I had left the hospital and ran to my house to grab some of my stuff so I could sleep there. They had this baby blue, fake leather, recliner chair in my moms room and that was going to be my bed for the night. Aunt Debbie decided she wasn’t going to stay. Instead she was going to go home and sleep and come back early in the morning. It was super late. The nurse set me up with a blanket and pillow and I tried to get settled in, but I just couldn’t fall asleep. I was too nervous. I was just sitting there watching my mom’s chest go up and down as she breathed. She looked very peaceful and if there was anything to be happy about, that was it. I hadn’t seen her completely calm and peaceful in such a long time. Ever since she had her surgery to remove the 8″ cancerous mass and her kidney, back In February of 2016, it’s like a piece of her soul was left on that operating table. She just wasn’t the same. She seemed detached sometimes and like she was distracted by her own thoughts, or in her own world. Our conversations went from gossiping about who posted what on Facebook, to what new aches and pains or new symptoms she was feeling, which doctors she had to see next, and what prescriptions she needed to refill. I missed the regular bullshit conversations we used to have and I knew at this point we’d never have them again.
Before she left that night, my cousin Nikki gave me some advice. She told me that she read somewhere that the hearing was the last thing to go and so she told me talk to her and say the things I needed to say to her. I wanted to say things to her but I wanted to do it at a time where she was sort of awake and could hear me. I didn’t want to wake her because she looked so peaceful. I also felt a little uncomfortable talking to her, in that way, with another person in the room. The nurses were in and out and I just felt it wasn’t the right time to say those kind of thin with complete strangers, and so instead I took my chances and held out for the next day when hopefully she’d be in a private room. Remembering back to when my dad was at the end of his life,and how he was in his final days and hours, I didn’t think my mom was quite there just yet.
At around 3:30, 4:00 am I tried to fall asleep. The chair was terribly uncomfortable and not made to sleep in. It was old and I think maybe a bit broken because it wouldn’t stay locked into the recline position. Every time I’d move it would start folding in on me. I may have finally dosed off at about 4:30 but I didn’t sleep. Every few minutes something would wake me up. Whether it was the nurses coming in and out all night, the machines beeping because someone bent their arm and occluded their Iv port or people talking loudly in the halls, I kept getting woken up. Both my mom and her roommate were moaning and groaning in their sleep. They had put my mom back on her dulladin drip and so I’d hear her moan and I’d look over to see her fidgeting with the button, trying to press it, and I’d have to get up and press it for her. Every time I was awoken, I would jump up in a panic and then I wouldn’t be able to fall back to sleep.
I don’t think I got a solid hour in a row of sleep until about 5:30/6:00am Around 7:30am I opened my eyes to see my brother sitting in the other chair, kind of staring at me. I asked him what time it was and he told me, and then he pointed to the table and tells me that be brought me a cup of coffee. He told me I could go home, (thanks for the permission) and that he’d be there and his wife, Satan would be up there in the afternoon. I actually wanted to go home so I could freshen up, take my pajamas off and out regular clothes on.
I got home and sat with my husband for a few minutes and told him what had happened during the night. I was exhausted but decided to just push myself to put clothes on and go back up there. I asked my husband if he could bring our son up there to say goodbye to his grandmother, one last time. I got dressed and went right back up there.
When I got there, the doctor came into the room and asked me and my brother to talk and so he told us that the patient who was in the single room was being discharged and that they were just waiting on housekeeping and they’d move us into that room so we could have private time with my mom. I was so grateful for that. Losing a family member like that is probably one of the most intensely emotional situations you can ever go through. It should be done in private, so the family can feel free to express themselves to the patient.
My brother told me around 12:00pm that he and his wife had called a representative from the funeral home and that they were going to come there around 3:30. I was really annoyed that he went and did that after asking me for my opinion and me saying no. There he goes being a team player again. I knew this was all Satan’s doing. She is a chronic planner (not sure if that’s even a thing, but it is now) and has to plan every hour of everyday of her life. I was so sorry my mom’s death was impeding on her life. I can say with 110% certainty that she was the one who not only suggested it, but she got in touch with the funeral director and coordinated everything. I can totally see preplanning a funeral for an elderly person or for someone who’s been battling something like dementia or Alzheimer’s before they get to the point where they can no longer express their wishes, but what happened to my mom was kind of unexpected and we knew she only had a matter of days or hours left with her.
