As a note to you: These excerpts reflect my thinking at the time they occurred. This is because it is important to demonstrate the actual events, unscreened through a lens of greater wisdom and knowledge. Of course, I already knew that life and love are eternal, but I did not know this through the Truth within my heart. I had not yet experienced the Truth of this knowledge. That was to be my mother’s mission. As we were to learn, she took that mission very seriously so that we would “get it” in no uncertain terms.
The story goes on…
As the ambulance pulled into our circular driveway, we were all waiting on the front porch and with excitement. We were Mother’s reception committee. Besides Richard and me, my brother, Bill, and his wife, Judy joined us. They had driven from our hometown, Ann Arbor, Michigan when they learned that this may be the last chance to be with Mother.
The sun was shining brightly as the ambulance attendants opened the back door. We clustered close by as they brought mother out on the stretcher. Our family’s quirky humor brought rise to a silly comment. “Oh, you have the wrong person,” someone said, referring to Mother. The attendants looked alarmed. How would they know we made family jokes? Hahaha! Mother never heard the comment, but, if she had, she would have laughed along with us. In truth, the laughs held a measure of anxiety. As they carried mother toward the house, Mother shouted to the attendant, “Hey, my slipper is coming off”; as her foot hung over the edge. We laughed again.
Through the door of our classic colonial home and up the sweeping stairs they carried her, into the bright and cheerful room we created for her. Much of the furniture was that which our parents had purchased years ago, a dressing table and chest of drawers. Mother’s collections were on the shelves, her ceramic and varied cat collection,and photos of her with the many cats she had owned and loved. Her favorite books lined the shelves.
This was her room, made just for her. The thrill she exuded was palpable, especially as she broke out in the biggest and most sincere smile when, now lying on her bed, her petite Siamese cat leaped onto the bed to greet her. It was true love and a beautiful reunion. Even in the hospital, we had arranged to bring her dear little cat to visit. The doctor bent the rules and agreed, given Mother’s dire situation. it was one more attempt to “breathe life into her.” it helped, but it was nothing like this.
She was home, safe and sound!
We let her rest and have time with Dasher, her adored cat, as we went to the kitchen to talk and plan. it was a time of mixed feelings. Happy that she was home. Worried that her time was short.
Now that Mother was with us, Judy and I took on the nursing role. In the hospital they hadn’t bothered to sit her on a bedside commode. Instead, much to our and her objection, they painfully inserted a catheter each time. No more of this, ever again, we promised her! Between the two of us, Judy and I could move her onto the commode. Not being used to any of this, we had to figure out what to do next, spilling some of the contents on the bathroom floor. Even this we laughed about. Nervous and happy at the same time.
Mother was rallying. She was excited to be home. We prepared dinner and wheeled her into the upstairs room we had turned into a den with a large TV. No need for her to maneuver the steps. We all sat together eating on trays, talking, laughing and enjoying each other. We went to bed early that night.
By the next day, another turn of events occurred. Mother, the sweet serene person we knew also had skills at getting what she wanted. She seemed so healthy now, we began to wonder if her serious problems at the hospital were an attempt to convince us to bring her back home. She seemed so miraculously better. Our worlds had been turned upside down to welcome her back home. The four of us pondered this together and were not sure what to think.
We had scheduled a long-standing and trusted aide who cared for mother for many months, even going to the nursing home and the hospital, to come and be with her during dinner time. We had important decisions to make and decided to talk about it while out of the house. We left Mother in good hands. Our conversation had to be about final plans for Mother and we did not feel we could do this in our house.
When we arrived home from dinner, we were told that Mother refused to eat dinner and was uncharacteristically upset and angry. This was not like her, and we were not sure what was happening. I sat with her a long time as she went to sleep. As was my habit during her time with us, I got up to check on her during the night. She was in terrible shape, having trouble breathing, seemingly in pain and worse, seeming near death. There was panic in her eyes. In retrospect, I believe it was that night that she had a near death experience. I am convinced of it, given all the signs and changes that came later. She had already parted the veil, but not yet for good.