What can you say when you loose your best friend? One day you are making plans to travel the world and the next given the news that your mother will not make it through the night.
March 6, 1998 was the most surreal evening I had ever experienced in my life. My beloved mother was taken into surgery at 10 pm and I, forever hopeful, did not realize the seriousness of her illness. My husband, however, silently held in the pain for he knew she would not make it through the night.
While my mother was in surgery, my husband and I silently stood outside of the hospital, waiting. Lost within our own thoughts, I focused on a single tree on the hospital grounds surrounded with the most dramatic light pouring through its foliage. It was extremely hypnotic and as I stared into the light, I saw my childhood pass before my eyes. My glorious, loving mother was in every scene caring for me: laughing with me and loving me. I knew then I lost her but was not ready to let go of her -- not now, not ever.
Hours passed and my mom was taken into recovery. The surgery did not go as expected. Since I was my mother's health care proxy, the surgeon wanted to speak with me but I avoided him. My mother had survived so many illnesses in her lifetime and I was convinced that this too would pass. I needed a miracle. I expected a miracle and I needed to see my mother now.
Immediately asking for a priest, I walked into the recovery room and found my mom. The nurses tried to calmly prepare me for what to expect, but I was only interested in being with my mother and caring for her. Her poor body was hooked up to all types of tubes and life-support machines and her body ballooned to three times her size. I needed to touch her and, standing over her bed, reached for her hand and asked her if she knew her family was with her. She squeezed my hand in response and that became the only form of communication she had with me for the remainder of the night.
We prayed over her bed; I caressed her; I loved her but nothing was improving. I was oblivious to everyone and anything around me except her: my mommy. Why, Dear Lord, why now? I need her, you don't, I thought. Ironically, even though I was a married forty year-old woman, I still trusted my mother to have all the answers. I still relied on her and still expected to be babied as she always babied me. Now it was my turn and I couldn't even hold her. I couldn't even remember the words to any prayers--I was stuttering through 'The Our Father' but didn't care for I felt the Lord honored any feeble attempts we were making.
Hours later, the time finally came when the head nurse approached me about switching off all life-support machines. I knew my mother's wishes but I also was in conflict with what I wanted. I was not ready, and wanted everyone to leave me alone with my mother. We hadn't had enough time. I needed time. But I also knew what she would want and I knew her poor body was tired.
Praying for strength, I motioned for the nurse to go ahead and turn off the machines. I signed the papers and, thinking I had time, went upstairs to her hospital room to gather her belongings. Accompanied by my brother, I remember nothing of that journey except for when I returned to the recovery room and then I knew. I looked into my husband's eyes and knew she was gone. My mother was gone and it was then I fell to the floor feeling as though every part of my insides was sucked out me like a vacuum.
March 7, 1998 at 12:00 p.m. my mother was called home.
Shortly after my mom's passing, my dad became very ill and underwent a five-bypass surgery. Again, the doctors tried to prepare me that my dad might not make it but, thankfully, he had. After his surgery, my husband decided that we should care for my father in our home and so he has lived with us ever since.
Since my mother's passing, I hadn't had much time to think of much due to the fact that I had to nurse my dad and I functioned as best as I could. There were many times I would forget and pick up the phone to call mom, or be in a store and want to buy her something or smell a scent that reminded me of her. Their memory never leaves you, yet life must go on.
One day, my husband came home from work and after looking at me nonchalantly mentioned that he thought I was pregnant. I was in disbelief but took the test anyway and sure enough the test was positive. I was pregnant! At 42 years old, seventeen months after my beloved mother passed away, I gave birth to a healthy, beautiful 8-1/2 pound little girl. I then knew the graciousness and goodness of our Lord. He knew how deeply I loved my mother and, yet, now with a little child I had to finally accept my mother's passing and tend to my baby and her grandchild.
While my mother was living, I miscarried four times yet seventeen months after her passing I gave birth. Laura is the miracle I prayed for the night of my mother's surgery and my reminder of a truly gracious God. He did hear my prayers that night after all only not in the way I understood it to be.
In 2003, when my daughter was four years old, I thought she was old enough to be taken to her grandma's gravesite. I was nervous because I didn't know how my Laura would react. Once we reached my mother's site, my daughter, at first, stared blankly at the gravesite. I observed silently expecting to carry her somberly back to the car. Within minutes, however, my Laura joyfully ran back to our car and grabbed all her toys out of backseat and 'decorated' grandmas grave with her dolls and stuffed animals. My daughter was fully aware that grandma was in heaven yet felt the need to tend to her grandmother's gave as she saw fit. As I witnessed this joy, my heart filled with such peace and I knew my mother was pleased.
Upon departing, my little girl grabbed my hand and together we recited the entire 'Our Father' and it was then that I realized that my mother is always with me and that I never have to let her go. I am very fortunate I am to have had such a wonderful loving mom. I celebrate my mother daily as she continues on through me and through her grandchild and generations to follow. And, most importantly, I thank God daily.
Judi Lynn Lake successfully runs her own advertising agency which handles everything from logos, branding, videos and websites while continues to work closely with self-published authors from design to promotion. To learn more visit http://www.judilake.com