September 25, 2014
Having come from a large family, I have learned how to adjust to many different situations; however, every now and again something or someone will come my way that turns my world upside down. January 4, 1988, was one of those times when everything changed for my family and me. I will never forget that icy cold day in January when I received a call from my sister, “We rushed mom to the hospital.” Time stopped. I thought back a few weeks to right before Christmas when I told Dan, my husband, that I wanted to go see my mom. ” I know you want to go see your mom,” he responded,” but with the bad weather I just don’t see how we can.” That winter was one of the worst: we had ice and snow for what seemed liked months.” I am going with or without you,” I announced”; “because my heart is telling me this will be the last Christmas I will ever spend with her.” Now mind you I knew my mother had not been in the best of health for years; however, I had not a clue that her health had declined to the point of her being taken away from us that soon. When I finally snapped back into reality, I realized I was still on the phone. I told my sister we would be there as soon as we could.
We packed the cars so we could get on the road. Dan, two of my nieces, and I were in our car and in another car were my two sisters, a niece, and a family friend. I left my two children at home with their grandparents. With the road conditions being as bad as they were, I felt it better to leave the children behind. The weather was extremely dangerous, snow and ice everywhere; 2 we had to drive very carefully. I found myself looking out the car window thinking, how beautiful it was, the snow was glistening like a winter wonderland, I can't be going to say my last goodbye to my mother. All of a sudden I was wrenched right back into reality when I realized the car was spinning out of control and the girls in the back were screaming. We had hit a patch of ice and ended up in a ditch. Thank God no one got hurt. At that point, we had to all climb into one car, and believe me that was a sight to see. With all the luggage, we had to tie the trunk closed with a piece of wire. A six-hour road trip became eleven.
Eventually pulled up to the hospital, and all I could think was how beautiful it looked with the lights from the hospital glistening on the snow and ice, like a winter wonderland. The funny thing was, as much as I wanted to run to see my mother, I was also afraid to walk into those hospital doors, not knowing if she was still alive or if she had already passed. As beautiful as it was outside, it was depressing and cold inside. I walked in my mother's room. I stood in the doorway for a few minutes, struggling to take that first step towards her bed. All I could see were the tubes. All I could here was the beeping of the monitors, the sound of the ventilator that was, for the most part, keeping her alive. After what seemed like forever I walked to the bed, held her hand, said a prayer, and told her I would miss her. I stayed in her room until she took her last breath. As we were making all the arrangements and trying to get my brother there from Germany, we found out that my mother had been diagnosed with a kidney disease earlier in the year, which is what lead to her passing. What took…