Waves of Grief

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The waves of grief are crashing down, sometimes mild, often strong, and other times so severe they knock me down, sobbing and gasping for air. I am weary, saddened beyond belief, and feel that a large piece of me has been ripped away. The hand I see before me when I am crumpled on the ground is the Lord’s. He gently helps me up and comforts me. I know it is only by His grace and everyone’s prayers that I am sustained.

Two weeks ago, Jesus carried my angel Mom home. If you read my previous post, you know she was taken to the ER and immediately admitted to the ICU in the first week of August. She made it through the ICU and was then was placed on a regular floor. She seemed to be following the pattern of her last hospitalization a few months ago, whereby she eventually made a complete recovery. This time, I noticed that she is not able to talk to me as well, nor does she have the strength to stand at all. I am still not allowed to visit my Mom (since March) and can only rely on the kindness of the nurses to hold the phone next to her. I tell her how much I and the entire family loves her and we are praying for her. She talks, though labored, saying, “I love you so much, Bonnie. Thank you.” I try to encourage her and convey all my love to her. After a week, she seems to be doing worse and she is more lethargic. They are having trouble feeding her. 

The next day, the nurse Rosemary called to say that my Mom is doing poorly and I should come to the hospital. She was able to get special permission from the physician for me to visit. My compassionate husband drives the hour to the hospital since I was not able to see through my veil of tears. After six months of waiting to be with my Mom, I enter the room and find her laying in bed with a large oxygen mask covering her face. She is completely unresponsive. I start sobbing and the nurse hugs me. Rosemary says that she will be going to the ICU soon to receive more intensive treatment. I ask if I can say a Divine Mercy Chaplet at her bedside first and she says, “Of course, that is more important.” While I say the Chaplet, various health professionals come in/out of the room, looking at the monitors, getting things ready, and looking at me and my Mom. When I am done, I talk to my sweet Mom close to her ear and tell her how much I love her and how much the family loves her as well as countless others. I tell her that the Lord has His arms around her and LOVES her so much. I thank her for the gift of faith which is the most precious gift in my life. Rosemary tells me that was very powerful, that I thanked my Mom for the gift of my faith. I told her that it is true. My angel Mom shared her love for the Lord, Mother Mary, and the Saints with me. We talked every day about what the priest said during the homily, religious books we were reading, the lives of the Saints, my Bible Study, and how the Lord is so good and faithful.  A few years after I graduated from college, she told me that it was the hardest thing in the world for her to drive away from me, leaving me all alone on a university campus 250 miles from home. I had never been away from home except for a few sleep overs. She placed me in the care of the Blessed Mother and asked her to love and protect me since she could no longer be with me physically every day. I was so touched when she told me this and I did the same when my children went to college. The past six months, while she was isolated and locked up in her Assisted Living facility, I asked the Blessed Mother to love, protect, and be with my Mom in all the ways I could not at that time. My Mom would tell me of unexpected gifts and kindness from people. I knew our Lord answered my prayers and Our Lady had interceded.

As they take my beloved Mom to the ICU, I am moving but not fully registering what is going on. This can’t be happening. My Mom has been very ill before and she always managed to pull through with her tremendous inner strength and faith. Something feels different this time, but I don’t want to believe it. They hook her up to more machines and she is so tiny in the bed. Her head hangs down with the weight of the BiPAP mask. More tubes are inserted and they have stabilized her for the moment. I speak close to her ear, but I am not sure she can hear me above the din of all the medical devices. After a few hours, I leave and plan to return the next day. The next day will bring unexpected gifts and graces.

Next week, I will share that with you, my dear friends in Christ. For now, I am extremely grateful for your kindness, words of encouragement, and for your prayers for my Mom, me, and my family during this very difficult time. I cannot thank you enough, but I know our Lord will.

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