After all these years, we’re finally getting married in Las Vegas – while also attending a roleplaying convention. I just looked over the convention schedule and determined that I have LOTS of time that I can spend with mom between events. I was excited to call mom and tell her, but something else happened.
No one picked up and I can’t imagine what they would be doing today… besides they are hard of hearing. So I called again. For some reason, I got a little obsessive and called about seven times in a row (or maybe it was ten, cuz it was a lot). I’m glad that I did!
My stepdad picks up the phone and he said that she’s been in bad shape all day. I could hear the worry on his voice, a sound I’ve never heard before, and I was instantly worried. I asked what was wrong and he said he didn’t know. When mom got on the phone, I asked what was wrong and she said she was unable to walk or talk, but that she’s starting to talk again. While she was talking, she didn’t sound right. She had a slur or drawl, an odd cadence laced with exhaustion. I could tell that she was having trouble talking.
I don’t know if I can explain accurately just how I felt in that moment. I was instantly hit with an emotion I can’t describe. I had a sharp rise of panic that I was fighting. It was like I had lost control of my emotions and yet I was holding it down like a pitbull. There was a battle in my mind, all the while telling my mother that she needed to go to the hospital. I told her to put my dad back on the phone, but right before that, I said “I love you mom.” she replied, “I know. I love you too baby.” Because something in the back of mind said what if this is your last chance to say it?
I told dad, you take her to the hospital right NOW. He said okay, I’ll do that for you baby. I said don’t wait around, go now. Then we said goodbye or something to that nature and hung up. I eased up on holding back my panic and cried. I told my husband, something is wrong with mom. I could hear it in the way she talked, she didn’t sound right. It’s that moment that you face the reality that one day mom is going to die… and it could be today.
I cried for a moment and then breathed deep, trying to collect myself temporarily. I called my sister and told her what happened, and though I tried to be strong, my voice cracked and tears swelled in my eyes. It was a brief conversation. She called and mom wasn’t able to talk again, which is causing us great worry. My sister told dad to call 911 and stop fussing with trying to get her into the truck. A part of me is angry, but I understand that he’s probably panicking too. Then I realize, this is what family is for. We team up together to get things done when an emergency happens.
We couldn’t get a hold of our brother, so I called one of our family friends and told them what happened and that we needed him to call us immediately. My sister left him a message on facebook telling him to call now. He got the message and now he knows what’s going on.
Today is my husband’s birthday and I know he doesn’t want me to be concerned with that. I feel bad that his birthday could be laced with a painful memory, but I’m not willing to let that be the case. I told him not to cancel dinner for two reasons… the other reason is because I’d rather be surrounded by friends at a time like this. I don’t want to sit here and do nothing. It’s awful to sit and worry. I don’t want to sit here and dwell on thoughts of death and loss. I’d rather be distracted and around people who will comfort me.
For a moment, I was sitting with my husband and looking up at our superhero posters mounted on the wall. I told him, normally I have a lot of thoughts in my mind, but right now there isn’t. I’m not thinking about anything. I’m not used to having a quiet mind. It’s a little unsettling. It’s like a noisy room that suddenly goes silent.
I keep wanting to say that I’m not ready for this, while also saying I’m going to be okay. No one is ever ready for this. I want mom to be at the wedding and I want mom to spend Christmas with us this year. If I can’t have all that, then at least I got to hear her say I love you to me today.
I love you too, mom.
UPDATE: She had pneumonia and didn’t even know it and had blood clots that lead to mini strokes. She was hospitalized for several days, but she’s home now. She’s doing very well! I asked her today to considering moving out to Oklahoma, which is closer to family.