Being the practical and responsible person that I am taking care of things I'm in charge of is important to me. We had a team retreat the weekend of January 27-29. As one of the women's leaders, it was important that I be there. If Mom's condition had worsened, I would have gone sooner and missed the planning retreat, but as it was, I was able to fulfill my duties.
As I was headed home from Cayucos that Sunday afternoon, my thoughts went towards Mom. I called my sister in Texas and asked how Mom was doing. After hearing her response, my heart was all of a sudden in this broken state ... I couldn't stop crying and thinking about Mom. I could barely stand the thought of waiting until Wednesday to go ... I started praying and asking God to guide me.
I prayed all the way home. When I got there Jim and I talked about it. My heart was aching so badly. I could hardly talk I was crying so much. But I kept saying I didn't want to make a rash move. I wanted to be responsible in my decision. Jim said I should just go early. I spoke with my other two siblings and heard different responses from each.
I just had to do what I felt God was saying to do. And so I called the airlines. It was too late to go that afternoon, but I changed my flight to leave first thing in the morning. And so I packed.
Jim's schedule worked out perfectly to take me to the airport. My flight was on time and my sister Marie was there at the airport to pick me up. James told me to go straight to Mom's ... 'not because' he said, 'but just because'.
We were all wondering if this would be the week Mom would go. We of course didn't know what her final days or moments would be like, but because we were all four there, we just wondered. We picked up Savannah, my niece, from work and went straight over to Mom's.
She was on the couch that afternoon and most of the week. She lay there with her eyes closed not talking. We were quiet. We touched her and held her hand. We told her we were all there and that we loved her.
Mom has never been a touchy, feely kind of person, but she allowed us to be close to her in that way ... some. At one point, I had been rubbing her hand for maybe 3-5 minutes. Her skin was so soft. With her eyes still closed and in her sharp tones that she's always had, she said 'okay, that's enough'. And it was. I was okay with her telling me that. It was Mom. In that brief moment she was the Mom I've always known her to be and I was glad.
It was good that I went early to Texas. An ice storm came in that Monday night and Tuesday we weren't able to leave the house. Everything was still frozen and the temperatures didn't pass 25 degrees on Wednesday either. All flights were cancelled until Thursday. Praise God He had me go early. I likely wouldn't have even been able to fly on Thursday due to backed up flights.
We spent the week going back and forth to Mom's. She wasn't well at all and didn't want many people in the house. Marie, Savannah and I did lots of short and very quiet visits with Mom and then did many random things just to pass the time.
One afternoon Joan was getting some things ready for Mom, so I got to sit next to her. It was a special moment for me ... sitting so close and being able to look at her and touch her. We didn't talk ... she wasn't talking. But we sat. That was the last time I saw Mom sitting up.
My time came when I had to leave. I had considered staying longer ... I was waiting for some sort of sign either with her or something God would show me or say to me. But it didn't come. And so I said my good byes to Mom. I told her how much I love her and mostly just sat quietly with her.
And then Tuesday morning I boarded my plane and flew home. I felt peace about it.
This is a continuing story ... check back for more of my time with Mom if you're interested. To read the first part, click here.
Eleni Palmos says
My heart filled with joy for you reading this. We are all on this journey towards the next life.
Thank you Eleni! We sure are!
What a precious time you had. God spoke and you heard Him directing your steps. Oh, how tender His love is for us. Thank you for sharing your hear, Carolyn. May God continue to give you comfort as you contemplate all that happened as your mom left this earth.