I was sitting at an intersection today that I haven’t had occasion too in some time. It occurred to me that this seemed oddly familiar; the time of day, the intersection and the fact I was in the left turn lane waiting for the light.
Then the cruel realization, that my psyche was being tormented once again. Another painful reminder of a gut shredding memory.
Today was the day, five years ago, that my dear, sweet Momma became ill.
The hospital, Medical City, located at the intersection I found myself in and the same left turn lane that led to the ER, and later, the parking lot that I used for the next eight days.
As the memory struck, the light turned green and the video of those days from five years ago began playing in my mind’s eye, as I drove past the massive complex.
In the ER we learned how serious her condition was, intestinal ischemia, and her first of three surgeries was soon performed. Each day brought more hope and anguish, until the day the doctor informed us how deadly serious her condition was and my brother and I had to make the decision to remove the respirator.
The decision was made out of love for her. The loving and lovable mother I had always had in my world, regardless of where I was located in it; the wonderful woman who gave me existence and was there for my first gasp of air, would take her last sip of air with me stroking her hair and offering comforting words.
Two days before, in a brief lucid moment she was looking past me out the hospital window and seemed transfixed. She couldn’t talk with the tube in her throat, but would nod in response and I asked her if she saw something. She nodded yes without looking at me.
I stood and stepped aside so as not to impede her view and to try and see what it was she was so interested in. The hospital was in a major physical plant improvement and a large building crane was reflecting in the windows across the way.
It looked like a giant crucifix.
As her breathing stopped and she had clearly passed from this mortal plane, all the family gathered withdrew to a private room reserved for us. I excused myself under the pretense of wanting a cigarette. I made it just to the outer edge of the covered driveway in front of the building, when I pulled the handkerchief from my pocket, opened it fully, covered my face and let out a scream, while dumping copious amounts of tears and mucous. I kept that up for several minutes and heard some people walking by whispering to each other about my despair. I wasn’t embarrassed and I didn’t feel any better, but I had to release the pain that had been building for days out of my system.
There was still so much to do.
One thing was different today. The weather was cool and clear, unlike the day the lord called my Momma home. At the very moment that she stopped breathing, a severe thunderstorm struck. There were reports of heavy rain and strong straight line winds, possibly a tornado. I do not now, nor did I then, think that storm was a coincidence. It was a sign.
Soon after the video and these thoughts ran through my mind, I was past the hospital and left to ponder all that had transpired.
Losing a loved one is always difficult and intensely personal.
Losing my Momma was the most difficult experience I have encountered and I haven’t been, nor do I expect to be, the same ever again.
There is no love like a mother’s love.
No Angel, but a dearer being, all dipt
In Angel instincts, breathing Paradise,
Interpreter between the Gods and men,
Who looked all native to her place, and yet
On tiptoe seemed to touch a sphere
To gross to tread, and all male minds perforce
Swayed to her from their orbits as they moved,
And girdled her with music. Happy he
With such a mother! faith in womankind
Beats with his blood, and trust in all things high
Comes easy to him, and though he trip and fall
He shall not blind his soul with clay.