I was sitting with my mother, counting her final breaths before she left us for heaven. It's the first year I forgot about what day it was until a little while ago, which means I didn't spend the whole previous week obsessing and dreading the arrival of the date. Progress? I hope so.
Some people have told me over the years they don't think they could be in the room with someone while that person were dying, especially such a close family member. While I obviously wish that day had never happened, I have to say that because it did, I am very honestly happy that I got to be there as she left this world. There are months and months prior to that moment when a person is sick with cancer that all you see is the pain and struggle on their face. Even in their smiles, you see the sadness. It's there, buried in between glances and moments of clarity.
And those last hours, for us at least, it was still in her face. She was struggling to breath as her lungs filled with fluid. Her breathing slowed, and her body was rigid because of the effects of the tumor. And as she took her last breaths, and we finally realized she was no longer breathing, she was in our arms, and peaceful. Her face relaxed, her body relaxed. Surrounded by people who loved her, holding her hand and hugging her, she left this world.
I will be forever grateful for that moment, when I was able to see that pain and agony lift from her face and know that finally she felt peace. It somehow made the previous 13 months easier, and that made it slightly easier on my heart.
And just like she held me as I came into this world, I held her as she left, returning the favor. Life is only temporary, but love is forever.
Miss you mom. Hugs to you today and everyday.