I know, I kinda I left you hanging last week. I needed to get the information out but couldn’t bring myself to tell you how we got there. My mothers story is long, and parts are unattractive so how about I just cut to the chase, Friday, March 22nd.
Friday morning I woke up with the plan. I would go to work, meet up with my Ex and his mother at my house. My daughter was planning to spend the week with him, and his family as she does on most school breaks. We’d go by the hospital, visit with my mom, then they’d continue on their travels. I would continue my day fighting with hospital administrators and doctors to try to get my mom transferred out of the hospital to a facility where she could be outside, and we could visit anytime and even bring our dogs.
That was the plan. Or at least my plan, see at this point we had exhausted all other avenues. We knew she wasn’t getting better. We knew I couldn’t bring her home, and I was still chasing time, thinking that I actually had some.
So, Friday morning goes off without a hitch, it was such a beautiful day. I taught my first class of the day which is my favorite class of the week (shhhh don’t tell even though every one already knows). Funny how I teach 6 mornings a week at the same club to the same people, same format, yet fridays always feel different. This week was no exception, my students worked harder and inspired me more than they ever have. Off to the next club which is again a favorite, but bitter sweet because my Mom used to take this class. My heart belongs to my seniors, (despite my cool exterior) and I did love having my mom participate and become friends with some of my favorite people. I gave my weekly “Mom” report to my students, her friends, taught, even threw in a little senior yoga and made it back home to meet with the family. Perfect.
We arrive to the hospital before 1pm which left me exactly 4 hours to do my magic before I had to leave to teach my evening class. We walked in all smiles and laughter only to be stared down by my mother, who was not laughing. See, what I failed to mention is that she was supposed to be transfered the day before and this little family reunion was supposed to be taking place outside with the dogs and other friends…. but I digress…
Her transfer was cancelled and she wasn’t happy about it. I know the look so I excused myself to find her case worker and see if I could make mountains move.
Apparently, I can’t. No bed, no moving, no nothing. For how long I ask? Maybe Tuesday or Wednesday they answer. Shit. Ok. So I put my big girl face on and went to tell Mom the news. Needless to say it didn’t go over well. Now let’s remember that my mom had brain cancer and the tumors were right on her behavioral sites. That was rough because one minute she was her and the next she wasn’t. Her reaction was one that I had seen before and scared the shit out of me. First the kicking, then the screaming, then the silence. It was the silence that was the hardest. She then turned to me and said “I can’t do this anymore, I am so tired….please” The look in her eye told me exactly what she meant. I said “Ok mommy, when?” and she said “tomorrow”. Fuck. My daughter immediately started crying and said “NO! I want to be here, and my mother turned to her and said “GO, Go with your father”…. Ok pause. If you knew my mom and her relationship with my daughter, and my relationship with her father, you would KNOW that she’d never say that unless she was serious.
I put my head down and cried, because thats what I do. Then I got up and said “ok”…… What happens next is truly from God because there is no way I could’ve have orchestrated the rest of this day.
I called my brother and he and my niece jumped in the car and drove in like they did at least 100 times before from palm springs. I called in the pallative team to make sure all the right questions were answered and asked and text the people that I knew she would want to see. She was told she could eat anything she wanted.. so off went my Ex and daughter to get her a cheeseburger and shake. In the interim, she had popsicles and doughnuts and anything, and everything she hadn’t eaten in the past nine weeks.
Somehow in the midst of the madness I expressed how disappointed I was that she never got to go outside… Her nurse, who was an angel I am sure of it, said hang on and left her room with a smile…. She returned to tell us that she had made special arrangements to have my mom taken out onto the helipad of the hospital! Mom was going outside…..
At 4:31pm March 22nd, my mother was the first patient ever to on to the helipad of LLMC. Along with many of her doctors, nurses, a TV crew (kidding, but it was filmed). Both her children and two of her grandchildren she made history…….Of course she did.
It was the perfect moment. The view of the valley was beyond anything she had seen from any of her hospital rooms that’s for sure. Once we got up and got her settled she just closed her eyes, soaked in the sun and cried. Then we all cried. Tears of joy and sadness mixed together. She looked at me and said “I am really ready now, I am going to just fly away”……
And thats that. The rest of the story goes as you’d expect. We eventually went back to her room, and everyone eventually left.
Prior to that we laughed, watched her eat that cheeseburger and of course, cried. Friends came in and prayed with her. I had the opportunity to connect to my niece in a way that touched my soul, and I will never forget. She had family, friends, and food and it was just perfect.
In the midst of the “party” I realized that we still had important business to take care of and left her room to speak to her doctor about organ donation. When I asked about donating her organs her doctor asked me if I would be interested in donating her body to science. I didn’t even hesitate “yes of course” I said. Her doctor looked at me funny so I asked “why are you giving me the big eyes?”. She said “No big eyes” (ok, if anyone knows the big eyes its me, sister), so I called my brother over thinking I had made a mistake. He was right with me in the decision to donate. The doctor explained that not too many people are willing to let go of their loved ones bodies after death. Being that my brother is an educator, and my job is to increase the fitness level of people both young and old it made perfect sense to us. In fact, in all of this, that decision has given me the most peace. Knowing that she can be a part of something bigger than her inspires me. Having lost both my parents to cancer wants me to find out why… but that’s another blog.
The next day my brother, nephew and I met early at the hospital. Wearing our Rams gear to honor her favorite team we had a some sweet conversation, and then well you know the rest. (if not, read the next blog)
Every morning I wake up and forget that she is gone. Everyday I cry. Everyday I miss her and EVERYDAY I think about our perfect day.
Thank you Mom for giving me so much in life and after… because of you I am not alone. I can call my brother without hesitiation, love my “kids” without boundries and sleep knowing that you are still here all around me making sure that I am just fine…..
“So we live life like a video, when the sun is always out, and you never grow old and the champange’s always cold and the music’s always good, and the pretty girls just happened to stop by in the hood. Without a wrinkle in today ’cause there’s no tomorrow, Just a picture perfect day to last a whole lifetime and it never ends cause all we have to do is hit rewind. So lets stay in the moment, reminisce, talk some shit, forever young is in your mind. Leave a mark that can’t erase neither space nor time. So when the director yells cut we’ll be fine, we’re forever young.”- Jay-Z
We will be honoring my mothers life on her birthday June 8th. Deets to follow.