It isn’t easy to lose a parent. It isn’t easy to lose anyone. I lost my niece when she was 23. I was torn asunder. I can only imagine what her parents went through. What a horrible, horrible thing. I still break apart thinking of her. That’s why I dedicated the book, I was working on when she died, to her.
Today, I realized I am no longer a daughter. I am still a sister, a mother, a wife, but “daughter” was knocked off the list when my mother died last Sunday. I still find it hard to believe. Not because I thought she was invincible, but because every time she slipped into a more fragile state she would somehow spring back. In the back of my mind, I thought she would spring back this time, too. She didn’t.
She really is dead.
She had stopped eating a month ago. I tried to get her to eat. I poured soup into her mouth. It dribbled out. She gave me “the look” as if to say, “Are you nuts?”. The hospice nurse assured me this was the body’s way of shutting down. When mom stopped drinking I wanted to put an IV in her to hydrate her but the nurse said that if the body shuts down, the kidneys stop working. If the kidneys stop working, the water has no place to go, except the most delicate organs, i.e. the lungs. Then, the patient drowns. That is a horrible way to go. So, no IV.
There is nothing more difficult than watching your loved one fade away, while you are helpless to stop it, to make things better. In other parts of my life I’ve been able to control the outcome. No one can control the outcome of another life.
I wanted the nursing home to call me when she was getting near. We had spent some time with her that day and she was breathing heavily. I should have known. I. should. have. known. But I went out to eat with my husband and before the food arrived, the nursing home called to tell me she had died. There couldn’t be a harder thing to hear. I had wanted to BE there.
Listen. My mother didn’t care. If she were alive and we were discussing this she would tell me she would not have cared if I was sitting there when she passed away because she was happy to leave. She wanted to leave. She was looking forward to being with Jesus. And Dad.
You may think this is happy “platitude” time, but it isn’t. I was watching her on the monitor. She was virtually paralyzed from a stroke that week, but she moved and opened her eyes. She was looking at the ceiling and moving her lips. Her hand moved, reached out. I don’t know if she saw my father, or her parents, or Jesus, but whoever it was, it was a powerful enough vision to give her the strength to move immovable limbs.
You can rest assured in your hatred of all things Christian or “godly” but give me faith in Christ any day, my friend. There is nothing to lean on except Jesus when you get to the point where you are facing eternity and have time to think about it. My only concern for you is if you must face eternity with no time to decide what to do, as in the event of a car accident. I mean – Boom! Hello!
Please don’t let that happen.