My husband came up shortly after. I met him downstairs in the parking garage. We got in the elevators and made our way up to my mom’s floor. Some of my family had arrived by that point and when we were coming up, they were heading down to grab coffee and snacks from the cafeteria. My husband and I walked into the room thinking we were going to be the only ones in there. My mom was still in the double room at that point. We walk in and the curtain is all the way drawn so we couldn’t see my mom. As we finally get past the curtain we see my brother and Satan are sitting there, at her bedside. They didn’t see us right away and so I look down and I see Satan pulling out this packet of paperwork out of her bag. As soon as she realizes it’s us in the room she, quickly jams the papers back into her purse, which was a Michael Kors tote bag , and she puts her arm over it and pulls it tightly into her body. She’s all nervous and just starts babbling random shit with my brother. My husband whips his head around and looks at me as I do the same. I quietly say, “did you see that? What the fuck was the all about?”, and he replies, “I don’t know but it looked really fucking shady.”. Satan is holding on to her bag for dear life like Ben Stiller, at the end of Meet the Parents, when he’s on the plane with his luggage!
We couldn’t believe what we both saw. It was clear Satan had some type of document in her possession that she didn’t want anyone, especially us to see. It’s very obvious when someone is being sneaky. Both me and my husband have a pretty good read on these kinds of things. We knew it was something shady.
Me and my husband went downstairs and into the parking garage so I could have a cigarette and calm down. Once again we were left to speculate as to what was going on. We knew they were up to something and obviously had been formulating some sort of plan, exactly what, we didn’t know. I also started to question my mom and of all the things that happened in the last year, that’s probably the one thing I regret. My last text to her was on Tuesday Nov. 15th and it read,
“I have to tell you. I feel like something is going on. Like you’re not telling me something. Is there something you need to tell me? I know there’s something going on that I don’t know about. This whole thing with [my brother] and his wife and the camera is completely not making sense to me. Why they were putting cameras in the house??. I just don’t get it.” After that I wrote, “Ok. I’ve made you a priority in my life for the past ten years since daddy has been gone and especially in the last couple of years, months and weeks. I have sacrificed my time with my son and my husband to be there for you. I just want to know what’s going on. That’s all. I just know something is not being said.”
“if you think I would do anything against you you’re out out of you’re miimh [sic].”
I didn’t think my mom would do anything to hurt me, but I knew she was holding back information from me. There were a few things said to me here and there that didn’t make full sense and I was able to tell there was more to it than what she was telling me. I know why she did it and I cannot even be mad. There were a few reasons, one being that she had to make peace with her son, so she can have her own peace, to absolve her of all the guilt she was made to feel because she stood up for herself. A lot of that guilt came from Aunt Bea. She made my mom feel like she was a terrible mother for putting her foot down and demanding respect. Although, she was in denial about her own situation and what my brother was doing, I think deep down inside she knew what was going on and I think she just wanted peace of mind. The other reason was that she didn’t want me to be alone. She knew how badly her death was going to effect me. About a week before she died I was up in her room visiting and out of nowhere she said to me, “[my nickname] I’m sorry.”. I asked her why she was sorry and she told me,” I’m sorry because I feel bad that this is what your life has become.”. I told her, “don’t be sorry for me, I’m fine. Feel sorry for yourself, you are the one who’s going through the hard stuff, not me.” I had to explain to her that there was a difference between “wanting” to be there and “having” to be there. I wanted to be there.
My husband and I were out in the parking garage and the more we talked the more angry we were getting. With everything else that was going on we thought maybe they were going to try to get my incapacitated mother to sign something. Maybe she had already signed something and they were just reviewing it. My husband was vexed and said he would go right up to her and ask him to show him what was in her bag. As badly as I wanted to grab her pocketbook like a mugger in Central Park; it was probably best if I let him handle this one, this time.
We made our way back up stairs and by the time we got up there the nurses had informed them that the private room was ready for us. My brother and Satan were moving all of her belongings out of the room and transferring them over to the other room. My husband and I entered the empty room where they were and we just sort of stood there quietly. I kind of blocked the doorway and my husband, holding my son, walked a little further in the room. Neither my brother or her made a peep. I watched them carelessly pile my mom’s belongings on the radiator. I looked over at my husband and I could see his mouth opening like he was going to say something but the words wouldn’t come out. Instead I just gestured to him to leave the room and we went back in to my mom’s room. He gave my mom one last kiss on the head and told her he loved her. He then held my son over her to give her a kiss. She didn’t even respond. Seeing my son say goodbye and knowing it was the last time he’d ever see her; well it was the most gut wrenching thing I had ever seen. I will have that vision, along with many others, burned into my memory forever.
