The Nurse Of My Life


My mother was 42 yrs old when I came along. I'm an only child (for my mother). She was a nurse for 29 yrs. My father passed away of Alzheimer's disease and she took care of him at home, refused to put him in a home. Her health never was good and the years of hard work took a toll on her body. After my divorce in 1991 she moved to Texas with me and my 2 children, we lived together for 4 1/2 yrs, I remarried (added a new member to the family) and she moved back to Alabama to be closer to her nieces/nephews and the place she called home.

Her health began to rapidly deteriorate when she returned home. Her kidneys began to shut down (slowly). She came for a visit in June of 1997, little did I know that 4 months later she'd be gone. When she went home, we made plans for us to visit at Thanksgiving. She'd never tell me how sick she was, because she didn't want me to worry. No matter how grim it was for her, she was always thinking of others. She didn't want to be a burden to anyone, there were times when the home health nurses would find her near the brink of death, what a fighter she was, she'd be down for the count and the next thing she was back again with all her wit and charm. Saying "I told you I'd be alright". I received a call in September telling me that I needed to come home, they didn't expect her to survive the weekend. We stayed for a week. She'd developed a condition called "Aortic Stenosis", (which is the Aortic valve to the heart, it was hardening) and Renal failure. There was nothing the doctors could do, they gave her 6 weeks to live. She tried dialysis, it was too hard for her, and she asked that it be stopped. She moved into a nursing home in September and amazed the staff there how vibrant she was inspite of the condition of her body. Her voice had gone to a tiny squeak, they said this was due to the heart problem. It was struggle for her to talk. However, we talked every day, and I told her that I'd be there at Thanksgiving and for her to keep holding on, as her condition worsened I still couldn't face the fact that she was slowly slipping away. I begged her everyday to hold on for me until Thanksgiving and she would tell me that she'd try but the struggle was getting so difficult that she just wanted to give up. On October 26th, I got the nerve to tell her that if she wanted to let go, then I was ok with it (I lied, because I didn't want to let her go). Wednesday the 28th, her kidneys shut down completely. I received a call from her nephew at 4:00pm on Friday, October 31 and he told me that I needed to come, I tried to talk to her, I told her that I Loved Her, but she couldn't talk (death was already upon her), I could only hear her breathing. He called me back at 4:20pm and told me she was gone. What a determined and strong mother she was, she lived longer than the doctors had anticipated. I'm sure she's saying "See I told you that I'd be alright".

Of all the days for her to leave this world, I thought it rather ironic that it was on Halloween. I told her that there was no way we'd ever forget that day. I have many regrets now, but there's nothing I can do about it. I try to stay focused on the facts and realize that she's much better off and she's in pain no longer. I know that time heals all wounds. It's hard to believe that she's been gone for almost 6 months, when in my heart it feels like it happened today. There have been many times that I pick up the phone to call her and realize that I can't. The hardest things to give up are the realities that I'll never hear her voice again, talk to her and feel her arms wrapped around me. However, I do dream about her at least twice a week, sometimes it's a comfort sometimes not. Makes the reality of her being gone that much harder.

My older children miss her dearly, and the youngest will never know her. Our family misses this special little lady and I hope she hears me now when I talk to her and tell her that I love her. We can never ever tell our loved ones that we love them too much.


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

anniversary date 10-31-97
date of post 04-17-98

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Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW