Preparing to Say Goodbye to Mom
I don’t know what to write. It’s surreal. I held my mom’s hand and like a slap, without a knock, reality kicked the door down and entered. We knew the day was coming when my siblings and I would say goodbye to our Mom, but can one ever be ready?
We are down to the final days. Two days ago the doctor said it could be hours, but she made it through the night. When the doctor gave the news to my sister, she rose like the daughter and sister she is and demanded that all of her children be allowed to be with her or we were taking her home. We were allowed to be there and spend the night with her, tearfully saying our goodbyes as our Mom lay in that bed, her chest rising and falling slowly with each struggled breath. It was a long night, keeping watch as though waiting for Death to tap on the door.
Morning came and Mom was still with us. She was released from the hospital and is home surrounded by her children. My mind is still trying to wrap around the word “hospice.”
I sat beside my mom today, I held her hand, and watched her eyes looking around the room. “Mom, what do you see?” I ask. “What are you looking at?”
“Everything,” she answered. “I want to remember everything when I go to heaven.”
My mom may not remember everyone’s name anymore. She may not even know where she is. But she knows Jesus and that gives me comfort.
“Mom, Jesus loves you.” I remind her. “You don’t have to be afraid.”
“Who loves you?” I ask her.
“Jesus loves me.” She answers. “And I love Him.”
I am the oldest of five children; her second-born went home to Jesus when he was only a couple of hours old. She was practically a child herself when she had me. At 17 she was a young wife and mother.
As children, we believe our Mothers will always be here. We leave home, start our own lives, and never really consider there will be a day when Mom won’t be there. Until the day comes, and you have so much you wish you would have said, and even more that you wish you didn’t.
I don’t know what to write. It’s surreal.
As I write this the clock just turned from 2021 to 2022.
Every new year at midnight, I would call my mom and say Happy New Year! But not this year. In God’s mercy she is sleeping, peacefully I hope. We will all gather again tomorrow and take turns sitting beside her and holding her hand.
My Mom didn’t know what a blessing she was, and is, to so many people. She was always the caretaker, even in her professional life, she chose to be a caretaker.
My mom is/was a woman who had dreams and heartbreaks, yet she carried them silently. What I judged as chaos, she found meaning in. She was lonely and wanted to be needed.
I cry for my brother and sisters because they knew her in a way I never did, and they are losing their mom, too.
I was the run-away. Mom called me her gypsy child. I was the child of a child. The daughter of a young mother married to an abusive man, who was practically a child himself until he became a soldier in Vietnam; then he brought that war home with him.
In God’s mercy, my mom was kissed with love in her second marriage, to a man who loved her and treated her with gentleness, until she became a widow.
Although the last couple of years has been a struggle on different levels, I am thankful God brought me home. It was during the struggles and in the darkest hours of screaming, “WHY?!” that He showed me He is turning the page to a new chapter, and I am blessed to be here as my mom’s story is coming to an end.
“Hey, Mom, who loves you?”
“Jesus loves me and I love Him, too.”
Yes, Mama, Jesus loves you, and soon you will see Him face to face, and you will hear Him say, “Welcome home, My Beloved. You are Mine.”
Tomorrow I will hold her hand, and when she looks at me with recognition, I will tell her I love her, and I will thank her for being my mom. And we will again reassure her that we will be alright because even in facing death she is still a caretaker.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this? John 11:25-26
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