My husband left and by that time almost all of my family was up there. They took over the waiting room once again. They even brought some wine which I totally thought was wrong, but whatever, to each their own. It was nearing 3:00pm and my brother told me that the woman from the funeral home was running a little late and would be there in a little while. I was already extremely annoyed with him and this wasn’t helping. I just said whatever and decided to go downstairs to blow off some steam. As I head for the elevators, I had to pass the waiting room where I see Aunt Bea coming out. I tried to speed up and walk away, but she walks up to me with this soft spoken voice, as if she were talking to a four year old, and asked me if I minded if my aunt and uncles sat in on the meeting. In reality, her and Uncle Bob wanted to sit in there because Uncle Bob seemed to think he had some type of control over my mom’s estate since Aunt Bea was one of the executors; and she can’t even tell her ass from her elbow when it comes to that kind of shit. She had to include everyone else so it didn’t look to obvious. I don’t remember my exact words but my response went something like this. “I really don’t give a fuck, in fact I don’t give a fuck about any of this fucking bullshit because I think it’s a huge fucking waste of time….do what you want.”. With that, I walked away and got on the elevator.
I was so angry. Once again no one in my family speaks up. I know I wasn’t alone either. There absolutely were others who thought that it was a huge waste of time and completely fucked up, but no one felt like it was their place to say so. I understand that no one wants to be that person and start drama, but it sucked that no one had my back. It was such an unnecessary thing to do. I was pacing back and forth in the parking garage when I spotted a woman holding a tote bag and she had a little name badge on and I recognized the logo on her badge from the funeral home, so I followed her inside and ended up on the same elevator as her. I was so annoyed I could literally feel my blood boiling. I got off the elevator and walked down to my moms room to put my stuff down. As I was heading there I round the corner to see Satan walking shoulder to shoulder with the woman from the funeral home. Something about seeing her with this big, shit eating grin on her face, like she was enjoying the fact that my mom was on her death bed, really bothered me. I don’t even know what came over me but I walked and stopped right in front of them. Looking down at Satan who’s a few inches shorter than I am, I said, “what the fuck are YOU talking to her for, this is none of your business. It’s my mother.”. I could tell Satan was taken aback for a second and finally she says, “I’m not doing anything!”. That’s always her response.I wasn’t surprised. I told her good, don’t do anything, this is MY mother. I knew all of this was her doing but she will try to convince me it was my brother’s idea. I wanted her to know she was not going to pull this shit anymore. That she was not going to push me around and control my mother’s funeral. She neededto know not to mistake my tolerance for weakness and my weakness for stupidity. I also wanted her to know she wasn’t welcome in the meeting either. She turned around and stormed off down the hall.
I was just so angry that day from everything. These situations are hard enough on their own without the extra bullshit. My mother was still breathing, a few doors down and we are sitting in a hospital waiting area planning her funeral. It just felt wrong and I really wanted no part of it, but I knew if I didn’t go in there, I was going to have no say in anything. I couldn’t seem to calm myself down. My heart was racing a million miles a minute and I could feel my body shaking. I could feel my anger trying to escape my body like the Incredible Hulk. I couldn’t sit down and so I went to the furthest corner of the room and squatted down as my body shook. One by one my mom’s siblings shuffled in. All were there except one. Surprisingly my Uncle Bob didn’t come in. My cousin Nikki was the only cousin there too, and she sayt directly opposite me in the other corner of the room,and we kept looking at each other the whole time, just shaking our heads in disbelief. She was the only one who got it. I found out later that Satan left the hospital all pissy because I had said something to her. Good. It was about time.
There was an awkward tension in the air and I know it all had to do with me. I didn’t care. Even the woman from the funeral home looked a little uncomfortable. She started to ask my brother for some basic information and it was actually kind of humorous listening to him struggle to find answers of for the most basic of questions like what was my mom’s job title at her place of employment. I let him make a fool out of himself. This was his show; not mine. The woman then gets to the part where she asks if my mom has a will. I look at my brother who replied “ummmmm, I don’t know.”. I couldn’t believe he was sitting there playing dumb in front of my whole family, me so I couldn’t stop myself stop myself, out loud I said,”[brother’s name] really? Cmon man, you know she has a will! Stop lying, you snuck into her safe how many times in the last few months??”. He then said, “well…well… well I didn’t know if she had it changed or not.”. I said, “no she never did. She has a will and ir names her ( I pointed to aunt Debbie) and her (aunt Bea) are the executors. Stop the lying already!”. Aunt Debbie then jumps in and says, “ok this isn’t the time for that.”. I looked up at her and said, “yeah? Well it’s not the time for lying either!”. I was so sick of my brother playing stupid. He knew exactly what he was doing.
