October 17, 2008

It's All About Love

On this day in 2006, I sat in a hospital room in Baton Rouge and watched my mother die. She had been in a coma for almost two days and I had been with her the entire time. I had grown accustomed to her deep, loud breathing - somewhat like a snore, somewhat like a gurgle. I could be across the room or in the hall, but if I could hear that breathing, I knew she was still alive. Or, as alive as one is in a coma.

Neal's parents had come to be with us - my mother and me - and even though we were engaged in conversation at the time, I knew the moment she left. There was suddenly a deafening silence and the breathing stopped. I remember walking over to her bed, in disbelief, and announcing to my inlaws that she was gone. Many times over the years I had mentioned to people how hard it would be to lose my mother and how much I dreaded the day we would part. The one thing I had not given much thought to, until I was faced with the reality, is how orphaned I would feel.

A few days ago, I was corresponding via email with a family member and I mentioned the upcoming anniversary of my mother's death. I stated how much I miss her and questioned if it ever gets any easier. My family member replied , "It does, but it's awfully hard to describe. The way I have come to think of these things is that you don't "get over it" as much as "learn to live with it". I think the immediacy of it fades at last, and then you've a calmer sense of what you HAD, slowly overtaking the pain of what you've LOST."

The night before my mother went into a coma, we were chatting and she was talking about the important things in life, while I mostly listened and agreed. While I can't recall the exact content of the discussion, the one thing I do remember is her statement to me, "It's all about love, you know?" Later that evening, we said our goodnights and I love yous and some time in the night she fell into a coma. The last words I heard her utter were about love, and those words were a perfect example of who she was.

So, on days like today, when I'm feeling sad and orphaned and missing her terribly, I have to remind myself of what I had instead of what I lost. How lucky I am to have shared my life with such an incredible woman. She was a woman who was always giving and asking little in return. She was a peacemaker. She was an entertainer. She was deeply devoted to her God and her family. She was kind and she was wise. She was full of life and love. She was pure goodness. She was my mother.

It's all about love, you know?


LiveWorkDream said...

Oh Lilla, I'm so very sorry you lost your Mom at such a young age. My husband did too, and I feel for anyone who has lost a parent. My sympathies.

Lilla said...

Thanks, Rene.

Robbyn said...

I just read this post, and I'm all teary...we just lost Jack's mom a few weeks ago, and we were the only ones with her in hospice the last two months. I, too, had those days and nights beside her bed, listening to the labored breathing, and was honored to be the one there when she died...your words bring that time back to me so poignantly. Thank you, Lilla, for your kind words on my recent post at the collaborative site. Actually, I was pretty much hating what I wrote and had gone back into Wordpress to delete the bulk of it (such as the whole first part, which now to me seems overly silly), but saw your comment. I really appreciate your words of affirmation...you have a wonderful site here, and I really appreciate your taking the time to write what you have...thank you! :)

This post is beautiful...so glad you shared it

Lilla said...

Robbyn, sorry to hear of your recent loss. When my mom died, I wondered why she chose the time she did to go - when she had been in a coma for two days and could have gone at any moment. Someone said to me that maybe she waited for my inlaws to get there, so that I wasn't alone, which makes perfect sense really. It was a very difficult time, but I am so glad I was there with her until the end. Thanks for the compliments on my blog. I am really enjoying yours as well. You are a talented writer. What did we ever do before the Internet???

Susie Hoot Mccoy said...

I have been reading your blog, and truly enjoying the wonderful woman that you have become. I know that alot of this is because of your wonderful mother. I remember her as such a kind and caring woman who made everyone feel so loved and important. I was so glad that I was able to see her again at our 10 year high school reunion. She was one of my favorite moms.

I was the last person to talk to my dad before he died. I told him that he would be ok and I would make sure that my mom was ok. I squeezed his hand and he passed moments later. Your last conversation with your mom was about love and that is exactly how I see my last moments with my dad. He knew that I would help take care of the one person he was scared to leave...my mom.

Thank you for leading me to your blog. It has been both uplifting as well as fun to read.

Lilla said...

Dearest Susie - Yo make me blush with your compliments and I thank you! I do believe, too, that all the good things about me come from my parents who were both very compassionate and kind people. I am so glad you have fond memories of my mother. I remember your sweet mom and dad as well. We were both very blessed to have had the parents we did!