730 days of that last breath…

How do I even explain it? They said ‘give it some time…the pain will go away’. ‘Time heals all wounds.’  Liars!

I can still remember that morning so vividly. Those eyes that were always so bright slowly dimming before me. The heartbeat getting slower, the color of life slowly fading away. How could this be?

Just minutes before the doctor had taken my father and I aside explaining the next course of action to take place in the coming weeks. We were still digesting the idea of only a ‘couple of weeks’ when all of a sudden all we had were a mere few minutes.

I can still feel that panic and anxiety of ‘How do I stop this?’ ‘My brothers aren’t here?’ ‘But how?’ ‘You said…’ I felt paralyzed, I couldn’t move my feet…the doctor had to take me to her bedside.

I remember looking across the bed and capturing my dad’s gaze. He was so calm holding her hand, telling her to go with God. I, on the other hand was at a loss of words to say…what do you say to someone who is passing away? ‘Don’t go?!’ So selfish of me.

I was panicking for my brothers, they should be here, they’ll need closure! I called the house and told my sister in law that mom was passing away. That’s all I got out before I heard the panic and click on the other end. All I could think was please hurry here…fast…now…before it’s too late.

Then I called my older brother; he had just left the day before, promising that he’ll be back again soon to see her. His wife and kids had come too. They had driven down in crazy winter conditions to spend some time with her in the hospital. She was so happy when she saw her grandchildren, even had played ‘cars’ with her grandson the day before. Who knew?!

I told him what was happening and he pretty much had the same reaction as me: ‘But she looked so good when we left’ ‘No!…how?…I’ll be there tell her not to go’! At that point I just put him on speaker phone and told him to say what he felt like saying, she could hear him. It was all I could do for him or for her. She smiled. He was her first born.

I don’t know how many seconds or minutes actually passed in that hospital room between the doctor stating ‘this is it’ to ‘I’m sorry for your loss’ but for me it’s been a continuous 730 days.

It’s really a surreal and very awakening feeling being in the presence of death. Leading up to it I was in sheer panic mode but as soon as she ‘left’ a calm came over me.  My dad and I kissed and hugged her one last time, said our ‘I love yous’ and then sat in silence and just watched her lay there lifeless as the prayers played in the background. I truly at that moment had no emotion, just an odd sense of peace.

The hardest part was when my younger brother arrived just moments after. When I close my eyes I can still see the disbelief and hurt on his face. My sister in law had called him at work right after I had broken the news to her, he came as fast as he could..

‘Is she?…mom?’

‘She’s gone’

Disbelief.

I watched him grab her hand, put his head down on her lap. Just the night before we had to distract her so she wouldn’t see him leave, she wanted him to sleep in the hospital bed with her…tried to convince him there was enough space for both of them and for him not to go home. They were cuddle buddies, he was her baby.

My mind was bursting with a million thoughts but my heart, my heart was still at peace. I walked over to him and hugged him, a big squeeze. ‘It’s okay, she went peacefully. I told her you loved her’.

We quietly sat around her bed, we would make eye contact here and there but no one spoke. Just letting it soak in. The prayers she loved so much played in the background. It was peaceful. My dad who never does well in these types of situations was surprisingly calm and collective. He asked for my phone so he could call his parents. Inform them that his wife had just passed away. That just 5 days ago, on their 35th Anniversary, he had promised her a big celebration as soon as she was able to leave the hospital. Before the dementia had set in, she would always talk of having a big 35th Anniversary, any excuse for a cake and a dance party.

But now we were about to plan a funeral.

Slowly family started trickling in, one by one offering their condolences. Doctors and nurses advising us on our next steps…this part…it’s all a blur. The phone calls and messages, all a blur.

I was in my own world until I got into bed that night. My husband asking if I was ok. Exhausted and slowly drifting to sleep I didn’t realize that life was still going on outside our four walls. Not until I heard the fireworks. I jumped out of bed and looked out the window wondering what was going on. I was sincerely confused until my husband pointed out that it was midnight.

‘Huh?’ ‘So?’

Happy New Year! *fireworks*

Literally, like a tonne of bricks, every emotion came crashing down on me. How can these people be celebrating when my mom has just passed away? I cried myself to sleep that new years eve.

730 days ago … yet it feels like it was just yesterday.

A lot of tears, heartaches and ‘if only’ in those 730 days. A lot of sleepless nights.

Yet at the same time … a lot of unexplained miracles, smiles and laughs shared over memories and a new genuine appreciation for life’s simple pleasures.

This New Years eve I know I won’t be able to stop the tears or settle this anxiety. I’ll go to bed once again with a heavy heart because unlike what ‘they’ said, you never forget, the pain never goes away.

However, I also know that come New Years morning I WILL awake feeling blessed and thankful for all of life’s simple gifts. No grand resolutions will be made only a promise to be open to what 2015 brings my way with a open heart and positivity. To love the people in my life each day, like it’s the last. That’s what I’ve learned in 730 days…don’t wait for the last breath.

Happy New Year Mom ♥

mom

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