There wasn’t much more we could accomplish there except for discussing her basic info and talking about how many days we were looking to have the wake. It was a huge waste of time, just as i knew it was going to be. We still had to go to the funeral home to finalize things. The same thing could’ve been accomplished in a simple phone call. It really didn’t save us time or do anything else for that matter. We just got the formalities out of the way. All it was was a big old show to make it look like my brother actually gave a shit about my mom. They just wanted to put a show on for the family, at the expense of the precious time my mom had left.
At the end she was about to give us an estimate for the two days of wake service and cremation costs. As she was adding everything up, people started to shuffle p out of the room, leaving just me and my brother there alone. A few seconds after everyone leaves the room, my uncle bob opens the door and comes walking in with his chest puffed out like she’s some type of tuff guy. He didn’t even look at me. Instead he walks right over to my brother, sits down in the seat right next to him and pats him on the back as if to console him. He didn’t look at me at all during the whole rest of the meeting. I fucking hate that asshole. He made it very clear to me that day by doing that. He had chosen a side and clearly, it wasn’t mine.
It was really nice that my mom had her own room. We could all sit in there and not have to worry about disturbing anyone else. There was a very somber tone in the room. I wonder to this day if my mom was at all conscious while everyone was there and if she heard everyone’s voices and knew we were all there. I do not remember if she even opened her eyes, while everyone was there. The more she slept, the closer I knew she was to leaving us. I realized that night that my mom was the unique one out of her whole family. When you come from a large family where the siblings’ ages span over a decade, their tends to be little cliques in within the family unit. The older siblings tend to be closer with one another and the youngest seem to stick together too. My mom was closest with Aunt Debbie and Aunt Bea but kept a special relationship with each and every one of her siblings and each and everyone of them valued that and valued her and the things she for them. She made everyone feel special in their own way.
She always made sure to periodically call all of them to see how they were. I don’t think the rest of them call each other as much as my mom called all of them. I know she’s my mom and people are not going to talk negatively about her, but I have heard each one of them talk about others but I never heard anyone talking negatively about my mom. In fact, it seems she really stood out. I was told by almost all my Aunts and Uncles stories about how she’d go out of her way to make everyone feel special. For instance her youngest sister would always tell me how of all the sisters, my mom always treated her the best. She would always buy her stuff when she was a kid. Being that she was so much younger, when my mom was was a manager at a store she’d bring my aunt to work with her all of the time and pay her to work for the day. She’d also buy her things she needed like new shoes, help her with her homework and pay her to do chores like fold her laundry, so she can have a little pocket money to buy candy and stuff. My aunt told me that my mom was the only one who did that. My mom was the one that everyone used to turn to for advice and her opinion was always respected. I’m proud to say that she taught me to treat people with the same care and kindness.
My heart really broke for my grandmother. She didn’t leave my moms side for the entire two days. She just sat there staring at her, saying, “that’s my baby.”. . I really feel like she got lost in all of this. I’m not saying my aunts and uncle’s don’t care about her. They all do a great deal, but I think sometimes they just write her off as this old lady who can’t hear that good and they’re so wrapped up in their own god damned feelings about things, that no one really sat with her and comforted her or discussed how she felt about everything. I made it a point to sit down next to her (as did my cousin Nikki) and really ask her how she was feeling about everything and how she was holding up. . I couldn’t imagine what was going through her head having just found out how really sick my mom was. I sat down next to her and just held her hand. Here it was three generations of women and one who going well before her time.
It was around 6:00-7:00 in the evening when my brother stood up and announced he was going to go home for a little bit but he’d be back. Had he left it at that, I wouldn’t have thought much of it but he goes on to tell whoever else was in the room at the time that he has a party going on at his house! Apparently his wife had offered their house up for a friend’s, sister’s 50th birthday party. He goes on to make this lame excuse that they couldn’t cancel it because they didn’t have any way of getting in touch with all of the people. He then buried himself by saying they were all invited via Facebook. Maybe it’s just me but I found it kind of ridiculous that he’d even entertain a party while his mom was in the hospital dying, and if these people were “friends”, you’d think they’d understand what was going on and move their party elsewhere.
It wasn’t until about 11:00pm that he ended up coming back. By that time my family started leaving. I had to go home too, to grab clothes for another long night……
(To be continued in my next post…..)