Today my mother passed at 9:14am. Four weeks ago, my mother went to the hospital for a back problem. Something she has done for years due to an injury when she was a waitress many years ago. This time was different, she woke up and couldn’t walk at all. My father called the ambulance and she was sent to the ER. It wasn’t long before she was scanned and put through an MRI, then the devastating news emerged. Mom was diagnosed with a broken back, stage 4 cancer in her spine, lungs, liver and her brain. The doctor gave her a 6-8 week prognoses, we were all shocked.
My mother truly was an amazing woman, the ultimate caregiver to everyone around here. I am very sad and angry that I lost my mother at the young age of 71, I had so many plans. I am however, happy for mom, she did not suffer for a long period. The servant to all of us is now our guardian angel, servicing us in ways we can only imagine. Knowing my mother is watching over me gives me the strength to carry on and make the best out of this short life. I am mourning, and I have cried, but when I think of all the thing’s my mother gave me, what she has done for me, what she has taught me, I recognize I am who I am because of her. I have seen the world because my mother filled my head with fantasies of far off lands when I was young. Mom loved to travel. She loved Chicago, I always complained about going to Chicago and my mom always remembered how great it was and gave me tips on where to go and where to eat. She loved hearing my travel stories and always picked up when I called, no matter where she was. Mom was a strong woman, she returned dinners at restaurants that weren’t cooked just right, drinks with not enough stolis vodka, she said how she felt and everyone knew she would be straight with them. Mom was never short of voicing her opinion but in the end she accepted the choices we all made whether we took her advice or not and she loved us none the less.
I have spent the last week and a half with mom, first in the hospital then at the Abraham House in Rome. While she had minor ups and downs the radiation was not good and her back prevented her from moving. I sat with Mom the night before she died, I was to fly out the next day for my own medical tests I had to take in Tampa on Thursday. I wanted to spend as much time as I could with her. Once she got the Benadryl and Melatonin around 10pm she was sound asleep and she began to snore a little bit. The snoring subsided and Mom began to mumble. Although it wasn’t mumbling at all, she was saying things, things I recognized in her beautiful voice, in her tone, and her special rhythm. I started to write some of them down. If you know my mother you have heard these before:
- Does anyone need anything?
- Are you ok?
- I love you all
- Oh well, what are you going to do?
The next day I woke at Dads house, after getting in shortly passed 1am that morning, to texts from my sister and brothers saying Moms breathing had changed rapidly, it was just before 8am. Telling Dad, we rushed out of the house and drove to Rome. We showed up to a room where all of my siblings, my mothers sisters and Aunt Jeanne standing around Mom. We walked into the room and the look of death was on my mothers face. I saw Mom take one breath, I approached her, kissed her on the forehead and said softly “Dad and I are here Mom, we are all here, you can go now”. I stood up and my mother took one last breath left us, it was 9:14am.
For a week the weather had been horrible, cloudy, raining, cold. We had a little warm spell but classic upstate NY the clouds prevailed just about every day. Not on January 14th though. Barely a cloud in the sky from the time I woke, the day was bright, and beautiful – just like mom. Our core, our glue, and our matriarch has left us.
I love you Mom, you were an amazing gift to me and I will always cherish the amazing life we had together.