Peace Be With You, Momma

Pamela Sue Hill

12:30 a.m., Monday, September 1st, 1997, my mother's body finally won. She died of Hepatitis C/Cirrhosis of the liver. She had just turned 63 on August 12. Because of a misdiagnosis, she was too far-gone and her body too worn to receive a liver transplant.

My mother had beat the odds all of her life, she laughingly always told us that her illnesses and such were recorded in a doctor's medical book � she defied leukemia after being diagnosed with it in 1974, the doctors said she would die within a year but she did not wish to leave her young children, her will was stronger than her body - she had lived with it, went in and out of remission and before she died, was in remission again.

She survived a physically abusive relationship with my father, found happiness with my stepfather for twenty years, loved to dance, loved to wear pretty clothes and loved her independence. She never married my stepfather because she wanted that independence.

She loved her kids or her "cubs" as she called us. I am the oldest of the family, I never left California so I could always be there for her, always. I visited with her every weekend that I could, we always "did" the champagne brunches on Sundays - pretending she was the Queen and I was her little princess in a cheap little Mexican restaurant, but loving it and each other for every moment we had together.

We had our differences, she and I. Her youngest daughter left when she was 17 to live on the East Coast, because of her differences with Mom. My middle brother rarely visited mom because he was to busy with his life. But I always stayed, always. Up to two years ago, I finally moved away from her to finally start my life - it was time and she resented me and my new husband for it. She created an emotional distance from me, it hurt her too much because her baby moved away - it hurt me because she did this to me.

I, the one who always strived to be perfect for her, was perfect no longer in her eyes.

The last time I saw her was this January, she and my stepdad drove to Arizona for Superbowl weekend, another ritual she and I had, we drank champagne and just chitty chatted away - she said she was fine, she always said she was fine. She went to see my sister in New York and then something was wrong. She gained 20 pounds in less than a month - and finally admitted she did not feel well. She was admitted to the hospital for supposed high blood pressure, they ran tests and said she needed rest and medication, she vowed she would be out in 30 days. 30 days went to 60 to 90, she lapsed into a coma, since she and my stepfather were not married, he did not have power of attorney to have the proper medication administered. My brother came down to sign the proper paperwork and medication was administered. She came out of her coma and was admitted to the hospital - diagnosis, Hepatitis C - she had 30% of a functioning liver and every time she ate, her ammonia level would shoot up, causing her to lapse into a coma, the doctor said there was no hope.

My husband and I finally came up with the money so I could fly out to see her - I walked into the room and she looked nothing like herself, the lady who always took such good care of herself, she looked like a wizened old woman of 83. She opened her yes and looked right at me and said "hi honey" I was numb. This could not be my vivacious mom. But it was, my brother was there, he tried to be there every day, he was racked with guilt. I stayed 5 hours and then I had to go home, back to Arizona, I had to. I could not lose any more money on the job, my husband was out of one for the moment.

A week later she passed away, this time her will did not outlast her body - her body had won.

I could not make it to the funeral, we had the ticket but no on could pick me up at the airport - we did not even have enough money for the shuttle to take me there. It is something I will live with, but I know Mom would understand. It's as if God did not want me to go, there were too many obstacles for me to get there. I know my stepfather and sister will never understand, but my mom and brother do and that's all the matters.

All I know is that my momma loved me with all of heart, her cub, and would do anything for me. And I am glad she is finally at peace, no more pains, no more monsters, no more anything Mom. You are finally in a good place where you will be taken care of forever and you can dance and dance and dance and never have o worry about anything anymore.

I love you Mom, see you soon.

Your daughter,

Pamela Sue Hill

You can send email to Pamela Sue at: [email protected]
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anniversary date 09-01-97
date of post 09-11-97

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Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW