In late December 1981 the phone rang at twelve midnight and although I was very groggy I heard the voice of my brother telling me that Mom had experienced a severe stroke. I remember muttering that I would come there immediately (my parents lived in an apartment in my brother’s home three states away).As I hurriedly dressed the feeling was overwhelming that the supportive voice that had always been present to my ears might never be heard again. The ride to the hospital was in…terminable and over and over the stories of Mom floated through my heart and mind. I went from laughter to tears at the countless moments that we had shared. She was one of my roots and I always knew that she was a singular gift.
Upon arriving at the ICU my dad was slumped deeply in a chair being consoled by my sister and brother. He greeted me with a bear hug, and spurted out how he had gone to make a salad and when he turned to the living room mom was unconscious on the floor. I was stunned by the myriad tubes and respiratory devices that were hooked up to my mother. The sound of her melodious greeting that had made even the tough moments in life better was replaced by mechanical clicks. I wanted so desperately to believe that modern medicine would once again work a miracle, but in my heart I knew that nothing would change the inevitable.
After holding her hand and speaking to her for hours I whispered in her ear “Mom I wish you could stay forever, but it is time for you to join Nana in heaven.”She did not die that night, but seven weeks later while my dad, sister and I were at her bedside she gently slipped away.
I naively thought that because I knew she was going to die that I was ready, but I was devastated knowing I would never see her physically again.