15 Years Ago Today.

To type that number breaks my heart as if it were only yesterday. The truth is time doesn't always heal a broken heart, it only helps us learn to live with it, to even overlook the broken areas.

15 years ago in the early morning hours before the sun even thought about rising, I got the call. The call no one wants to get, only I knew it was a matter of time before I would receive this particular phone call. My mother had passed away from complications of cancer only moments before. My best friend, who is like a sister to me, was with her along with the hospice nurse.

Why wasn't I there? I had been home for the previous two months, by her side; but my leave of absence from work was ending and in all my stress and confusion, I couldn't just quit. I had bills to pay, medical insurance, financial responsibilities, so I flew back to the West Coast on December 22 to return to work. Most likey against my better judgment. Dear friends took me in and comforted me becuase I had given up my apartment and put everything in storage - another reason I should have just stayed.

I remember the last time I kissed my mother, the last look back at her as I was leaving the house.  I remember it like - yesterday. I knew it would be the last time I saw her alive. In that moment I wanted to stop time. Stop it, stop everything. Stop her dying. Stop her pain. Stop from leaving that room.

After returning to work for less than two short weeks, on Friday, December 31 (New Year' Eve) my company laid me off. They made me return to work on December 22, knowing my mom's condition, and laid me off on New Year's Eve. I planned to make arrangements to return to South Dakota for following week.

But I was too late.  At 2:00 am on Monday morning I got that call. 

My whole world changed in an instant.

I still miss my mom - for that matter, I still miss my dad. Especially when I look at my own son. My parents would have loved him so much, been so proud of him; and they would have dug the Guy I Dig.
But enough of that.

15 years ago today my life changed. I wrote about it shortly afterward - about that turbulent seasons leading up to and after my mom's death.

In memory ~


           Summer floods
My vision with it’s blistering heat
      radiating off the road of my memories.
Vacation takes us driving
Through desserts, mountains,
Rainstorms and Milky Way nights.
                          Laughing ~
Seeing her – youthful, radiant, hopeful.
Strong again, my beautiful mother.
Beautiful in her love, her devotion
Always giving, always listening.

            October changes
My heart with its cool breeze
      Blowing away dust from my past
I feel it coming
The metamorphosis of time
Long phone conversations
Expedient travel plans
                         Apprehensive ~
Listening to her staunch optimism,
I can hear the tears fall
From her eyes and shatter into crystal
Droplets onto the cold tile floor
Of a hospital room.

             Winter freezes
My mind with it’s frostbitten fingers
      Stopping my future, altering its course
Illness takes me home – across miles
Away from home. Days spent with
Soap operas, candy bars, holding hands
Drinking up time
                           Praying ~
Watching her deteriorate
She’s different now – her youth gone
Robbed by the cancer raging through
Her body like a defiled passion.
A cycle of death.

             April awakes
My soul with it’s renewing rain
      Showering down on dormant
Seeds of promise. Rebuilding my future
Relearning to hope
I struggle with reverseless event
Stretching my arms upward – waiting!
                          Living ~
Missing her, an empty room inside my heart
My beautiful mother – so wise
Strong, protective, unconditional love.
           Now she lay down to sleep
           I pray the Lord, her soul to keep.


Brittany said...

What a beautiful tribute to your mother! I will keep you and your family in my thoughts, today!

Christina said...

Hugs to you. I can't even imagine the pain of losing my mother, even after all these years. But don't blame yourself for not being there. The world keeps going and we have to do what we have to do. That's what you did, but you never left her side in spirit.

Daryl said...

Beautifully expressed ..be kinder to yourself, she'd want that.

Anonymous said...

Rose, this is beautiful. Your Mother must have been a wonderful lady. Sending hugs your way...

mandaroo63 said...

I'm sorry you lost your mom. I imagine the pain never fully goes away. Beautifully written poem.

Cara said...

What a beautiful poem. I can't imagine how hard that all was for you. I believe your mother knows you wanted to be there. I always like to think that when a love one passes you get another guardian angel.

Harris Family said...

My heart goes out to you my friend. May God comfort you and strengthen you. Thanks for sharing with all of us. She would be so proud of you.

Unknown said...

I would say to "be kinder to yourself" as well - you know that she would be. And it is such a beautiful tribute. I am certain she is smiling down at what an amazing person you are and fantastic family you have created!

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