Tuesday, September 8, 2009

In Her Honor...


She sang it , the words softening into a whisper. “If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear flowers in your hair…” She laid her head down and drifted off to sleep, the last dose of Morphine pulling her away into dreamland.

For the last 6 months, I had been trying to wrap my head around the idea of life without my mom. She was dying. Her cancer had spread and her once vigorous fight had become a slow waiting game. The three people she had spent her adult life taking care of had become her caregivers.

My dad, my sister, and I came together as a team to walk her through the last months of her life. They were filled with surgery, dr. appointments, chemotherapy, pain control, planning how to live, and finally…planning how to die.

As I sat with my mom one summer afternoon, a pen and pad of paper in hand, we outlined the details of her funeral. “What music do you want to be played?” My mom listed off all of her favorites, from Cat Stevens to Linda Ronstadt. When she thought of San Francisco, she lit up. I knew she loved that song and it would be perfect. The planning went on and she grew tired. As I sat there in silence with her, I thought of the past few months’ events and how they had led us to this place, my mom’s hand in mine, watching her peacefully sleep, while I wrote, “She doesn’t want any sad songs at the funeral.”

How did I get here? How could I do this?

I thought back at all of the ways how, instead of drowning in our own sorrow, my family had found the strength and courage to do whatever it took to make my mom comfortable and at peace. It was hard to see her suffer, both physically and emotionally. My mom was our protector and I knew it had to be excruciating for her to helplessly watch us experience such grief and pain.

Those eight months were the most difficult of my life, but they were the most poignant.
We were the only three people in the room when my mom took her last breath. And…as traumatic and difficult as those moments were, an unexplainable bond was formed between the three of us. We shared a life altering experience in that room on September 8, 2007 and I will

never

be the same.

I look back now and see myself going through the motions, almost controlled by something else. It was more surreal than anything I’ve ever known. My dad, sister, and I will often ask each other, “How did we do that?” But, we know. We did it for her. For 33 years she was always there when I needed her. She was more than what she had to be. From her husband and from her daughters,

she deserved

nothing less

than

everything.


Mom, I hope we did you proud.

8 comments:

Lance said...

SMPS,

Your mom is certainly alive in you and Bri. Of course she is proud of you and smiling down upon your life and your Darlings. What more could parents want... your Perfect! (Seriously, you never ever ditched school? Come on.) But when you get sad just think of how busy your mom is taking care of all those pets you had growing up. I bet dogs still shed in heaven. Thank you for sharing important memories with us.

Katie said...

This was a beautiful post Sara. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Keli said...

I feel your words so deeply. It's all so true. The motions, being led by something else, it all makes so much sense to those of us that have been there. I feel your sorrow, and I'm so deeply sad for your loss. But I know time really does heal. At least a little. I'm thinking of you! Hang in there!

Keri said...

That was beautiful Sara. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family today.

shelene.a.cooley said...

I love this. My dad passed away Sept 11th 2006 and it was almost the same he was sick for 9 months and we brought him home to die and me and my brothers and my mom were there when he took his last breath it is such an experience you cant even describe. Your a great daughter and I know how hard it is to go on with out them.

heathermommy said...

Beautiful, Sara! I know your mom is so proud of you.

Lindsey Wood-Felstead said...

Sara,
I don't know how you ever did it during those months, but you did and I know your Mom is proud of you. You are so much like her. Kind, Smart, Thoughtful, and Beautiful. She taught you well. I can only imagine how happy she is watching you raise those cute kids and seeing how you've picked yourself up after such a tragedy and continued with life. Hang in there! I'm thinking of you and am here if you need a friend!

Jacey said...

So sweet! You are a beautiful, thoughtful, smart, caring, wonderful mother yourself! I know she's watching you from heaven thinking "I raised her well". Keep your chin up Sara, your kids will thank you someday.