My mother, Gretchen, with her
My Beautiful Momma
11 August 2004
I lost my mother to a brain aneurysm on July 26, 2004. She was 57 years old.
I arrived from out of town on a Monday with my 7 month old twin boys to spend a week with her. We watched Lifetime, drank coffee, swapped stories and enjoyed the babies. On Wednesday evening, my son, Matthew, became restless. "He is in a strange place," she told me, "he just wants to know his momma is near." She brought him to me and then she proceeded to cuddle with him for over an hour. Little did I know 24 hours later I would be crying out for her the same way?
On Thursday, I brought the kids to her place of employment. She wouldn't even let me push the stroller as she wheeled the boys proudly around the Design Center. "So THESE are the boys we hear so much about!" I heard over and over. She was in her glory. I left her at 4 pm. At 4:30 she complained to a co-worker she didn't feel well. She was to meet us at 6pm for dinner. She never made it. The hospital called at 7. My mother was in the ER; she had a brain aneurysm at 5:15 on her way home from work.
The next few days were a blur. She had surgery to coil the aneurysm the first night. The surgery was successful but my mother never woke up. The neurosurgeons prepared us for the worst. Over the weekend, 3 different Doctors told us the same thing. My mother was in a vegetative state. Her aneurysm had re-bled and there was massive cerebral hemorrhaging. Four days passed and there was no response from her. Her CAT scans declined and we tried to accept the fact that she was gone. Her laughing eyes would never open, her creative hands never work, and we would never hear her enthusiastic, broad laugh again. We turned the machines off and she died peacefully 2 hours later.
Days and weeks have passed and at times it still seems surreal. I wake up every morning and put one foot in front of the other. I wash the dishes, clean the laundry and put my "happy face" on for my sons. At times I feel like screaming, "It's not fair!" She didn't get to see Matthew's first tooth last week or hear Michael's first words this morning. Or did she? Do I really believe it was "just her time"?
I feel blessed and find comfort in the fact that I knew what she was doing the last few days of her life. That maybe, just maybe, the last thing she thought of before slipping into unconsciousness was having dinner with her grandsons. Faith helps me believe that she IS in a better place, somewhere in the heavens, riding around in her corvette and smiling down on all of us.
Like my son, I just want to know that she is near. I miss my Momma.
Update: 7 May 2005
First of all, I want to thank everyone on this site for their e-mails, support and prayers. When I posted my Mother's story last summer, I couldn't believe the outpouring of love and support I received, and still do. I have made many friends through this site, those who have experienced similar losses, and those who have just offered a great deal of support. I do read all the updates and new narratives and pray for all of you and your families every day.
Well, we have almost made it through the first year without my Mom. The first holidays, birthdays and now Mother's Day without her has been difficult. I did not speak of my mother's undiagnosed aneurysm in my initial narrative, as it is a very painful memory of her last few months with us. Bill was able to put me in touch with a journalist from The Wall Street Journal, Tom Burton, and he will be including my mothers story in his article on Monday, May 9th. Although I felt my Mother did everything possible within the medical community to seek help, I do not blame anyone for her aneurysm, or death. I am trying to find peace in the hope that the article (and my Mom) will touch someone, somewhere to help them recognize their own signs before it is too late.
Discussion, comments, or questions: Erika Mazero
© Copyright 2004 Erika Mazero