That week is painful for obvious reasons and continues to be today. However, I am thankful for one thing and that is being able to spend some one-on-one time with her just days prior to her passing. 

I did not know at the time that she would pass in just 4 days. My mom (Betty) was diagnosed with acute leukemia in the fall of 2006. We were told that she had less than a year to live. This was a devastating diagnosis for me and my family. She was otherwise a healthy and active 75 year old woman, whose mother had lived until she was 90 years old. I fully expected for Mom to live until at least 90 years old as well, if not longer. To this day, I still feel robbed of at least 15 more years with her.

In June of 2007, Mom was in at-home Hospice care. She made the decision to stop taking chemotherapy. It is literally like putting poison in your body, and she could not take it anymore. We did not like her choice, but it was hers to make and we accepted it.

Mom died on June 19, 2007. It was a Tuesday morning and we were all there with her when she passed. To make this even more painful, it was also my Dad’s birthday. My Mom died on my Dad’s birthday.

The one bit of sunshine in this tragic event was the fact that I was able to spend several hours with her on the Friday prior. Again, we knew Mom was terminally ill, but we had no idea at the time that she only had 4 more days on this earth.

On the Friday prior to her passing, my Dad needed to renew his driver’s license before it expired. Dad went to the DMV that day and I spent that time with my Mom. We had a memorable conversation that I cherish to this day. We spoke openly about everything and anything. Not that we had any secrets to tell, but I was able to tell her how I felt. How much I loved her, how I felt about losing her, and how that it would impact me and our family. Often, we don’t tell our loved ones that we love them and care about them, at least not enough.

On Friday, June 15, 2007 I told my Mom how much I loved her and would miss her. On Monday, June 19, 2007 I watched helplessly as my Mom died in front of me. I am crying as I write this, but at the same time, it feels good to put my emotions in writing.

This past Christmas 2020 was one affected by the current pandemic.  We did not gather as a family as we normally due, because my Dad is now 90 years old with underlying health issues. He is extremely vulnerable to the Covid virus.

I took this “opportunity” to spend the entire day on Christmas with my 90 year old Dad. It was a special day for both of us. I know that he may not be around for next Christmas, so I treated it as if it may be my last Christmas Day with him. I also reflected back on the day I spent with my Mom, while enjoying Christmas day with my Dad.

This year, with everything being turned upside down, it wasn’t about gift-giving or receiving. This year it was all about spending some quality time with my Dad, and remembering the quality time I spent with my Mom.

Happy New Year.

Steve Groom

(Weekly Prompt- I did not see how to tag this post as such)