Dad had collected himself and it was time to let the nurses know. I walked out and told them and asked for their help. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how or what was next, so please help me and guide me. I told them that by Dad’s request I was to handle everything. That the only thing he was to be involved with was any legal docs that he had to sign, and other than that everything would go through me.
I was numb, I was in shock and there was so much to do. I had no idea what to do. It is hard to remember everything, it was such a confusing day. I know I told the staff, I know they put a sign on the door to see the nurse before going in the room. I signed several papers and then they gave me a list of funeral homes. They had to be called to pick Mom up.
I had to call the funeral homes. How do I pick a funeral home? What do you even ask them? How do you know you are choosing right one? I just looked at that list and started shaking and my head was spinning. I had to pull myself together, there was too much to do to fall apart. Mom taught me better than that. I took a deep breath and called the first place.
Nope, not the one. I had a bad feeling about them. Called the second and they were very nice, friendly, compassionate. They understood I had no idea what I was doing and would take care of everything.
I know I made many phone calls to family, friends. I must have called my boyfriend a dozen times. I know that I cried. But I really don’t remember much of it.
I do remember that the nurses went in the clean Mom up, but they did not do a good job. It was 3 or 4 hours later and my sister had not shown up yet with my nephews. My cousin had taken Dad to be with him and support him. I walked into room with Mom and noticed that her face had not been cleaned up. I got a damp cloth and gently, lovingly washed her face and made sure she looked nice if the rest of the family wanted to see her. I arranged her and made sure she was OK to for them to see. I am a strong woman, but that was one of the hardest things I had to do.
When my sister arrived with her boys I told them the news. I wasn’t sure how to say it and I think I did it wrong. I met them in the parking lot and told them before they went up. I should have told them in one of the other rooms in the hospital. But I wasn’t thinking. They did not want to see her, but my sister wanted her stuff out of the room. They wanted to to take Dad to the family home while I took care of the arrangements.So I went in and out of Mom’s room, arms full for several trips, as I got everything of theirs out of the room. It was so odd. I knew that Mom was technically no longer there, I couldn’t just walk into the room and not say anything.
Soon after everyone left and I would meet them later. The men from the funeral home had arrived and I had signed the papers needed. I walked into Mom’s room to say a final goodbye. I sat by her bedside one last time, took her hand and told her that I loved her. I told her that I would miss her for the rest of my life and that she was the best mother I could have been blessed to have. And I thanked her for everything. And said one last time I love you, Mom.”
I turned to leave and the lights on the hospital room flickered 3 times, as if she was saying “I love…you.” And I knew it was her. I burst into tears because I knew. And I told her that I wanted her to “haunt” me a lot, she had to know, I needed to know that she was still close, because I wasn’t ready to let her go yet. I wasn’t ready to have a life without my Mom.
And all this year, she has given me signs that she is here close to me. And though this past year has been the worst and hardest of my life, but I know she has been there for me. I have made mistakes, but I have done the best that I could. And I know that she loved me enough to last a lifetime.