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The unimaginable heartache of losing my Mother

Grieving the loss of someone you love is difficult. I was present by Mother’s bedside while she breathed her last.

The hospital staff had moved Mother from the fourth floor into the palliative care unit. The staff welcomed us with a big sign written on a board which said, “Welcome Mae and family.” I immediately wrote the additional words, “God loves you, and so do we.” I felt a wave of love wash over me.

Her room was located by a little green space, visible by her hospital window. I was glad my sister had the curtains drawn back, allowing as much light and sun into the room as possible. Many individuals, from my past while dealing with Palliative Care, would often close the room, like a tomb to be preserved. I wanted to shout to the world and let others feel my grief and experience my pain, in desire for relief. There is a saying, “Shared sorrow is half the sorrow, shared joy is double joy.”

It was a peaceful place, a place where I could take shelter behind the glass, away from the world. As Mother dozed off, I watched the birds nestle into the bushes, and chipmunks and squirrels scurry about their business. How could you not chuckle at all the silliness and warmth in nature as birds jostle with each other for the birdseed that hung on a large green pole? The chipmunks were so lively and fast as they waved their tails, jumping from bush to bush, communicating with little squirrels who scampered by attempting to climb the pole, by any means possible. The seagulls were also attempting to get a little action.

God does have a sense of humour and comic relief. It was a little piece of paradise in room 1139! It felt like Mother had her own oasis, a calm and peaceful place, where we could also take shelter from the blazing sun and reflect on this crazy world and the storm we were now facing. As a Christian, I wear something called the armour of God. I will make unique decisions to guide my life and fight for the vulnerable. I may never receive an award for bravery in saving a life, but I will most assuredly speak out on behalf of those who can’t.

I had opportunity, and took them, to say all the things which needed to be said. My sister stated, “we are now orphans!” That’s when it hits you! In the minutes, moments, hours and days, which followed after her death. Our hearts were broken as we both have experienced a dull and constant ache. An ache we will endure for the rest of our lives this side of heaven, even though God will use time and His ways to help us learn to live with it in a healthy way.

Through my writings, words and movements, and many tears, and from screaming at the top of my lungs to whispering into the wind, I understood and knew how I would travel through this grief. The choice was mine; as a Christain, I would stand in the rest of my life and move forward!

A person doesn’t personally have to figure out how they are going to get through the rest of their life, but I know you must continue to put one foot in front of the other.

I sat and pondered, wiping away the fears and tears, because you don’t expect a loved one to die like this!! How could the Nursing Home allow this to happen? Yet, I know my faith in God is strong. Like Job said, “Blessed be in the name of the Lord.” What I do know is, God is alive, and my Mother is in His Arms!

I was so angry, so angry, I found myself shaking in disbelief! You cry until your head pounds, your eyes are swollen shut, and your nose is so stuffy you can’t breathe. Sleep doesn’t come; you toss and turn for hours, wondering what went wrong. There are still times I want to pick up the phone to call her. I remember our last telephone conversation shortly after Parkinson’s had encroached upon her. The disease continued to take her little by little, but now to die by some else’s hands?

Nobody will ever replace your Mother; it simply isn’t possible. The thought of loving someone so much, to only have them ripped from you, will take its toll on your heart and mind if you don’t keep focused on the Lord. I want to brush Mother’s silver locks which usually hung over her face, to rub my hand down the inside of her arm and feel her soft skin, to have her hand tightly wrapped around my fingers. Mother would often sleep when my sister and I visited. We wondered, was that the only time she felt safe? The only time she could actually relax her body and drift into slumber?

Through all this there were times I would laugh at my grandchildren’s silliness having a good time; then, suddenly, I’d wish Mother could join us. All the emotions about her death would flood back like an open sore. Writing about my personal journey is a brutal process, but I have God, to help me in this is healthy process. When I use my voice it may encourage others to open up and express themselves in constructive healing ways also. I will find the truth, but more importantly, in the strength to share and love I will find healing and closure.

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