So, where to begin??
The week before September 23rd, I talked to Mom on the phone once. I hadn't talked to her except for one time after we left Illinois and that phone call was pretty much "Hi, I love you, sleep, talk to you soon, I love you, bye". So I called her room on Saturday, September 18th and my Aunt Kathy answered the phone. I asked how she was doing and she said she was sleeping, but she would hold the phone to her ear and maybe she would wake up to talk to me. So, she did and I said "Hi Mom!", and she said "Hi Honey" back to me. I asked how she was and she said OK. There was a bit of silence so I said "I love you Mom" and she said "I love you too" back to me, followed by silence again. I said "Mom, are you there?" and she said "Yes". I asked her if Aunt Kathy was there and she said "Yes", so I said "I love you again" and she said it back to me...this went on for about 5 or 6 exchanges and finally I said "Mom, I love you, give the phone back to Aunt Kathy, I love you" and she just kept saying over and over "I love you". Finally someone took the phone and hung up. That was the last time I talked to my Mom. Sad thing is, was I was annoyed because they let her just lay there and didn't take the phone from her...I guess looking back they didn't want to ruin "my last talk" with her. I will cherish those 3 words everyday that she said to me, over and over.
On September 22nd I talked with my sister about some pads that they were out of to put on the bed and we figured out that Belinda had some and Katie was going to go over and get them the next day to take to Mom. At this point Mom had barely opened her eyes or talked in about a week. I was the last one to really carry on any conversation with her. Katie and I talked on the phone quite a bit and discussed some things that Mom had talked about with us in the hospital, such as where she wanted to be buried, etc. At 4:44am on September 23rd the phone rang and it was Katie. They were at the nursing home and this was it. Mom was developing all of this mucous stuff in her mouth and was causing her breathing to be very labored. The nurse said it was a matter of time. Wow...I couldn't believe it...this was it.
At 5:20 am the phone rang again, I hadn't moved, I was still sitting in the same spot on the bed...my mom had died. I was in shock, I couldn't believe it...the most important person in my life was gone. The woman that gave me life was gone. I am now "parent less"...both of my parents are dead. My children will never see there "Gee-ma", she will never see them grow up, graduate from High School, get married, have kids, etc., etc. This was all I could think of. I told my sister I would call my Aunt and Uncle Phil and she was going to try to get a hold of my Uncle Rick, Uncle Mike was there at the nursing home. Our lives were crushed right before our eyes...and I wasn't there.
I had told myself that I would probably not be there when she went, and I was OK with that. However, the closer it got...the harder that was to wrap my mind and heart around. My mom was there for me always. At each and every main event in my life, and here I was in San Antonio while my Mom died in Illinois. I know it was what had to be and if I had been able I would have been there with her, but the kids had to be at home and in school...so we were here. I had peace and I was thankful for the week we spent with her at my birthday. I just loved her more than anything else in the world and she was gone.
We had talked about driving home when this time came, however the thought of driving 17+ hours with such a heavy heart was not happening. We booked flights and headed out at noon to drive to Dallas to catch our flight to Champaign. That 5 hour car ride was the longest in my life. Everything went pretty smoothly and we got to Champaign around 8:45pm and Uncle Rick and Lucas were there to pick us up. I couldn't keep it together, as soon as I saw him I was bawling. His sister was gone...and my mom was gone...OMG....how are we going to do this?? He took us to Mom's house and Kent and Katie were outside waiting for us. I just held onto my sister and didn't want to let go. Kent and I hugged and it all just seemed surreal. The next day was going to be the hardest ever...planning for my Mom's funeral and visitation.