Yesterday, the entire family made it to Mom's house. Coming from all over Ohio and Michigan, we met and each person had time to speak with Mom while she was still aware. We had Hospice on hand, around the clock, to keep her comfortable. As the evening went on, my niece (Mom's primary care giver) and I finally laid down for naps around midnight and I sent Tom and Sue home for bed. It looked like Mom was going to linger and everyone was exhausted. At 1am, I was awaken and told it was time. The family was around Mom's bed. We all told her we loved her and that it was ok, we would all be fine. And at 1:07am, she breathed her last breath. There was no final struggle for air. She just slowed her breathing and then stopped.
I called Tom and he and Sue came right back. Everyone was able to spend whatever time they wanted with Mom before our Hospice nurse called the funeral home. And Tom drove me home at 4am.
My Mom was not only the anchor of our family, she was the heart. She held each of us as fiercely as a mother bear and as gently as if we were baby birds. We were her pride and joy and she loved each and every one of us as if we were the MOST IMPORTANT person in her world. We have become blended over marriage and divorce and she loved each part of the whole as if they were her own blood. She was a woman who never met anyone she disliked. Everyone was her friend and everyone was welcome.
I will miss her terribly. I feel very lost and scared about being without her guidance and love. I know she is with Dad and they are sharing the world's largest ice cream cone and dancing a jitterbug, finally together again.
To all of you who have sent such kindness to me and my family, I cannot thank you enough. Your support has held me up on the darkest of days and has given me strength to continue.
To my Tom and my Sue, she loved you dearly. And I cannot express how glad I was to know that when I was down, you were there holding her and loving her, just as much as I was. I love you both so much and so did she.
Her final wish was that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to St. Jude's Children's Hospital. Just as she cared for the children of her heart, she cared for all children.