Nov 28, 2021

10 Years

In the end, it wasn't her choice that landed her in hospice care. Her body failed her. She was called home.

December 18, 2021 will be ten years since my Mom passed away. Ten years since my Dad sat us down on the couch and told us she was gone. Ten years since I let out a wail I can still hear in my head today. Ten years since I lost my own mother at nine years old.

It’s scary, reaching this milestone. It’s not one I ever wanted to get to. I wanted to stay as close to the time Mom was alive as possible. I wanted to have clearer memories of her, of her laugh, sense of humor, hugs, and love. But as time goes on, those memories become less and less clear. Because of that, I decided to borrow my grandmother’s DVD copy of my mom’s memorial service. I wanted to remember what we sang, who was there, where I was. I wanted to see my grandpa again, preaching from the pulpit about my Mom. So I did. I sobbed just about the entire time. At one point, the camera panned over the entire church. It was full of people who knew my Mom, our family, and now knew our loss. So many people loved her, and I know she loved all of them as well.

I remember when she was in the hospital for treatment, I got an email account and started to email her. I wish I had those emails now to read back on, but one thing I do remember telling her is that all of us kids only had to miss her, one singular person, but while she was in the hospital she had to miss all of us. Her kids, her husband, her family, and friends. I saw how hard that must have been for her. But I realize now that we’re still the ones missing her. She doesn’t have to miss all of us any more. She has no more pain, or suffering, or tears. And while it’s a comfort knowing she’s in the presence of Jesus, it’s still difficult living day to day life without her in my presence, in my life.

In my grandfather’s message at the memorial service, he talked about how my Mom ended up in hospice. I don’t know all of the technical terminology, but she had the choice between going to hospice, giving her a peaceful few days to be with her family, or trying an experimental treatment that had little possibility of saving her. But what I found out was that she chose the option of fighting for us, for her kids, by trying the experiment. She ended up having to go into hospice anyway because her platelets weren’t high enough for the treatment. But when I realized she had chosen that I was a sobbing mess. She chose to fight, to take the slight chance that she could be here longer for her children. She chose to go through a painful treatment instead of hospice. In the end, it wasn’t her choice that landed her in hospice care. Her body failed her. She was called home. But I am still astounded by her bravery and love for her children to still try.

I once wrote on this blog about the five year anniversary of Mom’s death. I wrote about telling my brother that I didn’t want to have to go through another five years without her, and another, and another. That was five years ago. I did it. All of us did. Those last five years were undoubtedly some of the hardest of my life. I didn’t want to go through it all, but I did. Things have changed. I have grown up into an almost 20 year old. I have been through things no child should ever go through, in addition to losing my mother. And I’m still living. I still think of my Mom every day. I still sleep with the worn, stuffed animal she gave me every night. I often look back at old photos of her, to see her smile and see if there’s any part of her in me. I look back to see her love for her children, even through photos. Things change, but my love for her will not. Years will go on, five, ten, but I will never forget my mother or dishonor her memory. Seasons will change. Her grandkids will be (and have been) born, her children will marry. Her children will grow into adults who claim and love Jesus. All without her there to witness it. But she will still be loved and in our memories, until the day we too will go home to her and Jesus.