Thinking of My Mom

Cynthia Stritzinger

In six weeks, it will be the one year anniversary of my mom passing away. I can't say the "d" word. It sounds too weird. My mom had COPD and it was not pretty. She was diagnosed about ten years ago. I took her to hospital every time. For the last five years, she lived in a retirement apartment, she had to go on Social Security because she couldn't work because of her illness. I went to the store for her, helped pay the bills. At the time, I really was inconvenienced, but now I would give anything to be doing those things. Anyway, the last time she was in the hospital with a lung infection, her pulmonary doctor said she needed more care. My mom is the one that said she wanted to go. Boy, what an experience that was. She was terrified of dying. Sometimes, she made me felt like I could stop it. Sometimes, I was afraid she would take me with her.

Anyway, her physical health went downhill pretty quickly when she first moved into the nursing home. All those strange people and germs. But then after some pretty bad times and close calls, she got miraculously better. She could get around without oxygen, she gained about 15 lbs. When she first went in she weighed 93 lbs. She went up to 117 lbs. Amazing, I thought. Every Thanksgiving, she would come to my house. She really enjoyed it. Just to get out there, ya know. She had two canisters of oxygen with her, just in case. She cried that night when she went to bed and it scared me and I asked why she was crying and she said she was just so happy to with me. So that was in November.

In January, she went downhill really, really fast. They put her on Roxanol. She would fall asleep in the middle of visits. She would get me and my sister confused. Eventually, she stopped eating. Which is when Hospice came into the picture. They said that the not eating and lots of sleeping was her body shutting down. I went to see her every day at lunchtime. My husband and I would go every Sunday, he couldn't make every Sunday. But I did. Well, we come to April 18, 1998, a Saturday. My house was being re-sided and was very noisy. I wanted to go out for the day. I decided to go visit my mom. I never, ever went on Saturdays. It was 9:00 a.m. when I got there. She had been pretty out of it all week. Not keeping any food or medicines down. If only I had known. Anyway, I stayed about an hour and a half. I have two sisters. One, my mother hadn't spoken to in quite a while. I knew she would be gone soon, so my sister said she would come on Sunday. When I told my mom to try to eat something so she would be awake for the visit, she asked if me and my husband would be there too. I said yes and told her I loved her. At 2: 15 p.m. the nursing home called me and told me if I wanted to see my mom to come right away.

When I got there she was on her side, with a catheter. I knew it. It was too weird to describe. Her one eye was open but there was nothing there. Nothing. No light, nothing. Just black. I started to cry and told her I loved her and tried to get her to respond, she wouldn't. She always did before. I knew she was gone. I told her to go, that I would be all right. It wouldn't be fair. I hope she knew I was there. Everybody says the hearing is the last to go. I left at 4:30 p.m. I couldn't sit there and watch her breathing, wondering if that was the last one. At 8:15 p.m. the nursing home called and said my mother had expired. Like she was a bottle of milk. I still get very mad when I think about that. I went the next day to get her things and it was so weird to walk into her room and not see her in the bed. Her impression was still on the mattress though.

I'm sorry if I am going on and on, I guess I just need to tell someone that I am very grateful to have been there for my mom when she needed me. Nobody else was. Just me. I did everything. I hope she is happy and will come to visit me. I love you Mom. God Bless You.

Cynthia Stritzinger

You can send email to Cynthia at: [email protected]
mail welcome

anniversary date 4-18-98
date of post 3-6-99

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Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW