That dreaded call that no one wants to get. The call that turns your world upside down and changes you in ways you didn’t think possible. That call.
I have a foster puppy in my care right now and he got sick last night. I don’t know what’s wrong with him. This morning I was sure he was going to die. In a panic I reached out to a friend here for help. “Bring him over quick”, she says.
Just as I’m getting my shoes on, I got ‘the’ call.
My younger sister back in Canada calls to tell me mom hasn’t eaten or drank anything in almost 5 days. She won’t last much longer.
I felt dizzy at first. Then I felt like I got punched in the stomach. Then I felt this huge rush of relief wash over me, then guilt.
You see, we’ve been waiting for this day for almost 10 years. It’s not a surprise, but it is. I was sure mom was going to outlive Betty White and Keith Richards.
But she won’t. And for that, I’m thankful.
Mom has been rotting away in a nursing home, in a diaper, in a wheelchair, being spoon fed mush for a long fucking time. Too long in our opinion but it is what it is.
I’ve talked enough shit about my parents and how horribly I was treated growing up. You can go through my stories and read any of them. I talk about it a lot. It’s healing for me but it’s hopeful for some. I share how I forgave them and moved on. I try to show people, through my stories of abuse, that healing comes through love and forgiveness.
I’ve dragged my parents through the mud enough. This time I promise I won’t. This time I will talk about what an amazing lady my mom turned out to be.
There’s so much good I never shared about my mom. And I think it’s time. Independent of the fact that my childhood was rough to say the least, when all of us girls became adults and had children of our own, she became the mom we longed for.
My mom was smart as a whip. And damn proud of it. Coming from Italy at the age of (shit I don’t remember, 16 maybe?) she had no education and was practically forced to marry my dad, a man she didn’t love, at 18.
She learned how to read and write. She kept up with current events, local news and the community. Mom immersed herself in the church, her work, her grown children and our families.
Learning and being educated was very important to her and she was not afraid to learn new things. At the age of 60, she went to an adult learning centre so she could learn how to write better English. Her goal was to be able to write her own Christmas cards.
It never happened.
She was admired and respected by everyone. She had a smile for everyone she met. Especially her grandchildren. Oh how she adored them. Mom may have not known how to love or raise her own children when we were younger but she certainly made up for it later on in life.
She did everything for us. It didn’t matter what we needed, she would do whatever it took to get it for us. She hated to see us struggle or sad. If dad was being mean to us, she would tell him to shut up and stood up for us. She wasn’t taking any of his shit when it came to her girls. Not anymore.
Mom was the pillar of the community and the church. She was always well dressed, well groomed and took pride in her appearance. She had a beautiful smile and people were always genuinely happy to see her.
She loved to travel. Her and dad often would take 2–3 week winter vacations in Hawaii, Mexico or wherever. She looked forward to those trips.
Mom loved to have people over for dinner. She would whip up a storm and never complain once. She loved to entertain and had a delightful sense of humour.
If we had a lost or lonely friend they were more than welcome to come for dinner too. Her door was open to everyone, whether my dad liked it or not. Dad didn’t rule the roost. Mom did.
Mom was also a very active lady. She liked to eat healthy and stay in shape. She went to aerobics classes, she played bocce, she went for hour long walks daily. Her health was extremely important to her. Her brain health was equally important.
She did whatever the hell she had to do to stay healthy. We were surprised when Alzheimers hit her. She did everything the ‘experts’ said to do to prevent it. Apparently it wasn’t enough.
I miss that mom. I lost her a long time ago. In her early 60’s she started showing signs of early Alzheimers and the disease progressed rapidly. She lasted at home for 3 years before seizures took over her and she became a vegetable.
I miss that mom whose smile lit up a room. Who would do anything for her kids. Who was always there to help us, no matter what.
I miss the mom I could call at anytime crying about whatever struggles I was going through. No matter what time of day or night.
I miss the mom who loved me, finally, more than life itself. I think she was proud of me. I’m not really sure. She just wanted me to be happy. She just wanted to see her girls succeed, stop struggling all the time, and be happy.
I miss her voice. I miss her wit and even her advice, though it wasn’t always the greatest at times.
I miss that mom.
But I lost her a long time ago. And soon she’ll be gone forever. Soon she’ll finally be at peace. Soon, it will all be over. And there will finally be closure.
So, good bye mom.
I’m so sorry the last 10 years of your life were hell. I’m so sorry you had to rot away like that. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, if you knew that’s how your last years would have been you would have asked for us to end it quickly.
I’m sorry that never happened.
I’m sorry I didn’t come visit you as much as I should have in the nursing home when I was still living in Canada. I couldn’t bring myself to see you like that. You weren’t there. There was nothing there.
I didn’t want to see you. I wanted to see my mom. She wasn’t there anymore. In her place was a shell of a woman I didn’t recognize anymore.
I got mad at God for that.
Why her?? Damn you!!!
So, I’m sorry mom. I wish you could see me now. You’d be so proud. I think you’d even come and visit me here and love it.
I’m waiting for the next call any day now from my sister again. The final call. It won’t be much longer. And there will be a huge sigh of relief from all of us. She’s finally at rest.
Bye mom. I love you ❤ See you in heaven.
Peace and Love
xo iva xo