Tuesday, September 3, 2013

9 Years Ago.....

It was about 4:30am when the phone rang, my father on the other end telling me I should come to the hospital as soon as possible. My mother, resting in palliative care, was saying goodbye to the world and I should be there. When I arrived, the first of my siblings, my father was a mess but had his usual brave face. He knew this was the end of a long journey they had travelled together. I went in her room and sat beside her bed. She was tiny and pale, resting painless in a coma. I held her hand and told her I loved her. Our journey together was up and down, but we understood each other in our silence, both very strong women. I knew we could carry the world on our strength, and I am strong today because of her.

After my brothers arrived, my sister-in-law and niece in tow, and had their time with her, I saw my niece silently looking at our sad faces. She was only 6 years old at the time, similar to my age when my grandfather passed of the same disease. I wondered how much of this day she would remember and how it may affect her in her journey in the future. My mother spent her days teaching my niece everything she taught us as children, and I now know how these teachings have made her a strong independent young woman in her own right.

I went back into the dark room, sat on the window seat while my father stroked my mother's cheek, telling her it was okay to go, her children had all seen her now. Then there was a deep breath in and out, and she was gone. She was silent, my father wept and I exhaled, knowing the pain in his heart was replaced with the same hole we all have now. My mother knew we were all supposed to have a family day at the local fair, and I suggested it not change. She would have wanted us all to go. My brothers, sister-in-law and niece went while I stayed with my father the rest of the day. I answered phones, made sure he rested, made sure he ate. I knew he would need someone there for him.

On this day,  I remember my mother. I look in the mirror, see her face everyday. I cry as I write this but not tears of loss, tears of gratitude for the amazing job she did. Mother, wife, teacher, daughter, aunt, friend. I learned tough-love, strength, independence and self-respect from her. She was my hero and always will be.

Jen McIntyre | Create your badge

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