Thursday, January 14, 2016

Saying Goodbye Isn't Easy

There is a popular saying that it is harder for a parent to bury a child because it is not part of the natural order of life.

Nearly four months removed from my mother's death, I can personally attest how hard it is for a child to bury a parent.

My mother died at 67, the victim of a ruptured brain aneurysm on Oct. 24, 2015. My daughter was less than a week old when I received a call that my mom apparently had a stroke and was in the emergency room at the local hospital.

Not really believing anything so serious could have happened to my mother, I drove to the hospital. When I arrived, my world was quickly shattered. My mom lay in a hospital bed, with tubes coming out, in a weakened state. I burst into tears, but quickly dried them before taking her hand.

I asked her how she was and she replied "My head hurts."
Those words would be the last words she would ever utter.

I sat with her as she was prepped for transfer to a specialist at a neighboring hospital. I sat with my uncle as doctors worked to close the rupture, doing so much damage that she entered a fog from which she would never emerge from.

During the next month, her physical condition deteriorated and I found myself giving doctors permission to do more and more invasive procedures with the misguided hope that she would miraculously recover.

I met with a doctor who told me my mother had a "Zero-percent" chance of recovery. I was sitting in my parked car, feeling as if I had been punched in the stomach.

The doctor asked if my mother had left any written directives (she hadn't) or if she had left instructions as to her wishes (she had).

As doctors unplugged life support equipment, I sat at my mother's side for nearly 13 hours, telling her how much I loved her. She fought the good fight, lasting two more days before passing from this world at 2:45 p.m.

There was nothing natural about how my mother died and there was nothing natural about being her son and dealing with the decisions I was forced to make as her next-of-kin.

I have seen my infant daughter staring of into space with a little smile. In that moment, I am both sad and happy because I know my mother isn't here in this physical world, but her spirit had stopped by to check on her granddaughter.

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