Eight days after posting my last entry - my mom went home to heaven. Here are some things that are forever etched into my memory and my heart about those last days. ( This will be long- grab a cup of coffee . )
The day we brought mom home and the hospice nurse came to visit with us to tell us what we would expect to see as mom started her final journey home. She got there in the evening on Thursday night . There were little things that told us she knew mom was almost there. We were going over mom's medicine and when we came to the synthroid , which she had taken forever since her hysterectomy, the nurse said they dont provide that. Then she looked in the bottle and said " I think we'll be ok." It took a while to let what she meant soak in. I resisted the urge to count the pills to see how many pills/ slash days we had left with mom.
Keith and I decided to take time off work to be with mom. The doctor had told me a " few " weeks. Keith had went into work on Thursday. Thursday morning mom woke up and said " I'm ready" I said " ready for what mom?" She replied " To go see Jesus." I asked mom was she sure and was there anything that I needed to take care of . She said no. I asked her should I get Keith ? She said " yes, Keith needs to be here with us." Pam called Keith and he got on his way home.
Mom held on for a few more days and throughout the days there were a lot of things that she said that made us linger on every word.
" Turn him around , I cant see him" who mom? " my sheep, I cant see his face."
" Did you see those flowers? They were beautiful . They were right there."
" They called and said they are ready." Who mom? " The funeral home. Are you ready to go? They said they are ready for me."
One night while I was with mom alone my friend Beth came over to visit. I went in to check on mom and I said " Mom your feet are so swollen." She replied not for long. I said " What do you mean mom?" She said Isnt that what they told you that I wont be here much longer? WHAT DO YOU SAY? I said " yes , mom.. they did. How do you feel about that? " She said she was ready. I asked her was there anything I could do. She said no. I said " Do you think dad is there waiting on you?" She smiled and said yes.
I asked mom what she thought Heaven would be like. She said " It will be beautiful. No more sorrow no more pain.." I thought she was going to start singing.
I asked mom was she scared and she said no. Facing death but so sure of where she is going she had no fear at all.
My aunt , moms sister, came up to help us take care of her and to say goodbye. She was a huge help. One time as I walked out of the room she said mom said " Goodbye Deb, I love you. See you in Heaven."
Once we were all in moms room talking to her and telling her if she was hanging on for us that we would be ok... dont worry. As we cried, we heard a car pull up. Great timing , I think not, who will leave and go to the door? Randy did. It was Steve, our pastor . He said he was just in the neighborhood and felt the need to stop. He did. He prayed with us. What a comfort. What a reassurance that God was there, with us Great timing ? Yes.
Mom's nurse was sent from God. I think she was specially chosen.
The first day I met Genia she walked to my moms bedside and said " Ms Betty, I told you I was going to ask you this. Is it well with your soul?" My mom smiled and said " It is."
Genia said she felt she was there to be a vessel. She said she felt moms job on earth was not finished and she was there to help her do whatever it was she needed done. As she did procedures we could hear her singing . Later we found out that she prays for her patient and that is one of the ways she does it - through music.
Genia said that mom had touched her heart in such a short time.
Genia had touched ours.
When everyone thought that mom would have been gone Genia said " How much time do you spend together?" My brother said who? Me and my mom? She said " No, you and your sister." Keith explained not a lot that we both have very busy lives. Genia said " Wouldnt it be just like a mom to hang on a little longer to have you spend time together and remember how important it is?" Every Friday since then Keith has been at my house , just to check in. He calls. Mom would be proud that we are finding the time to reconnect.
In the last days Keith and I rarely left moms side. We hung on every word she said Until --- Genia told us something . She said she believes that when believers entered the gates of Heaven that the streets are lined with loved ones that had went before. Those people are telling her what a difference she made in their life and recounting all her good deeds. So, everything mom said might not be meant for us.
Genia was a blessing.
Keith, Pam, Randy and I spent moms last days spending time with her and looking through photo albums and talking. We started planning her funeral. She had requested two songs. I went to pick out her casket and Keith took care of the business end. We started to not feel like we had to be at her bedside every minute. By this time she had slipped into a coma . On Thursday evening all of us were around her bed talking and knew the time was close. One by one we all walked out . At 6:50 I walked into her room and waited for her to catch her breath. Many times she would have apnea for 30- 45 seconds at a time, which felt forever. She never did. As I called Keith and Pam back into the room we checked her pulse and then her blood pressure. As " Sheltered in the Arms of God" played on the CD player in her room, she entered the gates of Heaven.
I am sure my dad was standing there saying " what took you so long Betty?"
We did all the things we had been taught to do. Hospice arrived and we went outside. After they prepared mom and left with her we all sat outside on her patio.
A member of moms class had brought supper at 5:00. We had not eatten. The four of us took time together to have a meal as a family at moms. I am guessing for the last time. Mom and dad would have liked that.
Since then we have found notes from mom.
How she feeds the dog.
How to clean the silver.
and even a hand written poem she copied and tucked in her cookbooks called Dont Grieve for Me.
What a mom. Faithful in life. Faithful in Death. An example from beginning to end.
Thanks mom, we miss you .