My mother passed away only 2 weeks ago. Yes, she was in her 80s and she had some health problems, but she was finding a new way to enjoy each day. The assisted living apartment she lived in brought about a change in my mother that was a joy to see.
I had begun to believe there was hope for us to "fix" whatever it was that had created the crevice between us. Every moment I spent with her was one of walking on egg shells to be sure I never made things worse between us. Even so, there were days I knew that because I had stood up for myself or stood my ground, I was again, "the bad guy".
Still, with every passing weeks and months, I'd begun to get a nagging feeling that we wouldn't have enough time, not enough time for me to convince her that I'm not a bad person. I desperately needed for her to realize that I'm not a bad person.
My therapist has told me over the years that one thing I could do would be to prove my siblings wrong and eventually, Mom would see that what they had told her about me wasn't true. I believed Mr. S. I knew that it would work - if there was enough time.
Time ran out.
Within 2 weeks of taking her to the ER, she died. My siblings and I had a horrible fight in the hospital because I wanted to bring her home to spend her last days - as was her spoken wish when the doctors told her there was nothing more they could do for her. They, again, ganged up on me but finally, this one last time, I wasn't about to back down. It took its toll, tho. I was afraid they would spirit Mom away to a "facility" as they had said they would. I'm still horrified at that thot. They almost got away with it.
I cried all the way home from the hospital and all night. I was losing my mother before we were "finished" AND I was letting her down one more time by not being strong enough to grant her one last wish. And then the next morning my sister in law called to tell me that she and my brother had decided to fight for Mom, too. Now, we were three - three against three and two of those three held Power of Atty.
But the next morning, as tears fell shamelessly all the way to the hospital, it dawned on me that the doctors had given my mother the option of a facility or going home. They knew she was in her right mind, thus making the Power of Atty paper, worthless. So when I walked into her room (all of them were already there), I spoke as if no one had discussed anything except for Mom going home. My brother and his wife stood by my side. The stress mom had felt about having all of us choose where she would spend her last few days/weeks had taken its toll on her, but her smile now told me that she was happy to be going home to my brother's house.
My sister in law is a wonderful and selfless person. She welcomed my mother into her home as if she were her own mother. I helped with her care, our children helped with her care. Two of my siblings refused to come visit or help care for Mom if I was there. Most of my life, I have stepped aside. Not this time.
Two very short days later, I stood by Mom's bedside discussing a few things with my brother. Mom's breathing suddenly changed, and we knew. My brother and I rushed to her and she turned towards us and reach out her hand to mind. I held her hand and begged her to try to take one more breath. My brother shed a multitude of tears as our mother breathed her last.
Two of our siblings were not there because of their pride and selfishness. That is their cross to bear and I am already aware that it weighs heavily on my sister. They blame me for our mother's untimely death.
I know I am not responsible for her death. I was right where I wanted to be, even tho I knew their pride would keep them from her death bed. I also know they were having a lot of trouble coping with the suddenness of it all.
My biggest problem is that I wasn't done; I wasn't ready to be let go. My relationship with Mom was intentionally damaged by my siblings and there wasn't enough time to repair it. I'm afraid that Mom died thinking I was a bad person and now she will never know the truth. Time just ran out.