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.
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.
Free from the encumbrances of an aging and tired body.
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.