My Mother, My Best Friend

by April

On November 1, 2009 I lost the best friend I had ever known, my mother. She was 67 years old and her death came so unexpectedly. My mother had always had respiratory problems and that was the usual reason for her trips to the doctor, ER, or admission to the hospital.

On October 31, which was a Saturday, my mother came over to my house around 4 pm and was complaining of having trouble breathing since the night before. She told me she had taken 6 breathing treatments and was going to go home to take another and see if she could get some relief. I waited a few minutes and then called to check on her. I could tell just by her voice over the phone that she wasn't getting any better, so I went to her house and talked her into going to the ER. My mom was always so stubborn and hated going to the doctor for anything.

When we got to the ER my mom told the doctor the problems she had been experiencing. I figured we would go through the same tests and procedures as always, breathing treatments, IV steroids, chest xray, and such as that. It just so happened that the doctor ordered cardiac labs and an EKG. I thought it was odd at the time cause my mom had never had any heart problems, but I just figured the doctor was trying to be thorough with his treatment.

The nurse came in and did the EKG and the lab tech drew her blood. In just a few minutes the nurse came back in and said that they needed to move my mother to another room so she could be monitored more closely. She informed me that my mom’s lab work showed her troponin level as being 25. Since I was in my last semester of nursing school, I knew right away that this meant there had been damage to my mothers heart. The nurse went ahead and told my mom that she had had a heart attack and that it probably occurred the night before.

My mom was astonished. She couldn’t believe what she had been told, and kept denying that was the problem. She stated “ there’s no way I’ve had a heart attack, I feel fine, I just can’t breath.” To be honest, I felt the same way my mother did. I just couldn’t believe it, but I kept in mind that she was going to be alright, cause she was still talking and moving around and doing just fine. As always I went ahead and called all my family to inform them that mom was in the ER and that she would soon be transported to another hospital in Nashville which had cardiologists to help her.
My mom was not thrilled at all about having to be flown somewhere, because she had never ridden in a plane before. She even joked and was laughing about it. She asked if I could ride with her and it killed me to tell her that I couldn’t. No one was allowed to ride. I can still remember the look in her tear-filled eyes. I had never seen that look on my moms face before. It was a look of fear, and mom was never scared of anything that I can recall. She was the strongest and most headstrong woman I had ever met.

Some people later told me that they didn’t think it was a fear of her dying but a fear that she knew she was and that me and my son would be all alone without her. I agree with this completely. I had been in school for seven and a half years and was finally in my last semester of nursing school. It had taken me so long to get there, and she was always so worried about me doing good. Even as she was getting ready to be flown out, she told my brother to make sure I was back to school by Monday because I had finals coming up and I couldn’t miss them.

I assured her that was the least of my worries. I honestly thought at the time that she would be flown to St. Thomas Hospital and maybe have to stay for a few weeks and probably have to have surgery to repair her heart. I NEVER for one second thought that I would be losing my mom later that night.

When we arrived at St. Thomas, they already had mama in the cath lab performing the cardiac cath and putting in stents. When the doctor came out, he told us that she would be going to ICU and that she was going to be on a ventilator, but to not be shocked because this was just to help so that my mother wouldn’t have to work so hard to breath. He said that my mother was a very sick woman and that she had quit breathing on the helicopter ride down but was resuscitated and was talking before being taken into the cath lab.

When we arrived up in the ICU, the nurse told us it would be just a while longer before we could see mother, that they were having to work with her some. We all went and waited in the family waiting area. I don’t think I have ever felt so sick and worried as bad as I was that night. The nurse kept coming and telling us my mothers status and kept saying it would be a while longer. Then the nurse came and said they were having to do resuscitation, and that’s right when I knew she wasn’t going to make it.

I jumped up and yelled that she wouldn’t make it and I ran out of the ICU. The chaplain of the hospital came out and talked with me a few minutes and calmed me down and I went back in to the waiting area. Once again, the nurse came back and said she had been stabilized, but then she had coded again. I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It was all like a dream, a horrible dream.

