Life has a way of turning your world upside down and inside out. Twelve years ago today, my sweet Mama went to Heaven to be with Jesus. I was only 19 years old. That morning shook my world forever and has left a lasting impact on my life. To this day, I can’t get through this day without bawling my eyes out at least once.
It was the middle of the night when my Dad started making phone calls to my two brothers to have them come over to the house. Dad knew it was almost time. We had a hospital bed set up in the living room of my parents’ house. I was “sleeping” on the couch next to Mom’s hospital bed. I somehow knew that it was going to happen that night and didn’t want to leave my Mom’s side. I was in charge of giving her water to drink and keeping her comfortable. Dad never left the room that night except to call my brothers. I remember getting off the couch, walking over to Mom, and kneeling next to her bed. I was holding her hand. My sister was on the other side. Dad was sitting on the edge of the bed, holding Mom’s hand resting his other hand on her chest. Her breathing had become very shallow.
My second brother came flying through the front door and ran over to the bed. He kneeled down beside me and held Mom’s hand too. I remember looking back and forth between my Mom’s exhausted face and my Dad’s face. I kept watching my Dad’s hand rise and fall on her chest. I remember my brother telling my Mom that he and my other brother would take care of my sister and me and that it was ok to go. My Mom heard him say that and a small, tired smile spread across her face.
We sat there and talked to Mom for a little while, just holding her hands. I sat there watching Dad’s hand on her chest, willing it to keep rising and falling, but it didn’t. I remember watching his hand stop rising. I was frantic. I couldn’t say anything. My siblings hadn’t noticed yet. They were still talking to Mom. I quickly looked at my Dad. He had tears quietly streaming down his face. I looked at him, then his hand on Mom, and back again. He just nodded. I lost it. I started bawling my eyes out. I remember yelling, “NO!!!” at the top of my lungs. My siblings knew what had happened. Dad couldn’t let go of Mom’s hand or take his hand from her chest. He had just lost his wife of nearly 34 years.
My oldest brother came in the front door just then. He knew Mom was gone. I’m sure he could hear me yelling from outside. He stood next to the bed and looked at Mom’s body. He knew she wasn’t there anymore. He knew she had graduated to Heaven and wasn’t in any pain anymore. Her cancer was gone, and she was with Jesus.
We all sat around the bed for a little while longer while we talked about Mom and reminisced about old times and things Mom loved. A while later, Dad called the funeral home and had them come to get Mom’s body. Once they were gone, we went to town as a family to get some breakfast. It was about 3 in the morning. No one said much of anything, but it was nice to have each other there for quiet support. I don’t think anyone really ate anything either, but it seemed like the thing to do at the time.
Once we got home, we all decided that we should start getting ready for the day and getting a few things ready for that night. I got myself ready to go and went to work to get my shifts covered for the rest of the week. Once I got back home, I changed my clothes and we all drove to Grandma’s viewing that afternoon/evening. My poor Dad had lost his mother four days before today. We had Grandma’s viewing that night, her funeral the next morning. We had a “day off” the next day (Thursday), then Mom’s viewing Friday and her funeral Saturday. Sunday was Easter. That was the first Easter Sunday I remember purposely not going to church. I just sat at home and cried. I couldn’t eat or sleep. I didn’t eat or sleep much at all for the next few months.
Twelve years is a long time. But it still seems like yesterday. I can still picture everything in my mind as crisply as if it had just happened. I still bawl my eyes out like it has just happened. I miss her something awful, and I’m not sure if that will ever go away. My Mom was an amazing woman that so many people loved and looked up to. She was one of the sweetest people I have ever met.
In a way, I hope that pain doesn’t ever go away. I know God designed pain for a reason. It helps us to grow and learn. It shows us that we are human and that we care. Pain and suffering are normal feelings to have. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t have them. God loves us, and we are supposed to mimic that love to the people around us. Pain and tears show us that love is present. That’s why I hope that pain of missing Mom never leaves.
I hope that, somehow, this post will encourage people in some way. Even if someone is going through something like this now, has in the past, or will be in the future, I hope that this can be of some help. If you are going through something like this, and need someone to listen, send me an email through the contact page. I would love to help if I can. Just remember, God is always with us, even in the darkest times, and He will always take care of us. God is in control.