On April 15, 2011, my life forever changed; this is the day I became an orphan. It may seem odd to some for me to use the term orphan but it best describes how I feel. In researching the word, it defines a child (son or daughter) whose parents are decease. My father died almost 14 years ago on June 15, 1997, which was Father’s Day of that year. Now my mother is also decease.
The events of my mom’s last earthly day are very clear and vivid in my mind. During the morning my mother and I would normally communicate via text message; and during the evening we would chat on the telephone. It always surprised people to discover my mom liked to text; it even surprised me a few years prior when I received her first text. The morning of April 15 was no exception to our morning routine. What I did not know then was the following would be our last communication: me-“Good morning mommy I hope you have a good day. I love you.” and mom-“Love u 2. Good morning have nice day : -)”. This was at 7:04am.
My day started as a normal day it was Friday and I was working to finish up a project. During the day I sent a quick text to my mom but received no response. This was not unusual, since my mom would get busy and not respond to every text. Me and my husband purchased my mom a brand new computer, she loved surfing the internet and needed a new computer. My mom lived in her childhood town, which is an hour and half drive from where I live. I had plans to see her on Saturday. During the previous day we had discussed our individual Friday plans; hers included a BBQ outing and church revival. Because of this I wasn’t overly concerned that I hadn’t heard from her other than the morning text message.
I too had plans that evening and go in fairly late. However, I kept thinking it was strange I hadn’t at least received a text message that she was back home. I called her home and cell phones over and over and began to worry. I called my mom’s childhood friend to check on her. He happens to be the county coroner and asked if he should call the police but I said no. He reported that the house lights were on in the kitchen and her bedroom but there was no answer to the door bell. I became more worried and grabbed my pursed and with my husband headed out to her town. I was hoping for the best but the slow reality was washing over me that the last time I may have talked to my mom was the prior night. I think this is why I didn’t want the police called because I couldn’t take a call telling me my mom was deceased.
Just as reported we found the lights on and oddly the kitchen door was unlocked including the storm door. My mom always kept her house locked up tight. When my husband and I entered the kitchen we saw a turned over kitchen stool and my mom’s compressed oxygen machine was on. Heading toward her bedroom, I braced myself for the worst but I still ran and hugged what was now a lifeless vessel of her body; maybe I thought I could hug life back into her. The moment in time surrounding me discovering her are a blur. I remember saying “mommy, mommy, mommy” over and over and shaking her like I did so many times when I was a little to wake her up. Like a ton of bricks the reality slammed into me and I let out a wailing sound and started beating my husbands chest.
My husband called my mom’s childhood friend. I remember sitting and rubbing my mom’s lifeless legs saying my good-byes and kissing her cheeks and forehead. We always gave each other a kiss on each check and the forehead before we departed as well as leaving with a big hug. We also always told each “I love you”. Just as she did when my dad died, I felt no fear for she never hurt me in life so she wouldn’t in death. Evidence revealed she had started her morning routine including taking her medicine. In addition, she had opened the kitchen blinds and was probably going to get the newspaper, it was still outside in the plastic receptacle. Maybe it was shortness of breath that lead her back to her bedroom, I can only guess at this point.
My mom was dealing with lung and breathing issues after a little over 45 years of smoking. She didn’t have any signs of cancer but breathing issues and recent pneumonia were a strain on her body and her heart. I had so much hope and faith that she would get better but just under 2 months from her 66th birthday her heart stopped. Her face was relaxed and she had a knowing smile on her face; she looked completely tranquil. Her transition appeared to be peaceful, possibly with my father reaching out for her to come through heaven’s gates. Knowing that she was no longer in pain and all the love she filled me with is what gives me peace. It quite simply would be selfish to want my mom to be alive knowing she was suffering.
Finally, I know at some point the full effect of the loss will hit me. I am an only child and use to solitude so I am not use to a lot of people calling and coming into my space; however, it is a blessing to have so many people care about your well-being. As I’ve said, I was filled with love from my mom. We shared with each other and she was one of my best friends. Most importantly, while she was living I let her know she was awesome and how she inspired me. I thanked her many times over way before she got sick for loving me; I am blessed that I have no regrets about the strength of our relationship. So to all who have living parents let them know you love them, also if there are rocky relationships get over yourselves and work it out. There is nothing in the world like a positive relationship between mother and child.