The last time the nurse came out, she brought the doctor with her. Being in the medical field, I knew this was the worst sign. He stated that my mother was not doing well and after being resuscitated each time she codes again only after about 15 minutes, and he believed that we all needed to go in and say our goodbyes, because they couldn’t keep doing this to her.

As I walked back to her room, I just couldn’t believe this was happening. When I entered the room, the woman laying in that bed did not look like my mother. She had tubes and wires coming out everywhere. She had been sedated, wasn’t talking, and had her eyes closed. I immediately looked at her monitor. Her heart rate was 46. We all gathered around her and I grabbed her hand and let her know that me and my son loved her very much. I had always been told that the last sense to go is hearing so I know she heard me, and it meant a lot to me that I got to tell her that. It was just a few minutes later and she was gone.

I am just now to the point that all this seems real to me. For a while I just couldn’t and wouldn’t believe it was real. The death certificate finally came last week and it said that my mother passed away from cardiogenic shock related to myocardial infarction. It finally had a label to her death. I have looked up and researched cardiogenic shock and heart attacks so many times that I probably could be an expert on the topics. I guess I figured it would give me some relief but it hasn’t.

I don’t feel like I will ever have any relief. This past weekend I texted one of my friends and asked if she was mad with me, because I hadn’t heard from her in a while and her response was that I hadn’t been there for her the past few weeks and that I needed to realize that I'm not the only one with problems. I do understand that and I know there are many more people out there worse off than me, but at the same time, I am having so much trouble getting through this.

I feel all alone and don’t know what to do with myself. I don’t want to turn to medication because I do feel like I'm stronger than that and I can make it, but I don’t know how much longer I can go on like this. I feel so lost without my mother. She was the one person that no matter what, was always there for me. She helped me in every way possible. There were not many days that went by that I didn’t talk to or see my mama. I depended on her for everything and now to not have her here is hard.

I am happy to say that I did graduate from RN school with a degree in applied science. I feel like my mom was right there by my side the whole time helping me, or I wouldn’t have made it. It was so sad that she wasn’t there to see me graduate, but I think she was with me in spirit. Every day seems like it gets harder and harder. All I want to do is lay in the bed and sleep. I don’t care about going out or even talking to friends anymore. I don’t want to work or even go out to the grocery store. I hope that in time all this will change and things will get better. I am looking forward to that day.

Comments for My Mother, My Best Friend

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May 29, 2013
We share so much pain
by: Rena

ON May 6th of this year, I also lost my best friend, my partner in crime, the one I could spend on no matter what. My mom and I both had fibromyalgia, and we hurt all the time. It wasn't just a small pain, this is a pain that, on some days you can barely get out of bed. This is also something we shared, because we could never get a dr to help us, to take us seriously. We both suffered every day. She had been sick in February, e coli, is what they said, but while in the hospital, all get BP, heart, and other meds were changed by drs that had NEVER seen her before. After she came home, she could never get her strength back, she never even had what she called " good days", which meant she she could get up and get a shower. But this Sunday, my step dad said she was weak, but refused to let him call an ambulance, He had helped her to the bathroom, walked to the kitchen, by the time he got back, she had tried to get up and had passed out in the floor. He called for an ambulance, but by the time they got there her heart had stopped. They got a faint pulse got her to the hospital, pretty much gave us false hope, moved her to another hospital with a better cardiac ICU. They said if she didn't have a heart attack over night, my interpretation, there may be something they could do, otherwise we wouldn't have left her on the machines so long. The finally told us around 1130am on Monday morn. there was nothing else to do. Those were the worse two days of my life. I still haven't let her go, I can't go to the cemetery, I get physically sick. I wait for her call every morning to get me outta bed. I hope she didn't hurt. And I keep wondering if them changing her meds is why all this happened. She was only 68. We still had alot to do. Alot of trouble to get into.and I'm so glad i always told her i loved her when we got off the phone or she left my house. I would give everything I have to have my Mom back, but I know that's not possible. I just hope I wake up one morning and its been one long horrible nightmare. This is one thing I know i won't deal with for a very long time, and hope the people in my life understand and are supportive, cause this is gonna be a terrible life to live if I don't have support. And yes, I am gonna be selfish, THAT IS MY MOMMY!!! AND I WANT HER BACK. I send my heart felt condolences to you, and i feel all your pain.i wish i knew the words to make it easier, buy i don't, i guess we have to keep them close to our hearts and always in our heads. May God bless you and yours sweet girl...

