My mother, Fran, went to be with God on Wednesday, 08 May 2013. I last spoke to her that Monday. She never really went to the doctor, but yet never complained of anything. She was only 65 and very spunky. Her friends were in their mid 30s or early 40s. She went to Las Vegas last year to visit a friend, June. She ate out all of the time. After all, she was single and never remarried after my parents were divorced in early 1990. She said she would never find someone who love her like my father did. Which still begs the question as to why she initiated the divorce. In any event….
She was admitted to the emergency room at around 4am the morning she passed. She had the wits to call 9-11 from her condo in Lake Worth, FL, complaining of pain and some tingling in her right arm and leg. They found that my mom was very dehydrated and gave her IV fluids. Around 8am that morning she would have her last conversation on the phone with a friend and coworker at the nail salon. She stated she was feeling better. However, she didn’t realize the angiograph showed major blockages of her arteries in her arm and leg.
At 12pm, they prepped my mom for surgery to remove the blockages. At 12:58pm, she went into cardiac arrest and was gone.
I was at work at MacDill Air Force Base that morning as my wife and I live in the Tampa, FL area. I check my voice mail throughout the day as we are not permitted to bring cellphones into the facility. I checked the voicemail at 11:20am and had a message from a male nurse and then another from the surgeon. Apparently she didn’t want to call me and worry me. If she had known the issues earlier on, I could have been there for her. It was only when she knew she required surgery that she alerted them of my phone number.
I left work immediately when I heard she was going into surgery soon. I need to go home and grab a bag of clothes and head to Palm Beach County. Then I got the call that she was going into cardiac arrest as I was nearing downtown, where my wife works…she was at lunch at the time. I became more panicked and drove faster, though I knew that wouldn’t help. I told my wife that she now had to leave and come with me….we were both scared.
As I was nearing my house, I received the last call from the surgeon, somberly telling me my mom had passed. Somehow I made it home in just enough time to break down in front of the door. I didn’t want to call my wife right away as she was driving home. I made some calls to my father, her friends, my friends, and my boss and coworkers. I was overcome with shock and grief.
Though I was overcome in that moment, tears stopped momentarily. I don’t know why…but they did. I had to pull myself together enough to pack, arrange to have our little dog boarded for a while, though I didn’t know when we would be back.
I have no siblings and live 3 hours from my mom, though my father and his wife live a short 4 miles from where mom was.
I loved my mother very much. Though there were times we didn’t get along, she always would say, “I may not like you now, but I always love you!!!” She was a strong willed woman who share in the same sick sense of humor as I did.
My handling of my grief has been difficult. Going home to settle the estate initially seems nice as I am staying with my dad and his wife and I love visiting with them. But, I know why I am really there. We donated her clothes and thank God for my wife and my father’s wife for doing that. That has to be the next hardest thing to do next to when I went to the hospital the night after she passed to pick up her effects. That was the worst part of this.
I was given a large clear bag. In that bag were the clothes she wore into the hospital, the necklace she wore, wallet, and her keys. I will never forget that night…ever.
I feel her around me, but my grief is stronger than ever. I cry out of nowhere, but I take comfort that the last conversation I had with her was happy and loving.
She passed right out of the blue and her soul went into the blue skies above that day. I work through my grief through writing and photography. Oh, some counseling helps too.