September 10, 2014 in Corner Brook, Newfoundland was the most beautiful warm and sunshiny day. As in life my mother planned and organized many things, I’m pretty sure she planned this as well.
Dying was something my mother did with grace and gratitude. She spent the last nine weeks of her life in the hospital surrounded by family, friends, flowers and gifts. She was resplendent, covered with the most beautiful blanket which a friend had brought her. The nurses loved her so much; some of them said that taking care of my Mom changed the way they see patients and how they do their job. I guess the bottom line is that she didn’t complain and so being around her was always a privilege, even when she was uncomfortable.
In the days leading up to her death, many of my nieces and nephews called me in the hospital asking if I would pass the phone to Sitty, if she was feeling strong enough, so that they could say goodbye to her. She had kind and loving words for every one of them.
In her own words, “Don’t cry for me; this is a celebration! I have lived a full life and I’ve done everything I ever wanted to do. I am not afraid to die now. I have no regrets.”
How many people are able to say the same when looking death in the face? I guess they are the words of a life well lived, a 5G life because it was filled with Graciousness, Gratefulness, Gentleness, Gregariousness and Generosity.
I miss her. There’s not a day goes by that I don’t think of Mom, and wish I could have one more conversation with her. I wish I could tell her about issues in my life right now.
I miss answering her phone calls with, “G’morning Mah Dear.” And her little giggle.
I miss telling her about my craft shows and her giving words of encouragement. Mom was always my biggest cheerleader, and critic.
If I could have Mom for one more day I would talk to her about the family, how she decided to be so optimistic in the face of my sister’s illness, her own surgeries and recuperations and even how she always managed to have a smile on her face even when things were not going well.
If I could have Mom for one more day I would call her and talk about my kids. She would be happy for their successes and help me deal with their failures. She was especially fond of my Aaron, who could always use some “Sitty wisdom”.
If I could have Mom for one more day I would tell her that I love her, appreciate her, and that I am so proud that she’s my mom. I would tell her that she’s been a great mother, always supportive and that most of the time she knew when to say nothing.
I would tell her that her enthusiasm and optimism were so contagious that even when she knew she was dying she still looked for other options and she still made plans. Some of those plans never came to fruition but the point is, she made them.
In the last month of her life, which was spent in the hospital, she would call me and tell me how she couldn’t wait for me to come home so that she and I could go shopping for curtains and furnishings for her and Dad’s new apartment. She never did get to see the apartment because she was in a coma when the move took place and God took her home the day after Dad spent his first night there, alone.
We waked Mom on my birthday, September 9th. I will always remember my 61st birthday as the only time I had so many family members present to sing Happy Birthday. I’m quite sure that was one of my mother’s many gifts to me.