I hope my mom knew these 10 things before she passed awayCategory: Primary Menu Life Lessons
Losing a parent is one of the hardest things I think any child will ever go through. If you were to ask me as a child, as a teenager and even in my 20’s what my biggest fear in life was I would have instantly told you “losing my mother.” My mom was my rock, my world, my role model, my confidant, my biggest cheerleader and also the first person in this world who I can say I knew would love me unconditionally no matter what. We were so close, in a way that only a mother and daughter can be, and if you were to ever see us together the first thing she would do was hug and kiss me and brag to the closest person near us and say “this is my baby!” She loved me with all of her heart, gave more than she had and even five months after she left me to go back Home, I am still in shock that she is no longer with me. There is huge void when you lose your parent, but you will always have a need for your mom. There is an aching feeling inside that you can’t explain because they are gone and their absence is so evident in everything you do.
When my mother sat me down back in July and told me that she had something to tell me I just knew it was bad but I didn’t realize how bad. After weeks of having pain in her back that she assumed was a pinched nerve or a torn muscle from tending to her garden, she went for some tests and a large mass was found on the apex of her lung. She had tried to keep it from me, as parents always doing, being the selfless soul she was because she didn’t want to upset me (ME!) with the news. I have to say that at the time it didn’t even hit me what it meant. I didn’t know much about cancer let alone which cancers or which stages are terminal or advanced, or not curable. We hugged and cried but I had sensed so much optimism that I never knew my mom would wind up dieing from cancer.
I didn’t think this was the end, I thought for sure that if you follow the doctors orders, have good care you will be fine. Fast forward to only seven months after her official diagnosis and I was sitting with my mom on the couch holding her hand as she took her last breathes on this earth. I was still naive even the week leading up to her death that she was going to be leaving me. That thought was subconscious at the time, I was more concerned with making my mom feel loved, special, not alone, comfortable…I didn’t think will she be gone in a week from now and what will I do. Now that five months have gone by, in the blink of what seems like an eye, there are a few things I hope my mother knew before she passed away…something we always look back in retrospect and ask ourselves when we lose someone we love so much.
10. I hope my mother knew that I am so thankful that we didn’t have everything we ever wanted growing up. While there were surely times that I may have whined as a child to have something that a classmate had, or ask for a shiny new something or other, I am so glad she didn’t give me everything. It was the best gift she could have gave me to give me nothing sometimes. I know I told her that, but I hope in those last moments she knew that I appreciated that she let me learn on my own what was important to have and what wasn’t, and just how much more I value things I work for now than being handed them.
9. In the last two months of my mother’s cancer she was sad and depressed because she started to lose the ability to do for herself. I know that bothered her, but I hope she knew that being able to step in and do things for her made me happy. Our roles reversed and I have to say that it gave me so much joy and pride to be there to step in and help her. Even the smallest action like changing her clothes or washing her hair, it made me feel good to do that for her like she did for me so many times as a child. I hope she knew it made me happy to do that for her.
8. One day while going through my childhood jewelry that my mom stored in a safe place for me she showed me the diaper pin that she had on me when she brought me home from the hospital. My mom saved everything, and when we looked at those small trinkets only a week before she passed away, she said to me “now Adrienne, these are for when you have a baby someday.” I hope that in those minutes after she said that she didn’t hurt too badly. I am sure she knew in her mind she would never meet my children, never be blessed to hold her grandchildren. I just hope that those images and thoughts didn’t hurt her too badly. I know they hurt me but I didn’t say anything.
7. I hope that my mother enjoyed spending time with me in the last months of her life, even if it meant just watching tv on the couch together. Many days she was too weak to walk or get off the couch, so we just sat and watched movies, sometimes without saying a word. I hope that I gave her comfort just having a person in the room with her that loved her so she knew she wasn’t alone in this fight.
6. People always say they want cancer patients to “fight”, but I hope my mother knew that her dieing did not mean she was quitting. Leaving her body did not mean she didn’t fight just as hard, or that she gave up, it just meant her soul was ready to go do other things. I whispered to her that last night together, before she left this world around 1:04 am, that if she was tired that it was okay to rest. I hope that as she left me and passed into Heaven she knew that her fight was worth it and that it was not a defeat.
5. They say that the last sense to go before death is the sense of sound. I had been reading in the days before my mother went into hospice care that this was true, and I made sure that I never stopped talking to my mom, or talk around her like she couldn’t hear me. I made sure to keep touching her, giving her a sense of love and affection which she always craved for. As she passed I held her hand and rubbed her hair gentle (as she did with me as a child when I was sick) and I told her so many things, I just hope that she heard me as she slipped into Heaven.
4. I hope my mother was not in as much pain as she looked like she might be in. That was one thing that always hurt my heart, was watching my strong mom become so frail before my eyes. To me, as a child, my mom could crush stone and seeing her health deteriorate to 85 lbs was the hardest thing to get out of my mind. All I could do in the end was make sure she was clean, comfortable and not in too much pain. While she was on medicine to help with that, I know in the last few days talking was even challenging for her. I hope she was not in pain in the last days she was here, and I hope that now she is free as a bird from the body she was given.
3. Growing up my mother was so proud of me, so proud. She would brag and tell everyone about any accomplishment I had and I realize now it was because to my mom I was her most precious piece of work. She invested all of her time and life into me and my brother, giving for us so many times and always going without. She spent nights and mornings and weekends running us to practices, classes, airports, etc. and she was thrilled anytime we made the paper or did something great. I hope that my mom knows just how proud I was of HER. She did the bravest thing, she looked cancer in the face and took her diagnosis with such dignity. She never once complained “why me” and she never pitied herself. She made me so proud to be her daughter, she was the most brave person I know…I hope she knew that, though I wrote that to her in every card.
2. I hope my mom knew that my life would never be the same without her. Though I did get married two months later, and have someone to be with me to grow and live my life with, I hope she knew that life would go on but she would never be forgotten. I hope she knew that I would have a husband who would love and protect me, but I would still always need my mom. She told my husband (then fiance) as her last words to him “you better take care of my baby”…as if she was passing the torch. I hope she knows how seriously he took that and that he would not let her down.
- Lastly, I hope that my mom knows that she was loved by so many people. Many times in sickness you feel like you are alone. You lose the ability to go out and do things with friends, visit your favorite places and you begin to live your life in a room. Many times I felt so awful that my mom lost the ability to get up, drive to the store, do the normal things we take for granted. She spent the last few months of her life in a living room, on a couch, in front of a tv and that still bothers me to this day. Cancer took so much from her, and so quickly. But even though she couldn’t be out in the world anymore, she touched so many people in it. She had cards and flowers and treats every week arriving for her, and it made her smile, and honestly I think sometimes it surprised her. I hope she knew how many people she touched, and how many people loved her, including and most especially ME.