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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Mother (as in maternal parent) (04/24/08)

TITLE: Letting Go
By Paula Williams


My mother turned 91 on her last birthday. She was blessed with a long life and for the most part experienced very few health problems. In fact, she never even took prescription medicine even though there were times she should have. Never a big eater and a tiny woman, she ate less and less over the last several years dwindling down to 66 lbs. As a result, she was in a great deal of pain because she did not have enough body fat to cushion her skeletal frame. Nothing we could say or do would convince her to eat more.

During the last year of her life, dementia became evident and she experienced episodes of frustration and anger. My father tried very hard to care for her and be patient with her. As her health and mind began to deteriorate, all of us knew that she would not last through the end of the year.

One evening I received a call from my Dad telling me Mom had fallen and hurt herself. When I met him at the emergency room, the doctor stated that her hip was fractured and surgery would be necessary in order for her to survive. After surgery was conducted, the doctor informed us mother would be sent to a nursing home for rehabilitation. Dad was unable to care for her and he worried that if she died, it would be due to something he did or did not do properly. He was scared. While preparations were being made to locate a nursing home that could cater to Momís needs, it fell to me to tell my mother that she would be transferred to a nursing home. I was heartbroken as my mother began to cry and begged me to take her home.

Once at the nursing home, Mom became angry and took the brunt of her wrath upon my father. She accused him of wanting to get rid of her so he could run around as he pleased. No matter how hard we tried, she would not believe that the doctor, not us, had ordered her to go to a nursing home. I comforted my father the best I could and told him that Mom did not really mean the cruel things she was saying to him. I began worrying about his health as he began to experience chest pains due to stress. I prayed to God daily to heal my mother and help my father.

As the days passed, Mom became uncooperative with the nursing staff, refused to eat, would not wear her oxygen mask and ripped out her IV. She became weaker and weaker and began praying and calling out to her mother who passed away decades earlier. I tried to get mother to eat and cooperate in her rehabilitation to no avail. The doctor informed me that Mom did not have the physical reserves to recover from her surgery and was dying. He told me to let her go. That night I told God that I needed to hand over my motherís health to him because I no longer knew what to do.

The next day while I was visiting with Mom, she told me to just let her die. As I began to cry, she said that she loved me and she hugged and kissed me. My mom had not hugged and kissed me or told me she loved me in years! I knew then I needed to tell her all the things I meant to say over the years and hadnít. I told her I loved her and was proud to have her as my mother. Sobbing, I told her I did not want her to die but it was okay for her to go. I told her I would hold her hand when the time came for her to rejoin her family in heaven.

Over the next two days, she told my father, brother and me that she loved us and we told her how much she meant to us. That last day I received a call from the nursing home telling me that my mom was failing fast. I picked up my Dad, called my brother and went to nursing home. Mom was unconscious and her breathing was irregular. As I was holding her hand and praying, Mom drew her last breath. She was finally home at last!

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Sara Harricharan 05/01/08
A bittersweet story! So sad to see what happened leading up to the events that landed her in the nursing home, but happy to see that she did tell her family she loved them and was not alone when she 'left'. Thank you for sharing this! ^_^
Edmond Ng 05/02/08
I am emotionally stirred as I read this article. The day will come when all of us in Christ will meet with joy. Iin the meantime, take care of those around at home, and express more regularly your love for each other. God bless.
Janice Fitzpatrick05/02/08
Vey sad and heart rending account. Moving. I am so sorry for your loss and can feel for you as we are facing a very similiar situation. Hugs and prayers for all of you and your loss. I'm glad for you though that your mom could share her love with you and your family. Great message of love and devotion here. God bless you.
Stacy Jamison05/03/08
I comment with tears in my eyes! You are so brave to share your story. I'm sorry for your loss - God bless you!
Joy Bach 05/04/08
What a touching story. Thanks so much for taking the time to put it in writing and sharing it. It is a huge lesson for all of us.
Leticia Caroccio05/05/08
What a heartwrenching account of a loved one final moments. I felt your pain and anguish. I'm thrilled that your mom got to settle her heart affairs before going home. Though it must've been difficult to share this very personal story, thank you. I hope you find yourself wrapped in His peace. Blessings!
Lyn Churchyard05/07/08
Your story reminded me so much of my own mother's passing. You have done a fine job of sharing those last few days and hours. Yes, we need to tell those around us how much we love them and not leave it until it is too late.
A good take on the topic, well done.
Holly Westefeld05/09/08
Paula, welcome to the challenge. Your moving story brought tears to my eyes. Your title grabbed my attention, since I wrote a poem by the same name shortly after learning my father had terminal cancer. If you would like me to send it to you, see my profile for contact info.