My mom died. Seven years and ten days after her mom, my gram died. This was the first year since my gram’s death that I did not fall into a deep depression. This was the first year that I was on top of my grief. And then one week after the anniversary of losing my gram my mom went into the hospital. As I was watched the doctor franticly look at her notes and then my mom, the look on her face said more than anything she could speak.
I sat against the wall in the hospital room I thought about the day. It was April 17th. We were having my gram’s service April 17th seven years before. It was 2:00pm when I connected those dots. I could not keep my tears in. I knew what was happening. I had to leave the room, because I did not want my mom to see me cry. I rushed down to the waiting room and let the tears out. I sent my brother a text to let him know what was happening. The time stamp was 2:07pm. My gram’s service was held April 17th at 2:00pm.
Why was the universe testing me? Why did this have to happen now? Why did I have to start the grieving process over? There were too many thoughts going through my head. I was not ready to lose her, not yet. I wanted to talk to her to tell her the things that I had been working on. I wanted to tell her that I hurt, but I understand now why things happened the way that they did.
On April 18th we were called in to her room to say goodbye as she was having a heart attack. She was still awake and able to speak. I told her “I forgive you Mom, I love you.” She responded in a few words and was asleep, never to speak any more words. We were called in to say goodbye to her a few more times that day, each time I told her that I loved her, once kissing her forehead.
My anticipatory grief was setting in. Days before we thought she just had the stomach bug. I had not gone to see her the last couple times because she did not want to get the kids sick. And now we were saying goodbye over and over again. Each time we said goodbye she would become stable and we were told she was improving. Part of me hoped that she would pull through and part of me knew she wouldn’t. I wanted to keep hope and faith alive but I also wanted to be prepared for what was coming next. It was like walking on a tight rope, not wanting to look down, but knowing you have to.
After two long days of waiting and hoping for the best we had to make a choice. Do we keep letting her fight, or do we let her go? We let them try everything, and she was surprising us each time. They gave her a 1% chance of surviving the first surgery, and she did. They gave her a 10% chance of surviving the night, and she did. We hoped she could fight it; that she could beat it. Medications were at their max and she was failing. She was in pain. If we let her keep fighting we would have lost her. We decided to stop all life saving measures and transition to comfort care.
Within minutes she was gone. We said our goodbyes to her as she departed her Earthly body. The four days that this took place were excruciating. A waiting game; hoping that we would get good news, but knowing we wouldn’t. I didn’t want her to suffer, but I wanted her to live. That is a hard choice to make. I felt selfish letting her linger just for us. We initially wanted it for her. We knew that if she had a choice she would want to live too. So we did everything that was offered to us. We did everything and it still was not enough. Regardless of our choice she was going to die. It was just a matter of moments. In the big picture her peace was worth more than those moments.
I don’t have regrets, only that she was most likely in a lot of pain. We did not know that until after she had been suffering. We did what we could do and we were there with her when she needed us. She went peacefully and quickly once the medications were stopped. We followed her wishes the best we could with little to no information as to what she wanted. She never wanted to die so she never talked about her wishes.
Seven years after losing my gram and drudging through the thick, painful, at times paralyzing grief I was given a reprieve to try to live without the pain and then I was given another major loss. Another loss that could have sent me down the ugly, black spiral I had just climbed up. This loss has been different. My grief has been different.
My mom and I were not close. I spent my whole life longing for her love. She gave me the love I had looked for as she clung to her life. In her final moments she gave me what she never could before. I am not sure if my pain is subdued this time because of the distance that separated us; or if because she left me at peace with our past. I am sad as I think about what never was. And I find myself thinking of things I want to tell her and forgetting that she really is gone. I don’t know the difference. I just know that it is easier. So far. I also know that grief is ever changing. I know that it is different. I know that it is tricky and I know I cannot out run it.
As my mom was still alive, fighting for her life I looked down and saw my gram’s ring on my hand, on her arm. I was brought peace knowing that she was there helping me and also there for her daughter.
My mom was 62 years old when she died; my gram was 62 years older than me. My gram was 34 when she had my mom; I was 34 when my mom died. As I sat and thought there were a lot of connections like this. It made me see that we were all connected, but more importantly that the big picture is already mapped out. Things are preplanned and we are just along for the ride. Good or bad; if it is meant to be it is going to be. Life is always going to be; until it is not. It is what you do in between the being and not being that matters most. It is time for me to be the most that I can be in my time I have left.