Wednesday, November 26, 2008

This Time Last Year, #4

The day before Thanksgiving. I was surprised she died so soon. 12 days after we found out she had cancer again. Selah went to the hospital with me that last evening. We said goodnight and goodbye to Mom. Selah held her hand and said goodnight too. She had been unresponsive for a couple days. Her body was shutting down. She hadn't eaten. Her breaths were very raspy. She really had to work hard to get a breath, and when we left the hospital that evening the nurse was showing Dad how to suction the foam that was kind-of starting to form in her mouth. I really struggled seeing her like this. I don't handle that stuff very well. I hate to admit this, but honestly I was kind-of glad I had the excuse of having a little kids at home, and needing to leave to be with them.
My youngest brother Daniel, on the other hand, was amazing. He never left her side. Right to the end. He and Dad were there when she took her last breaths. Actually, Daniel was up with Mom, suctioning her mouth every 15 minutes or so. He noticed her breathing pattern change suddenly, so he woke Dad up. They watched her take her last 2 breaths. Daniel was always her favorite. We all joked about that. He was the baby, and they had a special bond. I will say that I can only hope one of my kids will care for me in the end the way he did for her. He did and saw things a son shouldn't have to. What a guy. I know she was glad he was there. There were times she would wake up and ask where Daniel was... wanting to make sure he was nearby.
Dad called our house about 5:30am and said "Mom's gone." "She is?" I said. Alan and I got a neighbor to come over and sit with the kids, and we rushed to the hospital. I had never seen a dead body before. She looked like she was sleeping. She was still warm. I even had to touch her arm and lift it a bit to make it real for me.
All in all, I have to say, other than being raptured, this was the way she wanted to go. She wanted it to be quick and painless (I mean, don't we all). She dealt with pain with the bone cancer, but she did not have the debilitating, slow, sad, end to her life. That weekend before she even joked saying "You know I've always said I didn't want to get old!"
It was way too soon, but it happened in a way that was peaceful for her, so for that I can find a reason to be thankful. She died the day before Thanksgiving. There are many reasons I could think of to be thankful for the woman she was, the mom she was, and the impacts she had on the lives of so many people. Most of all, I'm thankful that (largely because of who she was) have the hope of being together again some day. Of that I am most thankful.

"Heaven... is a sweeter place. For once I've knelt before the good Lord, I'll turn and see your smiling face. Heaven... is a sweeter place. If having you here in my life, is only just a taste... how sweet is Heaven"

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