I consider myself lucky as I was growing up because my family didn't experience the death of many friends or relatives (the only funeral I remember going to was my grandpa's funeral and that was when I was 20 years old). Having this type of exposure to death, I must have developed the attitude that "only old people have to go to funerals."
So when my Mom passed away suddenly I felt a tremendous amount of grief and confusion. She wasn't "old enough" to die yet was the thought that kept going through my mind, and I wasn't "old enough" to go to my own Mom's funeral! Mom had a 10 year history of being sick, it didn't really seem like anything too serious because she was never admitted to the hospital. Isn't that how God prepares you for the death of a parent, is to have them admitted to the hospital first?!?! I attributed most of Mom's sickness to her smoking habit and being overweight, and I would often feel angry or get upset with her because if she would only quit smoking and start to exercise she would get well is what I thought.
I remember getting a call from my Dad in November 1993 telling me that Mom went to the doctor and was sent home with an oxygen tank that she had to use 12 hours a day. This really scared me at first, but I thought if she used this as prescribed and quit smoking that she would be fine. Well, she never did quit smoking.
Now, it was July 1995 and Mom and Dad came over to see the new house I just bought. I remember Mom having a difficult time going up and down the stairs, but then again I just thought it was because she was recovering from being sick.
A week before her death, she went to her doctor for a checkup, and he said she was looking a lot better.
I remember getting home from work on August 17, 1995, and getting a call from my Dad. My young son answered the phone and said to me "it kind of sounds like Papa but he sounds funny" and handed the phone to me. Dad was crying and yelled into the phone "MAM'S GONE!" Mam was a nickname my son gave her as a baby, and it just stuck. I knew what I heard him say, but I asked again what he said, and he yelled again "MAM'S GONE!" I knew that she couldn't really "be gone," so I asked "where," just to make sure I understood. He then said "SHE DIED!" I burst into tears and tried to say something in hopes that this moment would go away, but nothing worked. It wasn't a dream I was having, this was reality!! Dad explained that he had come home from work and went to wake up Mom from a nap, and found her in her bed. My brother and I went out to Dad's house and we all hugged each other for hours! Even that night before I went to bed, I was still hoping to wake up in the morning and tell my Mom about the horrible dream I had.
She was blessed to pass away in her sleep, so she didn't feel any pain from the congestive heart failure that took her to Heaven.
I've never believed in angels before, but now I feel that I can do anything in my life and be safe because I have four guardian angels watching my every move (during the past three years I have lost my Mom, two close friends, and a former boyfriend).