I am writing to all of you who have lost a loved one or are going through these most difficult times.
On September 1 2003 my mother was taking a walk with one of her friends. She felt faint and could not stand. Her friend immediately called the ambulance and within minutes they arrived. Before she was taken into the ambulance she said to her friend "Tell my boys I love them"...Those were her last words. She was stabilized and brought to the local hospital, there they took a cat scan and determined she had suffered an aneurysm. Within a short time she was taken into a larger Hospital, one of the best in the world. It was less than 24 hours after arriving at the hospital and she was taken into surgery. The surgery was successful, but we were told the hard part would follow.
Immediately following the surgery my mother was following commands...she would give us the thumbs up, squeeze our hands, and wiggle her toes. This lasted only a few days. We were told by the neurosurgeon that they would have to watch her closely for the next 7 to 12 days (during which time there is a greater risk of stroke due to vassal spasms).
The spasms lasted for approximately 16 days, during which time she began to develop other problems. As a result of the medications used to treat the spasms it left the rest of her body vulnerable. Her lungs and kidneys suffered and she was put on dialysis. After 28 days in the Hospital and my mother still fighting for her life we met with the doctors for the last time. They informed us that her condition would not improve and we would need to make a decision. With the breathing tube still in for so long they would need to "trach and peg" her. My mother was 68 years old and we feared if she did recover it would be only to spend her life on life support or in a home. Months earlier I sat with my mother and we had talked about this very thing, she had made it clear that she did not want to live like that...this was also expressed in a health care proxy she made which granted both my brother and me her voice in such a circumstance. This was the hardest decision I have had to make, to keep the promise to her.
Later that day the nurses withdrew the tubes and gave my mother some morphine to help her through her last hours.
I'll never forget the last hours with my mother, watching her face and then the monitor, with each hour that passed her heart beat and blood pressure would lessen. She fought for 14 hours, but eventually became too tired to go on and passed away. Both my brother and I were at her side. I watched in disbelief as she stopped breathing...I still can't believe she is gone.
The next day we went to my Mothers house to begin making the funeral arrangements. While doing so my brother asked where the family photos were. We found the albums and I came across one I had never seen. It was an old photo album with pictures of my mother and her friends as teenagers. It was not until this very moment (seeing her laughing and smiling, joking around with her friends) that I realized she was so much more than my mother. I could only imagine her dreams back then, what she dreamed of becoming and what a great mother she became. I don't quite remember our last conversion and that is the hardest thing for me not to be able to tell her how proud I was of her.
My mother was and will forever be the most important person in my life. I miss her so much already.
We love you Ma.
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