Saturday, September 17, 2016

A Bittersweet Goodbye

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.


Susan Snooks said...

Your family and your beautiful words are a tribute to your wonderful and treasured mother Di. She will be with you always. And with over ten years since my own mother passed away, I think I can honestly say, we never get over losing our mums. Prayers to you all....

Sarah said...

What a beautiful post and a day that sounds like quite the tribute to your mom. Still thinking of you all. Xx

Leah said...

What a wonderful family. A tribute to your mother that you all were there, even if just by phone. May you find comfort in one another.

mascanlon said...

Such a lovely post Di. I feel so blest to have shared a little in the love overflowing at your Mom's Remembrance Mass. It is so hard even when we know our loved ones are at peace. So hold on to that last hug in your heart for all the days to come.

ES said...

A lovely tribute to your families LOVE X

Debbie said...

How precious....I am so so sorry for your loss, but understand the joy as well at such a time. Thankful for God's perfect care for each one in your family....xo

verykerryberry said...

Truly beautiful Diane x

Susan said...

So sorry to hear about your mum. I think she would be so happy with her family. What a beautiful and touching way for a life to end, safe in the arms of her family. Having raised a family as you described, I'm sure your mum would want you all to focus on living, and remembering the happy times. x

Run Quilt Knit Write said...

Dear Diane, so sorry for your loss and so happy that you have such a wonderful family. Your mom is at peace now and watching over you. Much love, Helen x

Julie said...

So sorry to hear of your loss. You have a beautiful family, and obviously your Mum played a very special part in their lives. Thoughts and prayers with you at this time.

Chookyblue...... said...

So sorry to hear the loss of your mum but great to have a fun celebration.......

Karen said...

So sorry for your loss. I am glad all of you were able to spend the time with your mom. Very special memories. Prayers for all.

Leanne said...

I'm sorry for your loss but so happy for you and your family to have been able to have such a lovely last day and service.

Geri said...

Great description of that love filled day.

Unknown said...

So very sorry for your loss. I know what you are going through as I lost my mom last August unexpectedly. Her hospital stay was similar as yours with her being out and unable to communicate to her talking like normal with us for several hours. I think it was God's gift to our family to have her again for those few hours. After that, it was downhill to the end. Wishing you and your family peace as you deal with your loss.

OPQuilt said...

DI--Sorry about your sad, yet happy day. I know you spent a lot of time taking good care of your Mom, and the narrative you shared was sweet and touching. I send condolences and wish you a lifetime of good memories.

needle and nest said...

May your mother's beautiful soul rest peacefully in the arms of the Lord. What a wonderful blessing your family was given to have been able to be with her in those final hours. God bless you all.

Isisjem said...

So sorry to hear about your mum (she passed on my brothers birthday.) But what a touching blog post. I only hope when it's my time to go I'm surrounded by so much love. xx