mom, r.i.p.

My Mom passed away. I’m in Ohio for the funeral. Her’s was not a sad passing. She lived to a ripe age and never had any serious health problems until the end.

She had pulmonary fibrosis. Her lungs were irreparably scarred. When first diagnosed, the doctor asked my sister how long she has been smoking. The irony is that my Mom never smoked a cigarette in her life. Unfortunately, her father and the two zeros she married were all chain smokers, so she lived her life inside a cloud of cigarette smoke. I told her, “See, Mom, you should have smoked after all.”

She facilitated her own demise. Because of her deteriorated condition, we had to move her from her condo into a nursing home. She hated it, but knew there was no alternative. She couldn’t live alone and none of us had the wherewithal to take her in. Among other needs, she had to wear an oxygen mask 24-7.

She lasted three days in the home. As soon as Fr. Jim gave her her Last Rights, she refused to take any more medications and signed a Do Not Resuscitate order. The only drug she allowed was morphine to ease the pain. She slipped into a deep morphine induced sleep and, according to my sister, her last words were a stab at black humor: “I’m a morphine addict!”

She had a rough life but had mad ninja skills as an optimist. I think some people are genetically predisposed to always be happy or always be sad, no matter what their circumstances. She was the former and I’ll miss her.

Eerie factoid #1: When my sister phoned to say she was gone, she grabbed the nearest cell phone, which happened to be my Mom’s. Her death was imminent and I knew what the nature of the call was, but I had to stutter-stop when my caller ID read: “Mom.”

Eerie factoid #2: My Mom was born in 1935 and died in room 35 in the hospital. Later that day, after Mom passed, my sister’s neighbor paid a visit to express her condolences. While walking up my sister’s driveway, she picked up a penny that was on the ground. It’s wheat-back penny from 1935. My sister has it as a keepsake.

13 thoughts on “mom, r.i.p.

  1. My sympathies.Your mom sounded like wonderful woman. About the penny thing, as I have gotten older Im beginning to believe in signs not that it couldnt be just a coincidence but still…I wonder.I dont want to say I know how you feel but yeah I have sort of been there just got back from the hospital after my mom was taken there after having a mild stroke (her fourth) only this is like the long slow goodbye.She always said she would rather die than go to assisted living but there was no other alternative. Unfortunately unlike your mother mines more a pessimist and right now is giving the nurses hell since in addition her memory is shot and cant recall what you tell her from 10 seconds to the next. Bad day.

  2. Sorry for your loss, man. She sounds like a great Mother. Shitty about the second hand smoke. I guess if anyone ever questions the effects of second hand smoke around you you’ve got some pretty strong evidence that it kills. Best wishes to you, my friend.

  3. burying a parent is truly the part of growing up that sucks. even when you’re ‘prepared’, it brings up all sorts of weirdness and reflections.she sounds lovely. and a hero for how she actively managed the end. a gift to you and your is a firm believer in ‘pennies from heaven’. who the hell knows…sending a hug or two.

  4. You are so right about being born optimists or pessimists. I glad your mom was an optimist. As I gotten older, I truly think people like to make one last visit if they can. The penny was you moms.

  5. Finding pennies is supposedly a sign that loved ones are near and watching.I am sorry to hear about your mom. Even when it is expected and all, it never feels like it was. I still catch myself thinking that it’s time to call Dad (I called to check on him nearly every day right before K got home from school) and I find he comes up in my references in conversation a lot more with my daughter.Don’t underestimate the toll grief can take on you, be kind to yourself.

  6. That penny is a message from mom to let you know that she is ok. I’ve been where you are 2 times over and my thoughts and prayers are with you. Sending you much love xooxo

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