I Held My Mother As She Passed
by Rita H. Baker
(Forest City, NC)
My Sweet Mama
“She held me as I entered this world and I held her as she left this world.”
My thoughts were scattered as we followed the ambulance to my mother’s final bed of rest on this earth. We entered Hospice early on a Sunday morning just before church was to begin. She was no longer carrying on conversations with us, as she was fast asleep in a coma like state. The end was approaching quickly for her but I just couldn’t accept the fact.
My mother’s illness of septic pneumonia progressed rapidly. I sat by her bed and put cold washcloths on her forehead trying to cool her from the extremely high temperature she had. It had ranged around 103 to 104 for several hours. Medication was not affecting it at all but I still held hope she would recover. All the signs were against it but I didn’t want to see them.
We played music by her bedside. She had always loved hearing my daughter sing so we played songs she had recorded on my computer. My mother would open her eyes when the singing begin but would soon close them again. My mother did have a few last words. As she lay on the comfortable bed provided by Hospice my mother never fully came out of her sleep. At one point my daughter was talking to her and Mama said to her “I love you”. Early, on the day of her death my mother voiced, “I feel like crying”. I may never know why she felt like crying but I am sure it could have been a number of things.
Her life was full of struggles and pain. She lost her mother when she was just six years old. She had endured the loss of two babies in her early 20s. Later she developed paranoid schizophrenia. This horrible mental illness took her opportunity at being the mother to my sister and me that she had always hoped to be. Her battle lasted all of her adult years and included assisted living and many medications. She also endured diabetes, high blood pressure, vision problems, incontinence, and crippling arthritis.
Even though my mother was not the kind of mother who could take me shopping or help me with any of my “girly” issues due to her paranoid schizophrenia, I still loved her and I always wanted her to know that. She loved flowers and that was my love language to her. I took her flowers often and she always loved them. She would have me sit them at the end of her bed. She said that is where she could see them best.
As the time came closer for my mother to leave this earth I found comfort in wrapping my arms around her and holding her close. I wanted her to know that I loved her even to the end. I wanted her last feelings to be the love of her daughter who was holding her as she met Jesus. I was blessed to be with my mother till she graduated on into heaven. I held her as she took her last breath at age 69.
Now I vision her healthy and happy wrapped in the arms of Jesus. She can now hold her two babies that went on before her and tell them how much she loves them and how she missed them on earth. She can dance and swing her babies around as she laughs and is happy. No more pain for my mother.