As I have anticipated this 5th anniversary of my Mom's death, I've felt all kinds of emotions. I think it is probably the hardest anniversary thus far. I'm not sure why, but perhaps I had some "unfinished" grieving to do. This letter is written from the depths of my heart and I wanted to share it with you my faithful readers. The link at the end of my post is to the song, I'll See You Again. It brings me such peace as I listen to it because I do know that I WILL see her again.
My Dearest Mom, when the phone rang the night of November 29, 2008, little did I know of the news awaiting me on the other end. When I heard Dad's quivering voice, I knew the news was not good. His words will forever ring in my ears, "your Mom has had a stroke." He knew when he found you, laying in the bathroom floor, that it was a stroke and he was sitting beside you awaiting the ambulance's arrival.
Tommy and I took off immediately for the hospital while Daddy rode with you in the ambulance. In route I reflected on the sweet visit we had just had that afternoon and when I left, it never occurred to me that I had just had my last visit with you. It makes my heart so sad that you never knew that Daddy and I were there by your side awaiting any encouraging news that the Dr. might give us. He was very vague with us but did tell us that it was a severe brain bleed and that the next 24 hours would be most critical.
The next day your condition continued to deteriorate and that night you were put on a ventilator. Dad and I only left your side for brief times of rest and while we were in route back to the hospital on the 2nd day the Dr. called to tell us that we needed to get to the hospital ASAP. When we arrived he told us the news that no one wants to hear, they had done all they could and the only reason you were still alive was because of the ventilator. By this time, Joel had arrived from DesMoines, and Dad talked with us about the inevitable decision to remove you from life support.
We all knew that you would never want to exist in such a way so, with us by his side, Daddy told the Dr. to remove everything. The Dr. was so, so sensitive to the situation and told us that once they removed everything that we could go in and be with you as you passed from this earth. Mom,it was such a privilege to stand by your side, holding your hand as the Lord reached down and carried you home. You went so very quickly and peacefully and I knew immediately that on Dec. 1, 2008, heaven had just become an even grander place. Mom, I've thought since then how you left this earth the same way you lived on this earth, quietly, without any fanfare.
The next few days and even weeks were a blur. It all happened so suddenly, without warning, and I had to process it before I could really wrap my head around the fact that you were GONE! Over time the Lord helped me to realize what a blessing it truly was that you went so quickly. You were spared suffering, a life in a nursing home and we were spared the agony of seeing you have to live such a life. I remembered back just a couple of weeks before your death while we were out shopping. In conversation you said, "Lea, I hope you never, ever have to care for me in a nursing home, I hope I never end up in one." Never did I even think that in a matter of a couple of weeks your hope would be granted.
To say that Daddy was lost without you would be an understatement! He was more than lost, he was not even the same man and truly, he never has been since. He began almost immediately telling me that he hoped he could find someone that he could spend the rest of his life with. To say that hurt my heart would be an understatement too. I could not imagine him saying such within 6 weeks of your death. But, neither could I imagine the loneliness that he was dealing with after 58 years with the love of his life. He was totally miserable!! I did all in my power to make him happy and that was just not possible. Looking back I should have realized that Daddy would have to work through his grief in his own way and I was going to have to work through mine in my own way. I realize now that I have grieved a little along these past 5 years and am just now coming to a place that I feel I have truly reconciled to your death. I know that Daddy had no idea that he robbed me of so much of my grieving by his dependence on me and his trying hard to move on so quickly. But, we had never walked this path before and if we had it to do over I know that I would do it differently and I feel like Daddy probably would to. But, life has gone on and it always will.
I am so thrilled that you were able to meet and hold your first Great Grandchild just a couple of weeks before your death. I am so sorry that you did not live to meet our little Princess that was born about 10 months after your death. But, I am glad that you did not live to experience some of the sadness that we have experienced since your death. Life has dealt some tough blows and there have been times that I did not know if I would make it. It has been at those times that I have thought the most about you. I knew that if you were still alive you would be praying me on and cheering me on and assuring me that the Lord was and is with me every step of the way.
Mom, I can only hope and pray that when my life on earth ends that my children will have as many precious memories of me as I do of you. I look forward to the day that we are reunited in our eternal home. Meanwhile, I shall "go forth."