She wasn't afraid to die. She WAS afraid of leaving my brother and I, how we would fare in this big, wide world without our mama. But she wasn't afraid to die.
My mom was admitted to the Hospice Unit of Mckee Medical Center on March 27th, 2002. She was on such a high amount of oxygen that the only way she could be transported was by ambulance.
I rode in the front seat of the ambulance to the hospital. I don't think I fully understood, even at that point, how close she was to the end.
When we arrived at Mckee, they had room air set up but not oxygen. My mother needed oxygen, as the cancer had filled her lungs. She was gasping and saying, "Please hurry, please hurry," as they raced around the room, trying to get her oxygen hooked up. (Even while gasping for air, she still managed to say please. We all should be so gracious.)
At some point, after being hooked up to her oxygen mask and calming down, my mother was hooked up to the iv. She had been in incredible pain for a very long time. She knew that, while her soul wanted to, her body could no longer fight, and no longer be in pain. We promised her she didn't have to be anymore.
The amount of pain medication she needed to take away the pain would put her in a medication-induced coma and so we started to say our goodbyes.
At one point, as her medication started to really kick in, she closed her eyes. I started silently weeping. Her eyes immediately came open. I said, I love you mama. She looked at me and said, "I love you, my Coley."
There are so many times before this moment, I wish I would have asked more, said more, done more. This moment, I wouldn't change for the world. She is my mom and she knew, even with her eyes closed and massive amounts of pain meds kicking in, that I was hurting- and she immediately wanted to reassure me. She did.
After she went into a coma, we all took on our own roles in the room. My brother sat on her right side, me on her left, my Aunt Kathy right by her head. My Aunt Angela, Aunt Jeanne and Grandma had other spots which I can't remember. I held her left hand, my brother held her right.
The pain medicine iv would beep when it was time for a push on the button to administer another dose. My aunt never missed a dose. We promised her she would no longer be in pain.
We talked to my mom, sang to her. The doctors said she wouldn't make it through the night. She did. They said she wouldn't make it through the morning. She did. (I kept thinking, Way to go Mama- you show them no one can predict what you will do- they never have been able to!)
(Part Two to be posted tomorrow)