In 2015, when my Mom Drake (My childhood Nanny) passed away suddenly, I was filled with an unspoken grief. I replayed all the moments I had wanted to go visit her. Have her meet my son. Just spend time with her. Yet, the time was gone. I vowed in that moment to make sure Pop Drake knew how much he meant to me and make myself more present. Time still slipped away a bit.
Everyone has things going on in their lives. I still kept my promise. That he would not be alone. Sure, there were plenty of people in the room as he took his final breath. Only two of us holding his hands. I watched the machines change as he faded away.
That day, my Mom told me, “You can’t hold everyone’s hand as they leave this earth.” Well, I’m stubborn. I could try. Right? Mom Drake was the start of a spiraling loss of 8 people prior to my Mom passing. My Mom, made number nine. Nine people in the course of a year and a half. How was this happening all around me? It was like a bad dream.
I’ve come to know the signs of someone passing. I can remember every moment from that Thursday afternoon that the weekly house nurse for Hospice told me that my Mother was declining. She was going to start 24-hour round the clock nurse care. The reality was punching me in the gut like an iron rod that had been spinning in a fire pit for hours. I had to catch my breath. I had to get away. I had to be here. I had to stay by her side. A million thoughts piercing through my mind.
This won’t be the day I share the whole story. That will take time and a few posts. This is the day I realize, when someone is ready to leave this earth, they will rally with all their strength to make sure you know what you need to know.
Saturday July 23, 2016, my Mom rallied. She threw her body in to a sitting position, with all her 80 some pounds of weight flung in to mine and my sisters arms, the weight of her just digging in to my chest, her arms around us, and she said, “Don’t cry, everything will be OK.”
I had stood vigil at her bedside, sleepless, since two nights prior. Getting her to talk to her Mom (My Grandmother) on Skype, getting her to talk to people visiting, getting her to signal anything that she needed or wanted. I remember on Friday hearing her laugh a bit when a long time family friend came to say his goodbyes. I remember her asking to be alone with him.
I remember mixing the morphine with water to use a syringe to administer it. I remember her final breath. But those words, those words will stay with me for the rest of my life. Not only because it was the last time I was able to embrace her or the last thing she said to us, but in reality…she knew her time was coming and she knew both her daughters would figure life out somehow. She knew….we needed her to be OK more than anything in this world and if she could not be here to do that, she needed us to know in some way, that everything would be OK.
Not even nine months later on 3/31/17 a friend’s Mother (Who was like another Mother to me) would pass away, a few weeks later, her daughter would get a message from her. The message weaved in with other random papers to be sorted….a card…with the very first words of, “Everything will be OK.” in due time…it will be…but right now , life still feels like a big fat sucker punch in the gut some days.
Listen…..for you never know what message may be left for you. You may never know what you need to hear most. Until it’s too late. My Mom was only 52 when she passed away. I’m still reeling and reliving moments that just won’t vacate my mind or my heart. I encourage you, embrace your loved ones, listen to their stories, and make memories as you can. By the way, I did hold my Mom’s hand as she left this earth. I’m her daughter, stubborn as they come.