Beginning August 22nd, which happen to be one year after my Dad’s funeral, my mother went into the hospital with chest pains and trouble breathing. I had been enjoying the evening at a church event and felt so good as we left. I looked at my cell phone as we were driving home and I knew something was wrong.
I had a missed a call from my mother and my nephew, both of which do not call me much. I called my mother’s phone and an EMT answered explaining they were taking her to the hospital. I assured the EMT I would be there in 20 minutes, the amount of time it takes me to drive to town.
Upon arrival to the hospital I met my oldest sister and waited. We waited some more and then some more. They allowed us to go back finally and as I stepped into the ER room I saw something I had not seen before.
My mother in an extremely fragile state.
My mother had endured a lot of medical procedures and hardships in her life. Yet, I had not witnessed her in this form before. I can’t even put it into words. I knew it was serious, as did the rest of the family. We proceeded to visit with the nurse, listen, and try to calm our mother.
Eventually she was transferred to a bigger hospital with a cardiac staff and a heart cath was scheduled. The transfer occurred at 11:30 p.m. and the heart cath around 2:30 am.
This would be the day that we went about 40 hours without sleep. This is the day we thought our mother would not survive. This is the day a lot of praying occurred. This is the day the 3rd floor waiting rooms were not quiet in the middle of the night. This is the day we waited for our brother to arrive and hope he made it in time.
I feel I should give more details to show the example of endurance this tough woman really had. Mother was on a ventilator before going in for the heart cath, where they found two arteries that were blocked 99%, and placed a heart balloon pump in. She coded for 15 minutes on the table. They brought her back. Then she was being cooled down (24 hours) and then warmed back up (10 hours) to her normal temp.
That’s a lot for one person to endure. Our mother was a fighter, and we all knew her wishes if ever in this circumstance. But that doesn’t make it easier. When I walked into the ICU room for the first time after the procedure I could only think the following. “She would so be cussing us out right now if she knew what was going on.”
I witnessed my mother laying flat on her back, which by the way she hadn’t done in a good 15 to 20 years due to a back injury, ventilator in place, about nine IV’s, and machines running things. This was so not what I wanted for my mom.
She was sedated almost all the time except after they warmed her back up. She was coherent only enough on the day before her death to shake her head yes or no and move her arms. I am grateful for this although it was incredibly hard for me to endure seeing her in this state. See, I was able to tell her I love you, hold her hand, wipe some tears, and just be there in her presence. She wasn’t the mother I knew but someone who could still feel her daughter loved her and was there.
My mother passed away on August 26, 2015 at 1:41 a.m. She left this earth with her four children all around her and holding her. Time on earth for my mother was over, she lays asleep now while waiting for resurrection. As I prayed out loud while holding my sibling’s hands and we all held mother’s it brought me peace knowing I was not alone. Our God was there, as He had been the whole time, but he also provided my siblings to travel this new journey with me.
My mother is no longer here but I see extensions of her in each of my siblings and their families, and my own children. I am grateful to not travel this path alone.
Grace is a gift,