GRIEF: The Journey of Letting Go of My Mother & Best Friend
My mom seemed as though she would live forever. Even with major blockages in her arteries, she was cheerful and happy and concerned first about others.
Saying goodbye is never easy -- especially when it is your mother, best friend, traveling companion, fashion consultant, lunch partner, coffee companion and overall "person" you are saying goodbye to.
One week ago today we laid our mom to rest after an unexpected complication during a stent to open one of her arteries.
We had amazing days with her at the hospital -- she was happy, upbeat, not complaining, waiting for open heart, quadruple bypass surgery.... unfortunately she did not make it to the surgery. She was rushed into the cath lab in order to open an artery during severe chest pains.
The procedure went well, however a blood clot developed causing my mother to go into cardiac arrest. At her wishes, the doctor shocked her heart twice to restore the normal heart beat; however she never woke up after this procedure.
Gathering around her at the hospital was myself and six siblings -- my oldest daughter, and many nieces and nephews.Our pastors, and our 85 year old father was with her right until the end as well. We sang her favorite hymns, prayed with her and believed she could walk out of the hospital.
Sadly, this is the case. Due to dangerously low blood pressures that even medication could not restore, she slowly lost brain function and was not able to be revived.
If you knew our mother, this is the last thing we would have ever expected. Joanne (mom) was the most upbeat, enthusiastic person you could meet. Even while walking around with 100, 99, 70 and 50% blockages in her arteries, she smiled and thought of others...rarely complaining. The fact she did not have a stroke or heart attack before getting to the hospital is a miracle in itself.
This past week we have celebrate Easter -- the reason for our hope in seeing her again. (John 3:16) and it was a peaceful day. As a family we have spent time comparing notes on what happened during and leading up to our mother's death. Strangely, although we truly believe she had no idea she was truly leaving us, it seemed she had been making plans for when she would no longer be with us. I parallel this to a mother who is nesting prior to going into labor. She doesn't necessarily know she is nesting, and yet we have all heard of the mother preparing her home for a new baby by frantically cleaning and getting organized.
We found our mom stopped shopping for household items and clothing, she bought gifts for a year ahead, and made comments about being worried about my dad regularly.
Comparing notes with my siblings is comforting, and also allows us to cry and cling together.
Grief is an indescribable time in life, yet I know we mourn but not like those who have no hope.
God grant me the peace to honor my mother's memory, carry on her legacy, grieve and grow from this loss, and to be a parent like my mother was able to be for us.