“The angels gathered near your bed
So very close to you
For they knew the pain & suffering
That you were going through
I thought about so many things
As I held tightly to your hand
Oh, how I wished that you were strong
And happy once again
But your eyes were looking homeward
To that place beyond the sky
Where Jesus held His outstretched arms
It was time to say good-bye
I struggled with my selfish thoughts
For I wanted you to stay
So we could walk & talk again
Like we did ~ just yesterday
But Jesus knew the answer
And I knew He loved you so
So I gave to you life’s greatest gift
The gift of letting go
Now my heart will carry memories
Of the love you gave to me
Until we meet again in Heaven
Where the best is yet to be”
—C. Johnson & J. Morse
I found this beautiful poem on Pinterest and my thoughts inevitably flashed back to to November 21, exactly two weeks ago. It was the day Mama died. This poem perfectly reflects my thoughts and my emotions that very day. This is the very first time I am going to write about it and it’s so difficult to put everything into words. I miss her everyday. My heart hurts and I don’t know if this pain will ever go away.
It was a Monday. Papa usually gets up early to cook breakfast, prepare Mama’s meds, and to ask if she wants to go to the bathroom. Since the day that she got home from the hospital, she needs to support in walking around the house. When Papa looked at her, there was a different look on her eyes. A faraway gaze. She just stared like she was looking at something intently. Papa just kept talking to her but she was unresponsive. Then he knew, things aren’t good. We (husband and kids) immediately went there when my sister, Joan, called me on the phone. On my way to my parent’s house, a million thoughts ran through my head. “Ma, ayaw sa gyud Ma. Please”, that was my prayer. I never prayed so hard in my life. A few days ago, I was contemplating of what to give Mama for Christmas. I wanted to get her a rocking chair. I was planning of how we’d spend our Christmas. I was also waiting for her to regain her strength so we could talk like before because since ni balik sya from the hospital, talking takes so much of her effort and energy. Gusto sa gyud nako sya ma storya ug balik. When I saw her, I cannot believe what I was seeing. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through in my life.
As the day progressed, her feet and hands turned cold but when we checked her temperature it was 39.6°C. I know that Mama doesn’t want to go back to the hospital, oh how mush she hated it there. But we wanted to make sure we are doing the right thing of not sending her back so Papa and I called her doctor and told him mom’s current state. With his response, we were certain to let her stay at home. We talked to her throughout the day and we know that she can hear us. We continued to gave her her medicines, especially the one for the pain. Thinking about it now, I didn’t know how we’re able to gather our sh*t together. 6 PM, Joan and I held to each Mama’s hands tightly. She was slipping away in front of our very eyes. I found myself saying, “Go peacefully ma. It’s now okay to let go.” I watched my mother die in front of me knowing that it was final and there’s nothing I could do to stop it.
As she slipped into death something amazing happened. She suddenly turned her head to the left to looked at Joan then back at me. Then, I surprisingly felt her. With the last of her strength, she squeezed my hand. My heart was shattering into pieces I know she was finally saying goodbye. A few seconds away before the angels took her, the Priest arrived and we prayed for her soul’s eternal peace. I am crying right now as I try to remember that very night. Me and my sister holding each of Mama’s hands. It was the also the second time I’ve seen Papa cried (the first time was at my grandmother’s burial). We prayed for her and wept for her that night. We were deeply hurt but there was acceptance. I know that she waited for the right time to let go. Mama died at home surrounded by loving family.
Initially, I was not at all ready to let go. But I saw her pain and I don’t want her to suffer anymore. I am willing to let my heart shatter just to take away her pain. And that night, I saw how much God loves her and I know God is asking me to let go.
Mama died at 55 years old, diagnosed with Colo-rectal cancer.
She will forever be in our hearts.