September 7, 2016 will be remembered as one of the happiest and one of the saddest days of my life. My mom had a big heart attack at 6 in the morning. I rushed to the hospital and my sister soon followed. I knew the minute I saw her that she would not be leaving the hospital. We called our brother, husbands, and children. The doctor advised us that anyone who wanted to see mom should make it a point to get to the hospital.
Within hours my husband and #2 son arrived at the hospital. Our brother lives 2000 miles away and was able to secure a flight to get him to California by early evening. My sister's youngest son and his family were able to visit for a few hours.
After my son, the paramedic, saw his Nani, he called his brothers and told them they should get to the hospital now. My other two local boys left work early and got to the hospital in the afternoon. Later that afternoon, my nephew was able to FaceTime my mom and have a very interactive conversation.
Dear friends, both nurses, came to see mom. They were a comfort and even told us what to tell the nurses to do for her. My sister's husband arrived in the evening.
Throughout the afternoon and evening mom went from near unconsciousness, to animated conversations. She never understood what had happened to her nor really knew where she was, but yet at some times, she was so lucid, that she seemed like her normal self.
She suffered a second heart attack just before eight that evening. We asked her to hold on, that Rick (my brother) was on his way.
Mom never woke up long enough to have a conversation after that. She seemed to be very uncomfortable and was in pain.
She died at 11:47 that evening.
Some might be asking what was so good about the day your mom dies?
The fact that almost everyone of her grandchildren was able to get to the hospital to say goodbye, was a blessing.
At one point there were 21 family members in her room.
The hospital staff kept complimenting us on our family and how obvious our love was for our beloved mom and Nani.
Mom was able to FaceTime with Nick in Philadelphia.
My brother's kids were in constant contact all day long. Thank goodness for cell phones.
We each took turns mopping her brow or applying a cold compress to her head.
She had last rights by a priest.
We laughed as a family.
We cried as a family.
We prayed as a family when Brent gave her a beautiful blessing.
She didn't suffer nor linger.
No one wanted to leave, but the younger grandkids were getting very tired.
As everyone trickled out of the hospital, saying their final goodbyes, my brother, daughter-in-law and I were the last ones left in her room. Originally I was going to spend the night in the hospital room, but since Rick was the last to get there, he wanted to stay. Molly and I agreed we would stay until midnight. My mom got really agitated and was in a lot of pain around ten pm. I told the nurse she needed more pain meds. She offered to give her morphine and I agreed it would be best. I knew it would help mom to relax enough to die. I knew there was no hope.
At 11:15 pm. I told Molly we should leave. I felt like my mom was holding on because I was there. We said our final goodbyes. I held on to her so tight. I really knew it would be my last time to hug her. Sure enough, before we even got home my brother called to say she had taken her last breath.
The saddest day.
My brother and son went home the next day only to come back a week later for the memorial mass and celebration of life. Two of Rick's kids(and his daughter-in-law) were able to drive in from Albuquerque.
|My sister, brother and I|
We had 80 family and friends gather in church to celebrate my mom's life. Each of the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren had a part in the mass.
Beautiful flowers were received from family and friends. These are just a few of the gorgeous arrangements that arrived in church. There were many more that were sent to our homes.
Friends and family members traveled as far as 800 miles to attend the memorial service. But, I think my mom would have been most thrilled to know we kept the "Fun" in Funeral (my son used this phrase in his words of remembrance speech). See all those smiling faces in the photo below? That's 19 family members that left the reception to go to my granddaughter's first high school volleyball home game.
My family of virtual friends has been a tremendous support. I have received hundreds of emails, texts, cards and messages on Facebook and Instagram. Each one means so much. Thanks for reading and allowing me to get a bit of closure to mom's last day.