Saying goodbye to Mom

This is how I want to remember her: Smiling and enjoying the company of 3 year old, Lil’ K. This photo was taken on her 80th birthday, celebrated in October 2011.

On Monday morning at 4:00 am, Mom had her homecoming. After battling a myriad of health issues including congestive heart failure, chronic kidney disease, pulmonary hypertension, mixed connective tissue disease, and an enlarged heart caused by decreased lung function due to advanced fibrosis of the lungs, Mom finally is free of pain and discomfort.

Seeing all of Mom’s medications in a single container (for proper disposal) reminded me how much this daily ritual burdened Mom. Although they helped to prolong her life, the pills were also something she hated dealing with.

She no longer has to take medication 4 times a day, some very large pills that she had trouble swallowing. She doesn’t have to worry about eating or drinking slowly and deliberately to avoid aspirating. (Wish we had a swallow test done sooner!)  No more nasal cannula for 24/7 oxygen, which she always found cumbersome. No more painful blood draws from veins that were poked and prodded so many times that they were narrow and hard to draw from. No more tests. No more doctors appointments every month that she dreaded.

Just peace.

And rest.

Free from the encumbrances of an aging and tired body.

Finally. Free.

I spent 9 days grieving my mother as I watched her health and vigor slip away while she was in the hospital. Although there was a point in time during her stay  in the ICU that she actually improved and appeared to be turning the corner, she had an episode that set her back and sent her on a rapid decline. The doctors and nurses did their best to prepare Dad and I for her passing, offering no false assurances just compassionate care to keep her as comfortable as possible. I was especially impressed by the physicians who attended over her. They gave me daily updates and were quick to inform me of any changes in her condition.

It was a doctor that made the phone call at 3:15 on Monday morning to let me know that Mom’s blood pressure had dropped drastically and that she didn’t have much time. We arrived at the hospital and was able to hold her hand and say our goodbyes. Within the hour, she took her final, labored breath. And with that, her spirit departed.

I was heartbroken at the loss of my beloved mother, but I was also comforted by the fact that her suffering had finally come to an end. Now she will be able to celebrate Jesus’ birthday in Heaven with Him – and with her new body and healthy lungs, she will even be able to help him blow out the candles!

Mom, I miss you so very much that I cannot find the right words to express the depth of the void that has been left in my heart when you passed. I know you are always with us in spirit and I will continue to fill that void with the fond memories of the time we had together until my heart is again overflowing with your love. I love you, Mom. Always.

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15 Responses to Saying goodbye to Mom

  1. Carrie A says:

    I’m sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

  2. Sara says:

    My deepest condolences for you and your family.

  3. Brian Y says:

    Thanks for sharing, Donna. Very touching and I pray for you and your family’s comfort. That photo of the container of pills is the same thing I did when G died and I collected all of her cancer pain meds. It was astonishing.

  4. Sonya says:

    That was so beautifully written my friend. My heart is so sad for your loss…but she gave you the best of her. She put everything into you, so you can be the wonderful mother you are.
    I am rejoicing with you as she sits at the feet of my father.

  5. Joanne C says:

    Oh, Donna – I am so sorry for your loss. My dad died 3 years ago so I can relate. I wish you and your family comfort and peace during this intense time of grief.

  6. winnie says:

    my love to you donna as you go through this difficult time. i wish i could be there on jan 2nd but know my thoughts are with you. *hugs*

  7. April says:

    Donna – I have truly grieved for you this week and now as I read your heartfelt goodbye, which I am sure is only a remnant of what your spirit longs to convey, I simply long and pray for the peace of our God to wash over you and your family as you let go.

    You are continually in my thoughts and prayers.

  8. Bob D says:

    Donna, I was very sorry to read about your Mom. May the best of her live on in you and Little K.

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  10. suki says:

    So sorry for your loss, Donna. *HUG*

  11. Meredith says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss.

  12. Linda Oshiro says:

    My deepest sympathy to you and your family. I don’t know you personally, but can somehow relate to you. I loss my dad 19 years ago and still miss him alot. But, I am fortunate to still have my mother. She is in foster care home now due to her health issues and her need for 24 hour care. I know its hard on you as the only child, I am an only child too. My two children are older, in their early twenties, but still, sometimes I wish I had a lot more resources. Take care and God Bless. I will be praying for you and your family during this difficult time. Linda Oshiro

  13. Lauren says:

    I’m glad you got a chance to say goodbye. After weeks of not getting along – she being miserable in her illness & me just being exhausted – my grandmother & I had a chance cathartic moment where we acknowledged how much we cared. She passed away in her sleep a few hours later. I don’t think I’ll ever stop feeling grateful for that moment.

  14. Rho says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your loss, Donna. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

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