With heart felt understanding
And Good Bless

Aug 31, 2012
Your loss...
by: Anonymous

I am so sorry for your loss. I too lost my mother unexpectedly. People say: "Oh, time will heal things". I do not believe this to be true. To be honest, I am not sure what heals grief.

I have taken thanatology and "death and dying" classes and read several times Elizabeth Kubler Ross' "On Death and Dying" and to be honest, none of this has provided comfort. I loved my mother more than anything in this world and she was taken from me due to the direct malpractice of doctors.

This is of course very hard to accept and I am certain there is no "fix" to grief. I will say that I think that time dulls the pain of grief.

I cannot believe what I have heard come out of people's mouths since my mother died two and a half years ago. Things like:

1). You need to "get over it".

2). You need to move on.

and to think the outrageousness of this remark:

3). You are free now!

Free from what? The daily companionship, conversation, and love from my mother?

I have found many apparently are so heartless, I wonder if they ever truly loved anyone. It is so obvious they never had the relationship with their parents that I had with mine. I pity people like those I have described.

May you know there are others who, although it is hard to believe have suffered immeasurably from the loss of their precious mother and that you are not alone.

My thoughts and prayers are with you!

Aug 26, 2010
My Heart Goes out to You
by: Paula

April, I lost my mom unexpectedly in June 2009. Like you, it was hard to believe she was gone and it still all seems like a dream. She was in ICU for several days and at the end, there was nothing more the doctors could do as her colon had ruptured and she was too weak for surgery. She couldn't eat or drink, and would only take water from me and one of the nurses through an eye dropper. When the doctors told us she "might" make it another 2-3 weeks, they advised me to go home and rest before coming back to the hospital. Against my better judgment, I did.

I returned to the hospital on Saturday and stayed with her and again, was sent home to rest by family, doctors and hospice. The following morning at 12:30 a.m. the hospital called and told me Mama had passed away. I was shocked, shocked. The hospital was supposed to have called me if there had been ANY indication that there was trouble. I flew back to the hospital and fell to my knees my her bedside begging her to wake up.

The funeral was like a dream to me, as I barely recall preparing for it. Tomorrow would have been her 85th birthday (August 27) and it just breaks my heart.

Like you, it is difficult to go places and do things that I used to do with her or for her. I get by a day at a time, and sometimes that too is so hard to do.

My prayers and thoughts are with you. My email is if you wish to contact me.

Feb 19, 2010
by: Cassie

My Mama died on March 6, 2009. Same diagosis, However, for her it wasn't soon enough. There wasn't anywhere in/on her physical body that didn't hurt, but mostly I know it was her pain deep within that was the worst.

I have a brother and a sister who quit speaking to her years ago unless the almighty dollar was needed/wanted. My Mama was my best friend too. ALWAYS there for me no matter what!

I feel just like you... Lost. Just, lost. I'm without friends or family now because of my loyalty to "stick with her." I am the executor of her "estate", nothing fancy. Just in charge of paying attorneys, attorneys attorneys and of course taxes from previous years. It's all I can do just to make my legal obligations. And I barely do that.

I just don't care though. All I know is that I miss her SO DAMN MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Help us God.

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