I talked to my Mama every single day. I called her on the way to work at 7:40 every morning. I talked to her every night. I would laugh because no matter when I came home in the evening, I would no sooner walk up the steps and the phone would ring. We laughed and said she must have a tracking device on me. I talked to her the last time on Saturday afternoon. She had been to a baby shower and was going to the grocery store. I asked her to pick up some slaw mix for me so I could have hotdogs and hamburgers on Sunday for Morgan’s birthday. She asked me if I wanted to eat spaghetti with her that night, but I told her I already had food laid out. We talked about getting a car for Hope and going to look at some in the next few weeks together.
My Daddy told me she cooked that night and had a great meal with him, my brother, sister-in-law and some of her grandkids. Then she went to bed after watching television with my Dad and had a low grade fever of around 99.
When my cell phone rang at 8:10 AM and it was my dad calling from his cell phone, I knew immediately when the phone rang that something was wrong. My mom usually calls me every morning, but she uses their house phone. He told me to come to his house (I live right next door) and help him get my mama dressed. Daddy told me she was burning up with a fever and not lucid. Immediately, I jumped in the truck and ran down the driveway to their house. When I arrived my mom was lying in the bed and was so sick she could not sit up and nothing she said really made a lot of sense. But I talked to her and asked which pajamas she wanted to change into and then I told my Daddy that she was the most sick I had ever seen her and that I thought we should call an ambulance. I came home and changed clothes, brushed my teeth and ran right back down there. The ambulance was on the way. When the first responders arrived they could not get her blood pressure it was so low and her oxygen was registering at 65. I could see that she was doing worse than even 10 minutes prior. When they started to the ambulance she went into cardiac arrest. They were able to revive her and brought her to Pardee Hospital. My Dad and siblings arrived with the ambulance and we sat in the waiting room for an update. They finally came to get us around 40 minutes later. The ER doctor told us that he was not sure what was going on but it appeared my mom had a terrible infection. They could not get her oxygen levels or blood pressure up, her white blood cells were very low and so were her platelets. He indicated that they needed to intubate her so she could breath and get oxygen. In the middle of the explanation the nurse yelled for him and he went running. About 20 minutes later we were told that her heart stopped again while they were placing the ventilator, but they were able to get a pulse again. Once she was stable, they would transfer her to ICU. Maybe 10 minutes later, the doctor came in and told us that her heart stopped again and they were unable to revive her. Everything in my world shifted at that point. I do not understand even a little bit. However, I know one thing for sure, I will see her again one day. While this does not take my sorrow away, it does give me a peace in my heart that passes all understanding.
The best that I can understand, based on information we have received, is that my Mom somehow contracted a bacterial infection (but I don’t know what kind yet), her immune system was still compromised some from the stem cell transplant and it attacked her very hard. The infection made her oxygen and blood pressure drop dangerously low and that made her heart work extra hard. Additionally her lungs were filled with fluid. Medically, we may have answers, but in my heart all I can think is that God wanted her with Him. And I can’t blame Him, she was the best.
I tried to go to bed around 11 last night, I am not sure when I finally fell asleep. But I woke up around 2 and have been up cleaning my kitchen and doing laundry and thinking of all the good things with my Mama. I can honestly say that I don’t have one bad memory with my Mom. Not one. She was the most amazing person that I have ever known. She was kind and generous and would go out of her way to make you feel happiness. She has been there for me through thick and thin and never made me wonder if I was loved.
There are some things about my Mama that will always stick with me. I hope and pray that I can be even half the woman and mother she was to me. She loved her family and was selfless. She always took care of all of us. Mama would cook supper and call me after work and tell me to come eat if she knew I had a long day. She loved to bake and made the best cinnamon rolls. My Daddy says they would melt in your mouth they were so light and good. Mama took care of sick kids and grandchildren more times than I can count. When her Mom had a massive stroke, she cooked supper practically every night, took her to doctors appointments and to the beauty shop and cleaned her house for 7 years. Through all that time, she never complained even one time or took a break for herself. It was only when she got sick that she was forced to put Mamaw in an assisted living facility. And oh did she struggle with guilt from putting her there; even though she made it a point to see her almost every day. My sweet mama picked up Hope from school and been a taxi for me more times than I could ever imagine.
All of those things she did for me and others are true and great, but she was also fun. We watched certain TV shows together and talked and analyzed them and try to predict what was going to happen. I got my love of shopping and clothes from her. I have been to Greenville and Asheville buying (and returning) things many times over the years. She always wanted to look nice and wanted her clothes and jewelry to compliment and match. A couple of weeks ago, she purchased a green jacket and loved it. On the night she bought it she came to my house to show it to me and told me I could borrow it to wear with my green heels (from my previous post) because it would look so good with them. My mama went all over creation looking for a necklace to match and she finally found it just last week. But the most important thing about my Mama? She loved Jesus and she loved everyone. I can’t think of a time where she was not taking care of someone and showing them compassion and love.
I keep thinking about the lyrics to a song by Brad Paisley. In the song, “Last Time For Everything” he talks about all the things in this life that we take for granted or never think will end; but they always do. One of the lines is “Biscuits and gravy at my Mama’s house”, I can’t tell you the number of times my Mama made biscuits and my Daddy made sausage and gravy. At least 1-2 times a week growing up. And she made biscuits basically every morning I can remember except Sunday, when we had muffins, because it was faster to get to church. I never thought that the last time I had biscuits and gravy with her would be the last time. For anyone that has a Mother still alive, I would urge you to never take them for granted, go give them a hug and tell them how much you love them. I would love to have one more day with mine.
So now, I am going to take a shower and go to my Mama and Daddy’s house. It is early, but I know my Daddy is awake. And I am going to attempt to make biscuits that might be 75% as good as my Mama’s and I am going to get him to make some sausage and gravy. Even though it won’t be quite the same or nearly as good, I am hoping it is good for our soul at least.