Monday, November 9, 2009

Every New Beginning Is Some Other Beginning's End...

The title is part of a song lyric, 'Closing Time', by Semisonic. But I chose that as the title for this entry, because yesterday, a part of my life ended, and I began a new chapter. Yesterday, quite suddenly and unexpectedly, my mom died.

It was a lovely, warm day here, and around 12:30, my mom went to the kitchen to fix herself some lunch. I remember thinking that I was glad that she felt well enough to get out of her room and move about. I was in my room, getting ready to go do some much needed yard work, and Chickenhead was with me, talking and watching cartoons.

Suddenly, we heard a loud crash. Chickenhead and I looked at each other and ran to the kitchen. We found my mom, lying on the floor and holding her head. I asked her if she hit her head and she said yes. I asked her if she knew what happened, as she's had some history of blackouts and falling. She said she thought she passed out. As I got ready to call 911, I sent Chickenhead down to the manhole to get the Husband.

I was on the phone with the paramedics when she began to have trouble breathing. I don't think there is any way I can ever forget that sound, or the feeling of utter helplessness that I felt. The Husband ran up the stairs and began trying to talk to her to get her to respond, and he was trying to get her pulse. The paramedics came quickly, less than four minutes, I think. It was a swarm of people that descended upon the Casa, and they began working on her immediately. Everyone was asking questions at once. I was running around, trying to find mom's purse, her list of medications, giving out her name, date of birth, our phone number and anything else they could think to ask. They were just doing their job, and they did it remarkably well.

The paramedics gave her meds to try to get her heart rate back, they even shocked her. They got a heart rate, but it was weak. Once they got her to the hospital, they worked on her there too, but they just could not get her back. From the time she fell in the kitchen, to the time they pronounced her death, it was a little over an hour. The ER doctor believes it was either a massive heart attack or a pulmonary embolism that caused her to go in to cardiac arrest.

The rest of yesterday and last night, I was numb and in shock. Telling Chickenhead (who was over at my FIL's house while we were at the hospital) was the hardest thing I've ever done as a parent. My son has never had anyone close to him die, unless you count Pete the Parakeet las year. We hugged and had a good cry together, and we reminded each other that the love you have for someone never goes away.

The Husband, his family and my friends have all been wonderfully supportive. I don't know what I would have done without any of them there. My family is very small, and I'm grateful to my cousin Brenda, for meeting us up at the hospital, and for coming in to the room with me to say goodbye to my mom. There were a couple of other family members who were shall we say, less than stellar, but that is their issue, not mine.

In so many ways, this end is a new beginning. Even though my mom would at times frustrate me, I will miss her desperately. I will miss sharing 'Maxine' cartoons with her, I will miss hearing her talk about this or that, even if she had told me the story already. Our relationship was sometimes strained, but there was never any doubt that we loved each other. My little family here at the Casa now has to reset itself. We will adapt and we will learn to go on, not only because we have to, but because it's also what my mom would have wanted.

Much as I lost my Aunt Judy last year to heart disease, it also played a huge part in my mom's health issues and ultimately her death yesterday. I'm telling you, as much as I'm telling myself right now, take care of your heart! I'm going to renew my commitment to myself to get healthy, thanks to my mom. There's a history of heart disease in both my mother's and my father's family, and now more than ever, that scares me. It's time for me to take good care of myself, so that I hopefully never have to put Chickenhead through anything like this. Be good to yourself!

10 comments:

Disciple said...

I'm sorry to hear about your mom. I really admire how you handled the situation. I would've totally freaked out... Sometimes the fear, the pain, or the depression... or pretty much any feeling can be totally overwhelming. I remember when I was really young, my mom choked on a food and almost died in front of my eyes. I saw the paramedics come and work on her. It was the most terrifying time of my life. I don't know what its like to lose my mom, but I do know what it's like to almost lose her. I admire your strength.

Sunny said...

You must have been a pretty good daughter to have your mom living with you. I hope it brings you comfort to know you did what you could for her in her last days.

Kelly said...

I'm so sorry...

Carol said...

Hugs to you doll! Call me...whenever you wanna chat/laugh/cry or sit in silence with a friend!

Lola said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

bethany said...

so very sorry for your loss, especially the suddenness of it. may you find a place for all of your feelings, and peace.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that I am sorry for your loss.

Lurker Girl said...

I know I've sent you an email, but reading your posted just made my heart cry for you again.

You know I have had the experience of sudden loss and I feel your pain so very much--the loss of a parent is just devistating and I think about you each day and keep you in my prayers.

Peace..

Ashley said...

I'm sorry Kelley. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

cathycan said...

It's funny how just reading someone's reflections on their relationships, joys and struggles allows you to know a person,albeit,in a very simple way.
As a far off blog-friend, I'm sorry for your loss and grateful for your sharing the experience with us. Very powerful stuff.