On October 22nd, 2021 at 5:01 PM, my mother died.
She was 65 years old.
She had suffered, for many years, from diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, body aches and pains from having the inability to walk. She had suffered strokes, seizures, and two heart attacks. She’d had sarcoidosis of the central nervous system, a nephrectomy, and dozens of other minor surgeries. She would have hospital stays anywhere from a week to 4 months at a time.
She was a joy to be around.
She was so funny, and silly. No serious birthday cards from her.
She loved Bugs Bunny cartoons.
Every person who walked into our home was greeted with happiness.
My mother had a musical ability second to none in our family. She could play the guitar, banjo, dobro, upright bass, piano, autoharp, harmonica, mandolin, and I’m sure I’m missing something. She could also sing.
She loved all kinds of music, especially singer songwriters: Bread, America, Chicago, The Eagles, Stephen Bishop, Carly Simon, James Taylor, Carol King, Phoebe Snow, Jim Croce, Cat Stevens, Elton John, and countless, countless others. She was also a fan of country and bluegrass music, artists like Alison Krauss, Reba McEntire, Vince Gill, The Isaacs, and so many more.
None of this does her any justice, of course. A human being can’t be summed up by their likes and dislikes, their artistic preferences, etc. What you really wanted was to know her.
She was warm, empathetic. Everyone was “mom” to her. She cried for you. She laughed for you. When things were seemingly hopeless, she prayed for you. She would feed you, too. My mom was the gold standard of compassion and kindness, and the world is so much darker with her passing.
She was a woman of great faith. A devout Christian, though she never rejected anyone who entered her home, and she wanted everyone to be loved and respected. She had the faith that could move mountains, and a stubbornness to wait them out until they did. She was so tough. She was strong. She was a fighter. Things that would have killed you or me, she survived.
Unfortunately, she was in the midst of fighting another illness when she contracted COVID. Her 65 year old battle scarred body was just too tired.
I do not exactly share her faith, but I take comfort in her faith. She is no longer in pain. She no longer gets poked and prodded in hospitals. Her body isn’t beaten and bruised by surgical procedures. She will no longer have to feel lonely while she waited for me to show up during visiting hours. She has, to put it how she would say it, “gone home.” She has met her maker, and I truly believe that if there is a heaven, that a heaven should exist for people like her, then not only is she there, but so is everyone she’s ever loved and cared about. I believe this because I can. I believe it because I want it to be true. I believe it because for her it is true.
I took care of her around the clock for 11 years. I didn’t do it because I had to, I did it because I loved my mom.
I love my mom.
I will so dearly miss her.
I will miss her hugs.
I will miss her kisses.
I will miss her presence.
I will never not miss those things.
I love you, mom, and I will never forget you.
Someday, I hope to see you again.