It was so hot that day near 90 degrees. She said she was done but my daughter told me she worked until late in the afternoon, until she was red in the face and she was sweating. I talked to her on Tuesday afternoon. She asked what I was doing and I told her I was taking it easy since I had been out earlier picking strawberries for her and I have serious back problems. I wanted to do something for my Mom and she always makes that real difficult. I wanted to paint her kitchen for her and she wanted to know if I had run out of things to paint at my own house; she was referring to my ongoing redecoating/wallpapering/painting of my bedroom (I still haven't finished it). Can't I just do one thing for my Mom? She relented and said I could. I then asked her how she was. She said she was very tired. Well of course she was. She was out cutting branches and dragging them and burning them and she could work circles around any teenager I know. She never said she was having headaches. She never said she was confused. What she said was she was slipping some. Of course she was. She was 82years old!
I told her I wanted her to see my doctor, I didn't like hers. He was flippant and rude. He blew her off. I used to go to him. He was too young and too uncaring. She said she'd go to mine. Take care of yourself and rest she finally said to me to end the conversation. You take care of ourself! I didn't know that those would be my last words to her that I know she heard. I love you Mom. She had her stroke the next morning and the essence of who she was; ended too.
I am desolate. On so many levels; I cannot be comforted. Long time ago my Mother was young and she had dreams and I never even thought about that. I mean, I never thought of her having dreams or of her sacrfices. At one point she carried me in her own body. Never did I ever have that close a relationship with anyone else. I was an embryo, a fetus, a baby, a toddler, a child, a youngster, a teenager, an adult, a mother,and a grandmother, but always I was her daughter. I came to see myself reflected in her eyes. Now, I do not know who I am. It is like I ceased to be when she died. A huge part of who I am, my history ceased to exist when she passed away. How could she be so lively one day and then within a few hours not be, anymore? That fact pains me the most. The lack of warning, the suddeness of her passing. I can almost see her outline when I go over to her house to finish up final details. I feel empty and so alone. I look up at the sky so clear and blue and my mind screams out, "Mom, where are you?" There is no answer, because she no longer exists. She remains in Gods memory awaiting Jesus's voice calling her name to arise in the resurrection after Armaggedon. Mom I hope I will be able to see you again, if I didn't have that hope, I would surely perish!