It’s been a very long time since I wrote anything. The last year really was horrible and I didn’t have much to share that was positive or good. The best was of course my eldest daughter’s graduation from high school. The rest of 2016 however was a write off. It’s the year that shall not be named in our household. It got progressively worse as the months went by. So much so that by the time Christmas rolled around we didn’t know how much time we had left with my Mother. Her health was rapidly declining and we didn’t know at that point if she would make it to the end of the month. By the last week of December she couldn’t eat much if anything, and drinking water was getting difficult for her.
She made it to January 1st and we were all so very happy. Things were still not improving though and the time I spent with her doubled. I was there day and night for hours on end. I held her hand, listened to prayers with her, sang to her, and did whatever else I could to make her comfortable. By now we all knew it wouldn’t be long. The doctor gave her a cocktail of meds to make her comfortable since she stopped eating all together and the only thing we could do was wet her mouth with a sponge so she didn’t get dry mouth.
On January 6th, 2017 at 10:30 am I received that phone call that forever changed my life. My Mom was gone. She had taken her last breath and passed away peacefully. Where was I? Downstairs in the parking lot across the street from the care facility she was in. My eldest daughter and I were just waiting on street parking, but it was getting late and I was anxious to get upstairs to be with her. We decided to just stay there and pay the insane amount for parking for 2 hours, we planned on adding more later, and just head upstairs. As we were starting to get out of the car the phone call came. I lost my breath and wasn’t willing to believe it. My daughter ran to pay for parking as I frantically made my way upstairs. The head nurse on duty that day stopped me momentarily in the hall before I got to her room. When I did get there I couldn’t believe it. I lost it and broke down. I ran to her side and just held her hand…and cried. I could have been up there when she passed by I didn’t make it. Looking back, I think it’s how she wanted it. It was already hard for me to know that her time was near, I honestly believe she didn’t want to make it harder on me.
When I was able to calm down enough, I made the phone calls that I knew I had to make right away. My husband being first. He needed to get a hold of our youngest daughter and get down to us right away. I knew they would want to say goodbye. I called my Dad and then my uncle, mom’s brother. After that was done I took some time and called the rest of my aunts and uncles. A few cousins as well. By noon my family pretty much took over that entire area. I only left her side long enough to give the elders some alone time with her. Otherwise, I held her hand until someone came to get her. It was so hard for me to believe that she was gone.
No matter how much you prepare yourself, it still hits you like a ton of bricks. My heart broke and a piece of me died that day too. Her funeral was the next day followed by a small gathering of family at one of my aunt and uncle’s house. The days to come I spent with my husband and children. I didn’t want to be around people. I didn’t want to talk to many people either. I just needed time and space. Everything happened so quickly, I didn’t even have much time to mourn.
It’s been three months now since she’s been gone and some days are easier than others. I’m not a complete basket case that has fallen into a deep depression. I miss her so much, but talking to her often helps. I have a beautiful picture of her sitting on the mantel of our fireplace that I can see and smile at. She’s with me everywhere I go and I see her in my children. It definitely hasn’t been easy for any of us and we all feel that emptiness on a daily basis. My mom was truly inspiring and unique though and I know she wouldn’t want us to wallow away in grief. She loved life and tried to enjoy it as much as she could. I promised her we would do the same. We would live life as best as we could and make every day count for something. No matter how little or how big. She is smiling down at us. I can feel it. She is happy and she is no longer suffering. As much as we all miss her and wish she was still here physically, we also know she’s at peace. Being trapped in your body for two and half years isn’t a life. She couldn’t move or talk. She couldn’t do all the things she once loved. We did all that we could to make her life happy and memorable, but I knew. Deep down inside she wasn’t herself anymore. How could she be? ALS took away everything she enjoyed. That’s no life. Living in constant pain, not being able to communicate or move. She’s happy now and that’s all that matters.
There will be some rough times ahead. Our first Mother’s Day without her. My next birthday, the renewal of our wedding vows. Christmas and New Year’s. These are just some of the more emotional days, I know there will be others. As promised though, we are going to do whatever we can to make sure we have a good year and a good life.
I delayed writing this for months. I didn’t know if I could. I still cried while typing this. I needed to do it though. For myself and for her. Please, if you’re reading this, make sure you take the time out to tell the people in your life that you love them. Be there for them as much as you can. Enjoy the time you have with your parents. You never know what tomorrow will bring. Care for them as best as you can. Make amends if you need to. Laugh, smile, and enjoy this journey. There are many diseases out there that are life altering. Diabetes is a slow killer, cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS, and many others. All I can ask of you is that you make a donation to these associations. The money you donate goes a long way towards finding a cure. Thankfully there are cures for many things, but there is no cure for ALS and one needs to be found. It was too late for my Mother, and for many others that have lost their battle to this horrible disease. Let’s give others hope though and let us all work together find a cure.
Even though you’re gone Momma, it will still always be “You and me against the world!”