A Hard Week and a Sad Good-bye

I have alluded at various points that this summer has been very hectic for us, and that it's involved a lot of travel.  I didn't get into too much detail at the time, but part of the reason for all of that travel is that DH's mom was fighting an intense battle with cancer, and we tried to visit her as often as we possibly could.

We went there again this past weekend, as she was not doing well and was admitted to the hospital.

Yesterday afternoon, shortly after 4 p.m., she passed away surrounded by her sons and siblings and other loved ones.  DH was holding her hand the entire time.

I had just left a few minutes earlier to return back to Pittsburgh, so I was not there.  I have a lot of guilt about that, but know that ultimately there was nothing else that I could have done, other than to be there to support my husband and his family.  I had a chance to say my final goodbye, as we all knew that the end was very near.  Actually, I didn't quite say good-bye - I couldn't find it in me, so instead I told her I would see her later.  I'm not sure why I got so hung up on the actual good-bye part, but nonetheless I am glad that we got to spend so much time with her in her final days, and I am so glad that DH was able to be there with her at the end.  She knew that she was loved by everyone there.

Obviously the past week or so has been really hard for DH and I.  Last week we found out that our baby is definitely breech and we were forced to make a difficult decision regarding whether we wanted to try a manual procedure to try to flip the baby, or to schedule a c-section instead.  We felt pressured to make a decision quickly, since time is of the essence now.  After some follow-up conversations with the doctors, and their belief that it is relatively unlikely that the baby is going to turn based on how big they believe him to be and the fact that everything is very tight and compact in this uterus of mine, we decided to go ahead and schedule a c-section.  All of this was happening while DH was receiving phone calls about the declining health of his mom, and he was torn between staying with me and going with her.

We were at peace with the decision to move forward with the c-section, and we decided to attend the child birthing class that we were scheduled for on Saturday, with plans to then immediately leave for Delaware to see his mom.  The child birth class was a severe disappointment and we left halfway through.  We do not plan to attend day 2 of the session this upcoming weekend.   We hopped into the car and left for Delaware, and in retrospect, I am really glad that we made all of the decisions that we did.

DH got to spend some quality alone time with his mom.  Although he only had a handful of lucid minutes to have a conversation with her (she was asleep most of the time), he was able to fill her in on the developments regarding her first grandchild, and he got the chance to share our front runner names with her.  There were many tears.

It breaks my heart a thousand times over that she will never have the opportunity to meet her grandchildren - she would have been an amazing grandmother. I know that she wanted so badly to be able to hang on long enough to be able to meet him..... but now we know it simply wasn't meant to be.

On the drive home yesterday I couldn't stop crying. I went through about a thousand napkins because I quickly ran out of tissues.  It was pouring down rain and between the rain on my windshield and the tears in my eyes I'm not sure how I could see straight.  His mom was too young, and it was too early for her to go.   I struggle with how cruel the universe can be, making a young man go through losing his mom way before her time, a mere 17 days before the birth of her first grandson.

It sucks.  All of it sucks.

And yet life must go on, somehow.  The circle of life could not be more evident to me, as I am kicked from the inside by my new little baby boy while I try to swallow the huge lump in my throat that just won't seem to go away.  He will never get to know his Grandma Hartman. Although we will do our best to make sure that he knows her through pictures and stories and the legacy that she's left behind with her own son, it will never be the same as it would be if he could know her for the amazing woman that she was. 

We all knew that this time would come.... was coming... would probably be here soon.  But no matter how much you mentally prepare yourself for the end, no matter how many times you remind yourself that she is in a better place now, that she is no longer suffering, and that she was loved immensely up until and beyond her last breath, it doesn't make it any easier.  No amount of words will ever convince me that it was her time to go. It just isn't fair. 

She raised three amazing sons and she will live on through them in ways that I'm sure she could never have imagined.  I have never before seen such a bond between boys and their mom, boys who are strong and tough and independent and yet who are not afraid to show emotion or shed tears and who let their love for their mom just pour out of them in ways that leaves nothing unsaid.  If my own son loves me with even just half of the intensity and devotion that DH loved his mom, I will know that I did something right, and I will die a happy woman.

Just like I know his mom did....

In loving memory.


Corinne said...

oh my goodness I'm sitting here with tears running down my face! I'm so so so sorry for the loss of DH's Mom. I would find it hard to not keeping saying "it's not fair" as well. I'm sorry I don't have many words of advice or wisdom that will help in making things better (who does, right?) - but I'll be thinking of you all through this tough time.

Suzi said...

She's obviously left quite a legacy behind in you, as well. And none to late, as you are just beginning your journey in motherhood. As an on-looker (or, on-reader), I'm confident that your Critter will know and love his late grandmother not only through DH, but also through yourself. :) Take care, Lisa & fam - thoughts & prayers are with you.

Ann Wheeler Bullock said...

Lisa, I know the sadness you and Dave feel that your son will not know Cathy. My Dad (Cathy's Uncle Hugh) died just after our oldest daughter, Mia, was born in Korea, 5 months before she arrived here to become part of our family. The important thing is that Cathy is so alive in you, through your own memories (and those Dave has shared with you)And I like to think my Dad knows my daughters in some way, on some plane, I can't understand, but believe anyway.

I also never knew Pop Wheeler (my and Cathy's grandfather) personally, but stories about him were such a part of my childhood (from my Dad and his brothers, their wives) that he felt alive to me. I think we cousins all felt it.

OUr family will be there on Saturday to help celebrate CAthy's life. We look forward to seeing you.

Ann Wheeler Bullock

Post a Comment