2020 · Grief

August 22nd – Every Year

August 22nd rolls around every year like clockwork and 2020 was no different. This date is significant in my life because of two things. In 2014 it was the day my family buried my father and one year later the day that my mother went into the hospital. She then passed away four days later on the 26th. Although the days of their death are quite significant as well for some reason this date affects me strongly too.

There are vivid memories from this date. I can see my mother in the hospital ER in so much pain and grasping for air. It was one of the hardest things I’ve seen in my life since her strength was one of her best assets as I grew up. I think at that moment I knew the end was closer than farther away, subconsciously I mean. I recall the feeling of seeing my mom’s missed call on my phone, the sound of the EMT answering her phone when I called back that evening and the guilt that I felt for not being there in her time of need. The expression of the doctor’s face as we all sat in the darker waiting room listening to the grim news he had to tell us. The very late night in the quiet waiting room with most of our family gathered waiting to see what would transpire.

After that time in the ER the first night, Mom never spoke again to me. She never hugged me or got to say any more words. She was hooked up to machines and they dropped her body temperature and brought it back up in hopes of better things to come. The widow maker had taken so much from her and a decision her children never wanted to make was looming in the background. This is exactly what she didn’t ever want, if she could get out of the bed and kick our butts she would have, no doubt. There was the occasional movement when we talked but even that ended.

In the early morning hours of August 26, 2015 we received a call to come quickly. Luckily we were staying at a house nearby. All four of us gathered around the woman that primarily raised us herself, taught us to work hard, push through the hard times with inner strength and some other things.

In that moment all the things that drove me crazy for years in regards to my mother didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was being present. Was holding her hand, talking to her in her ear and watching much love pour from my three siblings.

I can see it as clearly as it was to me that night. It will be one of the saddest images and yet one of the most beautiful images I have. The woman that gave birth to me (and three others) endured much in her life but in the end the pain stopped. Her last breath was taken with her four children surrounding her, all speaking words they wanted to say. The decision that was looming in the background, we never had to make. Honestly Frona always did things on her terms, so I’m pretty sure she willed herself to take care of one more thing in life for her kids.

The emotions I felt that night were a roller coaster of course but one significant thing only grew. The bond and love between the four children she raised. Today the relationships I have with my three siblings is crucial to my livelihood. That may sound odd to some but they are my connection to the generation that has been severed. They are the only ones that know what it feels from that night, those few days before and to be raised by our parents. They are people I feel honored to call family and even friends.

One of the days before my mother’s passing I headed over to the ICU in the early morning hours to sit with her alone. As I sat in the corner of her room, the nurse was doing their thing and I just let the view sink in. It was extremely difficult to see my mother in this manner, it was completely opposite of who she was. I sat there and prayed. There was absolutely nothing else I could do.

I try to replace that image in my mind with ones that reflect who she was when I was growing up and from her being a grandmother. August is a harder month for me but one learns to adapt and that’s what I’m doing. I miss you Mom and can’t wait to see you someday!

Thanks for stopping by and enduring my processing through writing! 🙂

Julie

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