Just 3 weeks... finally realizing it's true.
I'm so glad I looked for this forum today! I'm a constant user of the Florida Gardening Forum and my forum buddies there have been very supportive. But as I was overwhelmed with sadness today, I realized I needed to talk about my mother's passing. Normally, for something that serious, I would have called... my mother. But now she's not there and I feel such a huge hole in my life.
I started out here reading many of the other posts and as the tears came for your losses, I began to weep for my own loss, too. Other than the day of Mom's death and a few moments since then while I was going through her papers, I haven't cried much. Until today. It's been very good for me and I thank you all for sharing your stories. My eyes are swollen and red but I'm actually feeling some peace right now. I think the next cry will come easier and that's a good thing too.
My mother was 89 and in apparently great health for her age. She was bright and spunky until the end. But she was tired, she said, and ready to be done. We didn't want to hear that, of course. Even the other resisdents at her retirement home were shocked at her passing. They said she was the one who kept them all going and was always there to comfort those who lost spouses.
A life-long baseball fan, when people would ask her how she was doing, she would smile and say "I've rounded 3rd and I'm sliding into home". When her doctor told her she could live to be 98, she said "God wouldn't do that to me!". She knew.
Mom fell and fractured her hip on the 7th of February. The surgery went well, but by Feb 16 she was gone. The cause of death was listed as pneumonia but the family knows that she just decided it was time. She had a living will and as soon as she came out of surgery she started insisting we comply with her wishes. (She tossed my husband out of her hospital room when he tried to put her oxygen mask back on her. Did I mention that she was spunky?) We moved her into a Hospice and she had a peaceful, dignified and quiet death.
I'm certain that my mother knew about 4 months before she died. She gave me her wedding ring and asked me to start wearing it in November. It made me cry and I protested but she insisted it was important to her so I did it.
She tried to give me her jewelry box and I refused to take it; it seemed too final for me and I just couldn't do it.
She 'loaned' some money to a grandchild and then hand-wrote on her will that any money loaned to grandchildren didn't have to be paid back.
She gave away clothes to the employees at the retirement home where she lived.
She definitely drew away from old friends and made them cancel trips to visit her over the holidays.
She sent back most of her Christmas presents with notes saying the gifts were lovely but she couldn't use them! We all shared a laugh about how rude she was, but now I feel terrible that we ignored this HUGE sign.
She talked eldlessly to my older brother about her finances and now he's feeling guilty because he didn't want to talk about it with her. She was so proud of the fact that she had everything ready; we should have been praising her for being so wise.
As we look back, it seems very clear that she knew. Absolutely KNEW. We were just too dumb to see it too. Or in denial. Nobody wanted to talk to her about death. But she did want to talk about it. I have felt terrible guilt about this over the past 3 weeks. We spent our lives trusting her and listening to her, but in this very important thing... we didn't.
All we saw was that she still seemed to be in good health for her age. But she knew.
I can't begin to count the number of times I've reach for my cell phone to call and tell her something. Or reached to pick up something that I knew she would like from the grocery store. She was a magnificent gardener and today when I started working in the garden I was struck by the fact that I don't have her to share it with anymore. That's what drove me inside and to the computer, looking for something to ease the pain of her absence.
Thanks for listening,
Kate, daughter of Dorothy (The Crane Lady)