The last few weeks have been some of the hardest of my life. On October 1st, at about 9:00 in the morning, I got a phone call from my mom's husband that she was in cardiac arrest but stable and they were in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. I wasn't sure what exactly happened, but I assumed a mild heart attack. I called Jonathan and he headed home from work, but it's a good 45 minute drive, and after he got here to be with Jack I headed to the hospital. That is when I got the call from my brother about the condition she was in, and it wasn't good. They had her in a medically induced coma and were cooling her body temp down to try and preserve brain function.
After I got to the hospital I learned more about what happened. She had woken her husband up that morning because he had something to get to and he got out of bed and went to do his exercises on the other side of the house and when he came back he found her unconscious with no pulse. There is simply no way to know how long she had been there. Ron did everything right, he called 911, started CPR, and got help there as soon as possible. Sadly, everything that could have been done was done and it just wasn't enough. On Wednesday October 3rd, my mother passed away at the age of 58.
FIFTY EIGHT, who the hell is relatively healthy and their heart just stops for no apparent reason at the age of 58? It's so not fair. In every way, it just isn't fair.
Not two weeks before we were down at Sea World together. She walked all over the place all day and aside from being a little slow because her knee was bother her, she did fine. I never heard her complain once.
I hate that this has happened. A friend of mine put it best, it feels like I've been kicked in the chest by a horse and am trying to recover. It's very weird that everything else just keeps going as if nothing has happened. She was my mother, she was my biggest supporter, she was Jack's number 1 fan and his favorite person and life simply will not be the same without her. She lived for her grandchildren and I am so sorry that she won't be around to see them grow up and to cheer them on. She started asking for them when I was 15. No joke, I think she would have secretly been thrilled had I ended up a teen mom. But I have never seen anyone more excited to finally get grandchildren.
Don't get me wrong, she was no saint! The woman drove me crazy on occasion. But I am so glad that I handled the divorce the way I did. I'm glad that I just bit the bullet and met the new guy and we started doing things with them. I'm glad that I didn't let any of it affect our relationship. I'm glad that I said things to her when something bothered me and that we would talk it out. While I struggled a lot with my relationship with my mom when I was a teenager, as an adult our relationship was good. I'm so glad that we finally got to that place. I'm honestly not really sure when it happened, but I'm so thankful that it did.
No one expects to lose a parent when they are in their 30's. I didn't expect this for another 20-30 years at least. And I feel so awful for my poor grandmother. I think she is doing well all things considered, but she has a point when she says that your kids aren't supposed to go before you.
Jack asks about Gigi every day, and usually multiple times a day. He knows that she died and that she's in heaven now with God. He asks to visit and to call. It is such a hard thing to explain to a 3 year old. The first time we went on the boat after the funeral, he didn't want to go without her. It was really hard to talk him into going. He seems to get that we just have Ron here now, but it breaks my heart just a little every time we have to have the conversation.
It's funny how everything my mom gave us is suddenly invaluable. From Jack's Halloween costume to the silly little ghosts she made from rags last year, to her beloved African violets that I am now gifted with their care. I remember the last conversation I had with her the Thursday before everything happened, the last time I saw her at Sea World. Although the last meal we all shared together was a bit of a disaster with melting down children and a 2 hour wait at the restaurant.
Here are a few things to take away from this situation and a few things I learned from my mom:
- Make sure that the people that you love, know that you love them.
- How to get my way. The women did not take no for an answer, and I watched her long enough to figure out how it works.
- Always feed the animals.
- Drink wine.
- Life it too short to live with regret. If you have something to say to someone, say it. Especially if it makes you uncomfortable, say it. Have the conversation and don't leave things incomplete.
- Allow people to be human and make mistakes. Even if you are sure it's a mistake, it's theirs to make and they are the one who has to live with it.
- Be generous.
- Rules are more like general guidelines than actual rules.
- Never forget duck food when you go out on the boat!
- Go on vacation. You will never regret traveling with your family!
- Figure out how to make the impossible happen for someone else, just for the look on their face.
- Spend time with children.
- Drink more wine.