Tomorrow is January 14th….it also happens to be the one year anniversary of the day my entire world came crashing down around me. One year ago on January 14th, in the blink of an eye, I lost my mother.
In May/June of 2011 my mom was forced by my father and i to go to the emergency room. We thought she was dehydrated and maybe had pneumonia. We were not prepared for what the doctors told us. Tumor. Cancer. More specifically lung cancer. I cannot tell you how many times we heard that lung cancer was a death sentence. After a hospital stay, multiple doctor appointments, they told her she had maybe 6 months to live, possibly more with treatments.
This whole time my mom refused to give up. We were all trying to prepare ourselves for her to pass on. She stayed so positive and would tell us constantly that she would NOT die no matter what the doctors were telling her.
In August of 2011 she started chemotherapy and radiation until October. The good news, the very large tumor shrunk enough and moved far enough away from her esophagus to operate and remove her entire left lung.
With set backs, scares, near-death experiences, and news that she was cancer free we started to relax some. Every few months we would get a harsh reminder that although she beat the odds, she was still not doing well and could be taken at any moment.
At the end of 2013 she was hospitalized. She ended up in ICU on life support with a ventilator breathing for her. I tried to mentally prepare myself for the possibility that her body finally gave up the fight. Suddenly she was doing much better. She was still telling us she refused to die.
She seemed okay. Not great, but not horrible either. Her oncologists informed us she was still cancer free although she did have a liver and pancreas bile duct issue probably from the cancer treatments.
Less than a month later she was feeling under the weather. We missed a family event…then another…
The afternoon of January 14, 2014 i brought my then 6 month old daughter into her room. She immediately cheered up and started playing with her. Giggling, making my daughter smile and laugh. My dad asked me to check my mom’s blood pressure. I did so and it was very low. Being an EMT i immediately called for an ambulance.
The ambulance arrived soon after, being located only a few blocks away. The last thing i remember is her being rolled down the hall of the apartment building yelling “i need my e-cigarette!”
That was at 1:52pm. At 2:15pm i called the hospital to check on her and tell the nurse a few things. They informed me she had just arrived (the hospital was 23 min away in a non-emergency). At 2:45pm i received a call from the ER doctor telling me that my mom had gone into cardiac arrest 20 minutes prior and that they were still working on her. He advised we come to the hospital right away as well as notify other family.
I phoned my older sister and older brother to let them know. My dad and i then packed up the baby, anything we might need for the day (snacks, meds, phone charger, etc). Then we headed to the hospital. The roads were bad. Snow, windy, and cold. We knew it would take awhile. I called the hospital to request a priest be called to come pray and read my mom her last rites, just in case. The nurse put me on hold for what seemed like forever.
When she came back on the line she said “hang on. The doctor wishes to speak to you.”…my heart sank. I knew what he was going to say. I felt as though the wind had been knocked out of me and the world stopped moving. “I went back to your mom’s room after we spoke and she was already gone. I am so sorry, we did everything we could”….the rest of our conversation was blurred from the sounds of sobbing and gasping for air.
I informed my sister who was clearly in shock. Our mother was gone. Our beautiful, amazing, selfless, supportive, loving mother would never hug us, yell at us, annoy us, or tell us she loved us again.
It has been almost a year and the pain is still fresh. I miss her every day. I grieve her death every day. Some days it still doesn’t seem real. I don’t know how i got through the past year, and looking forward i still feel lost on how to continue on without her.
But when i look at my daughter, who is now almost 19 months old, i see my mothers joy, her heart of gold, her non-judgmental soul, her smile, and her beauty. I thank God every day for my mother, and for giving my daughter so many of her qualities.
RIP Mama! I love and miss you so much. HAPPY ANGELVERSARY!!!