Mom, Thank You For The Message
23 July 2004
I don't know how I had come upon this site, but something so similar happened to my Father and I. My mother, Cora Yvonne Stewart, my Father's wife of 38 years, and my Mother of 34 years, suffered a massive stroke / aneurism on July 13, 2004 at 10:00am, and died at Lenox Hill Hospital on July 19, 2004, at 9:26am. Four doctors and specialists had examined her, and all were in complete agreement that nothing can be done to save her. The severity of the hemorrage destroyed the entire left side of her brain instantly.
She hadn't suffered any bad headaches before this happened, but she lived with extremely high blood pressure. When she was brought to the hospital, we were informed that her blood pressure was 280 over 160.
I was home that morning; I was heartbroken and feeling tragic because I had to put my cat, my sweet Zeke to sleep less than 36 hours before. I had called in sick at work, and was just lying in bed that morning when my Mom had knocked and opened my bedroom door. The last thing she said to me was, " Aren't you going to work today? " I didn't even turn over to look at her! I just lied there, and said, "No, I'm not up to it. I called and left them a message last night."
The day before, I suppose it was because she didn't like to see me upset, she said to me, "You're so heart-broken over a cat? People lose loved ones, family, every day! And you cry and refuse to eat because of a cat? You had almost 13 years with him, you saved his life and gave him everything you could! But this isn't like losing a loved one ( Human ) or family, or relative! Pull your self together!"
Roughly 2½ hours later, my father called me from work; they've worked together always, from his office on 47th street (NYC). He told me " your mother, something happened, we think it's a stroke, the guards ( from the jewelry exchange ) called the ambulance. They parked the car at the parking garage at about 9:30am. They walked together to the exchange on 47th street. At one point, she stopped to tie her shoe, it had come undone. Once they arrived outside the exchange, she told my father, "You go ahead, down to the vault ( to bring up the merchandise ) and I'll go and get breakfast."
When she had returned to the exchange, my father started to set up one showcase, so, she put the bag of breakfast down on the desk, and began to set up the 2nd showcase. She took one bust, placed a necklace upon it, and placed it in the showcase. Then, a second necklace. When she reached for the 3rd bust with her left hand, as the others, and held the 3rd necklace in her right hand, she froze. My father asked her, " Cora-la, what's the matter? Is the necklace twisted? " She didn't answer. Next, the necklace fell from her right hand to the floor. He said, " Don't move, I'll pick it up. " He put it away with the 3rd bust, asked her what was wrong, but she still didn't answer. All she did was take her left hand, and touch the left side of her face, as if she couldn't feel her face.
He placed her in one of the desk chairs, thinking she's having a heart-attack, took two aspirins, put one in her mouth, went to put the 2nd in, and the 1st fell from her lips. The 2nd aspirin fell as well. The ambulance, Hatzoloh, which is always parked outside on 47th street, took her to Lenox Hill immediately, where the MRI / CT Scans were done. Then, the bitter reality was known; massive brain hemmorage. There is no repair. Lost my Mother without any warning.
I called a car service to bring me to the hospital. She never suffered, they told me. Basically, from the information I was given and could barely comprehend, the damage was too extensive, she could not be saved. We went to the hospital every day ( we live in upstate NY, and commute by car ) and knew that we were basically praying for the greatest miracle, but in reality, waiting for her to die, to become 'completely' brain dead. The bleeding from this aneurism never stopped. Six days later, she slipped away from us. I am still in shock and denial, and I cannot even fathom what my dear Father is suffering.
My Mom was buried on Tuesday, the day after. Being that we are Jewish, the burial must be immediate. So many people arrived at the grave-side service, and as we sat Shiva, the people, the food, the phone calls wouldn't stop! She is so loved! There was no warning! My father and I are alone, now. It is just the two of us left here. I will stay with him and try my best to comfort him in my own time of grief.
I have already resigned from my job; I must learn how to take my Mother's place, not only in my Father's business, but running this household as well. I am terrified of failing! I have no husband, no children, extremely distant relatives that I barely know, and an estranged horrible brother who broke my Mother's heart five years ago, and still hasn't tried to repair the damage, at least for my Father's sake. Just within 30 minutes before my mother's anneurism, she was crying to my father, " I'll never see me son again!! That horrible woman took him from me, made him cut all ties with me!!" My Father told her, "Cora, please, let's not talk about this now, let's not ruin the whole day." And then, she was gone.
I don't know what I've expressed here, or how helpful it may be to someone else; this is too new and painful and confusing. Perhaps this is just a catharsis, or perhaps I can't express things very well yet. However, I love my Mom! The last time she was in a hospital bed was when I was born! I even begged her at her bedside, "Okay, Mom, I understand now. I've learned my lesson! It hurts more to lose a member of your family or close friend than it does a pet! You've made your point! You needn't have gone to such an extreme! I'm sorry I didn't turn over to look at you that morning! I understand, please come back!"
Since the tragedy had occurred, I hadn't thought about my sweet Zeke once. Up until now, I cannot even grieve for mother completely, because I must be strong for my Father, who is so heart-broken and pained! Again, Mom, you've made your point. I love you eternal, and I beg your forgiveness for any pain I might have caused you to suffer in the past. I'll take care of Dad, don't you worry now. Be peaceful, and rest. I am blessed to have had you as my Mother.
Always and eternal love, ~ Bettina
By the way, my Father found a Praying Mantis in the front hallway of our house earlier today. I've never seen one in person, and I've heard that they are quite rare. We believe my Mother had sent him to us; to my father, really. This gives me some hope that her spirit is strong and will be here to comfort us in this time of extreme grief. And, yes, my father gently opened the front door and placed him outside in his proper environment. Mom, thank you for the message. We love you eternal.
Discussion, comments, or questions: Tina Stewart
© Copyright 2004 Tina Steward