Well last week was supposed to be week 6. But my mom died. I can’t even begin to explain how devastated I was. I began last week on Monday in Lyme treatment and as I sat down to receive the weekly Meyers Cocktail I received a text message from my dad. He said that my mom had taken a serious turn for the worse and the hospital was essentially giving up. I panicked. She had been in and out of ICU for 5 weeks, right after I started treatment, and I was unable to go to her previously (in Oklahoma) because of my continued need for the IV.. I just kept thinking that she would get better and I would go see her when I was clear of the Lyme infection. Thankfully the nurses at the clinic encouraged me to go to her anyway after getting that text message. The Meyers Cocktail is pretty quick, so I finished it and had my PICC line dressing changed and flushed with heparin. I got in my car and prayed for direction from God. Should I go directly to the airport? Should I go home, regroup and go in the morning?? I pulled over on the highway twice and pushed my panicked feeling down to hear God. I distinctly heard Him say, “go home.” “no, don’t go to the airport.” So that’s what I did. I booked a flight and repacked, carefully wrapping the big glass bottle of Agrentyn 23 silver in towels along with my many other bottles of homeopathics, supplements and vitamins. Somewhere in my mind I know the inkling of her dying was there, but it was buried deeply beneath faith, hope and disbelief of it really happening. I packed for one to two weeks of hospital vigil and prayer, NOT for a Celebration of Life service. It really was not on my radar.
I woke up super early to make my flight, still holding out hope I’d get to see her again. There was no direct flight into Joplin, MO where she had been transferred to so I had to make a connection in Dallas. I was on my way to the airport and I received a text message that my first flight was delayed and I would miss my connection. My panic deepened. But as luck would have it, when I booked the flight I had selected first class because it was just a little bit more in price and I thought it might ease my emotions to be in the front of the plane and to able to get out faster. Well, first class passengers have their own line at the ticket counter, which was essential in the timing of me getting on an earlier flight. The coach passenger line was extremely long. The awesome ticket agent was able to put me on the one earlier flight, I got the last first class seat, and off I went through security with TSA Prepass to boot! Praise God. The ticket agent warned me that my bag may not make it due to the very short time between flights in Dallas but I didn’t care. I boarded my flight and sat next to an angel of a gentleman who helped me realize I would need to run to my next gate in Dallas, which I did, with his help with direction in that unfamiliar airport. I arrived at the gate and they were boarding! Whew, I made it! I thought, “Alright, things are going good.” God’s grace comes in many forms. I didn’t realize until later how much I needed those pieces falling together because the day would not continue so well. Somewhere over Texas I looked out the window of the airplane and started to cry, uncontrollably. I didn’t really know why, just that it was beginning to hit me how sick my mom was. I prayed, asking God and my mom to please wait for me…
With the mad rush to make my flights I had no time to check my phone. When I landed in Joplin I turned my phone on and immediately received two text messages. The first from my sister. “Hey I came home this afternoon so you can call me when you can.” As I read that, the second text popped up from my daughter, “Just saw Facebook post that she died… gonna drive to better cell service in an hour to try and connect with everyone.”
Well, that is NOT a good way to find this out… I fell apart. Devastation that I have never felt before descended on me. I was sobbing and crying, shaking uncontrollably, dropping things. I called my sister, still waiting to exit the plane, thank God I was up front! She confirmed that my mom was gone and that I missed it. Everyone around me was so sweet and very concerned for me. I didn’t know what to do. It was all I could do to stand and gather my things and walk up the jetway to the terminal, all the while on the phone and sobbing, trying to wheel my bag and keep hold of my purse. I got off the phone so that I could try to think and figure out what to do. I was fully expecting my bag not to be there and was about to go and file a claim for it to be delivered to my hotel later. But I felt a nudge to go see if it was there first. IT WAS! a miracle. Then I got a message that my mom and dad’s neighbor was coming to pick me up at the airport. I was so relieved. My plan was to rent a car but I really didn’t think I could drive.
My mind swam. It was so surreal. I got to the hospital to find my dad and a group of wonderful people there from their church. I still wasn’t well and kept running into things as I walked down the hospital corridors. Another neighbor held onto my arm and walked with me. We all sat in the ICU waiting room and talked. They explained that she had died earlier. Retracing my steps and figuring out the time change, she died while I was boarding my first flight. So heartbreaking. I had not left anything unsaid to my mom, but I wanted to look in her beautiful blue eyes say it again!! We waited while the ICU nurses cleaned her all up and removed all the tubes and wires. My dad and I went into her room. It was so peaceful and quiet. The Holy Spirit was palpable and it looked like she was quietly sleeping and completely at peace. My dad cried and said how wonderful it was to see her not struggling to breathe anymore. He said it was terrible to witness before, as she gasped for oxygen between respirator assists. She had COPD. If you are reading this and smoke – STOP IT! The end is not pretty.
I asked to have a few moments alone with her. I laid my head on her blanketed chest and cried… I told her all the things I wanted to say again, that I forgave her and thanked her for giving me up for adoption as a baby, that I forgave her for not stopping smoking soon enough, that I loved her and would miss her terribly. My adopted dad also died of complications to COPD so it hit me quite hard in my heart and soul.
This trauma added to the Lyme disease really took a toll on me. I was so exhausted and could barely stand. But I soldiered through, for my dad’s sake, and went with him to iHop for dinner. I’m proud of myself for staying on my Paleo diet. I really, really wanted some french toast or pancakes! But I already felt terrible and couldn’t fathom feeling worse, which I would have if I’d have eaten gluten. By the time we got back to their house an hour drive away, I could hardly stand. Sleep came immediately.
This is my beautiful mom and I. Gone too soon.