I remember when I was eight or nine that I was terrified that my mother would die while I was sleeping. Each night, I would give her a hug and make sure that the last thing I said to her was "I love you". I wanted the last thing she heard from me was my love.
This went on for many, many months. I do not remember what it was that made me so afraid or why that feeling faded, but I do remember that I promised myself that I would always try to have those be the last thing I say to Mom.
Since Mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, I had begun saying "I love you" everytime we said goodbye. Last night I said "I love you" for the last time.
My mom died last night after a short fight with complications from her cancer. I was with her most of the day as she began to fade away from a combination of blood clots and the spread of the cancer to her lungs and a small bleed in her brain. Up until yesterday, she had been awake and responsive over the last few days as she began to slowly get better from an infection in her legs.
During her stay at the hospital, the thing that bugged her the most was the monitor that attached to her finger to measure her pulse and oxygen saturation. I knew she was feeling better on Friday when she took off the monitor on her finger and hide her fingers from me when I tried to put back on. She was feisty and being ornery which I knew meant she felt she was going to beat this. Unfortunately, her will to fight was not strong enough to overcome the infection that caused her body to fight harder than it was able.
As she began to fade and the doctor in ICU walked us through what was happening, we decided to bring Mom home as soon as we could. The blood clots in her lungs and the small bleed in her brain were not something she would recover from and we knew it was only a matter of time. The doctor felt she was stable through the night and so we went home, preparing to come back on Sunday to take her home. Unfortunately, Mom's fight ended about an hour after we left.
At the end, due to the low level of oxygen in her blood, she became less and less responsive to our questions and requests. As we got ready to leave we went to say good night. Although completely Unresponsive to the doctors and nurses, Mom looked at both my sister and I we gave our love, but the last thing she responded to was my father asking her if she was still his sweetheart. She looked right at him and nodded.
I will always regret not being here to help my mom face the final moments in her life but I take comfort in knowing that the last thing I was able to say to my mom was "I love you".
I just wish she could hear me say it to her one more time.