Tuesday, November 6, 2012

My Day of Infamy Nov. 6th (Part I)

Birthday & Death

"A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth." Ecc 7:1 NIV

Today is my fathers birthday. I believe that this is the year he will successfully come  (succumb) to the fact that he is ready for ‘old age’ and will accept medicaid/medicare... whatever they call it... I’m not old enough to at I would know, but however, unfortunately.... I doooo know... my mom was on both... I think... for awhile... before she died... ironically... two years ago today. Yes. My mother died on my fathers birthday, two years ago today. 

Flashback: November 6th 2010

It was a Friday night... we were watching the Rustle Crow version of the newly released Robin Hood movie on DVD inside of our little shop heated by an electric space heater. We were covered in blanket and sitting in the dark lit only from the television screen the dog started barking fearlessly. We stopped the movie and MC went outside to investigate. He exited the shop, walked out past the lighted carport and waited for his eyes to adjust back a bit as he peered out into the darkness. Beyond a small grouping to pine trees atop the grassy knoll.... just standing there...  looking at him... he saw a heard of 5-6 deer. Glassy eye balls staring back at him. 

He quickly came back inside the shop to get the rest of us for a look ourselves before they ran off. When we got out past the carport we were able to see a few of the remaining deer as they quietly meandered across the drive way and down into the ravine along the road far out of sight.  They didn’t bolt in fear as I would have thought. There were four of us standing well within plain view of them, crunching gravel under our feet... only 40-50 feet away. We were in the light from the pole lamp! I know they KNEW WE WERE THERE! But they continued to walk quietly and slowly... Peaceful and unafraid.  I thought to myself: “Maybe they were checking us out. After all, we’d only been in BFE for about a month.” or “Maybe the deer out here have been tamed by the locals?” I breathed in the clean crisp air, looked up at the vast amount of star-age.... and proceeded back to the shop in wonderment of our new home in BFE!

When the movie was finished about an hour later, we all gathered inside the house and conglomerated into the “living room/bedroom” (Yes, our bed... our bedroom... my husband and myself...in the living room....yea... tight! We gave each of our kids a bedroom.) We talked about the deer and questioned their strange behavior. We all took turns using the restroom and my son made it into his room as the phone rang. It was 12:30 a.m., now Saturday. “Who would be calling at this hour?”  My breath left my body as it always does with an unexpected late night phone call. 12:30 a.m. “This is either a wrong number or very bad news.” I was of course always my thinking: the worry-wart that something bad is always about to happen. Always “on-alert”. Always “false-alarms.” 

But not this time. This time my instincts were right on target as I answered the phone... I somehow already ‘knew”.  It was for real. I thought I was prepared. As prepared as anyone can ever be. Papa J asked me: “Is your hubby there with you?” I knew it then: Mom was gone. After a 44 year life with diabetes the ....effect of the disease had finally taken her home. My step dad “Papa J” as the kids call him, said he suspected it she had passed about an hour earlier. He had tucked her into bed as he always aided her and she told him “Thank you for taking such good care of me.” Those were her last words to him (just like my momma to be so thoughtful and sweet when she was in so much pain and about to die! Wow!) I rejoiced that she was no longer in pain and kept thought: “get the affairs-of-the-business-taken-care-of-first... you can break down later.... hold it together.... for Papa... he’s the one hurting more I am right now... he just saw mom... ‘not mom in her new form’...give the guy some sympathy... hold on...  just hold it together a little while longer.” I told Papa that I loved him very much, and that I appreciated everything he had done for my mother, and how I wish I could be there with him to help out with everything. (All of our extra funds had gone into our move to BFE... I had nothing in reserve.) I told him that I would call my dad (My biological dad. Papa had been my step-dad for 3-days-shy-of-14-years!.... Yea, mom died 3 days before their anniversary... poor Papa!) and that I would be praying for him. I told him I would call him the next day and I hurried off the phone before I ‘lost it.’

I didn’t know what to expect from myself... what was about to happen next?... how I was going to react... I couldn’t feel anything... my brain and body were ‘elsewhere’. By this time M.C. had already been at my side and knew what had happened. His eldest daughter had been there the whole time. My eldest had returned into the room and questioned “What’s up?” I remembered the look on MC’s daughters face: “It’s your grandma... I’m so sorry.” My tall boy leaned over & hugged me... I wanted so much for him to sit beside me and let me hold him. I knew this had to hurt. But he was a man now... not ‘my little baby’... I could tell he was hurting... he had a special connection with my mom... the three of us all had brown eyes... we were ‘full of it’... and I saw his big beautiful brown eye starting to fill with tears as he bent over and kissed me on my forehead “Hey wait a minute... THAT’S MY JOB! I’m supposed to be taking care of YOU! What are you doing kissing me?”, He replied “I’m taking care of you... just like you used to take care of grandma. I only learn from the best.” No more words were necessary... Mom had done her job... I had been doing mine.... and life was really good.  The tears poured. 

I was jealous that I couldn’t go with her. Envious that she was now “hang’in” with her own mom and my dad’s mom of whom I adored, ALL! Angry that I knew; for the rest of my life I would never be the same. I could never call on her again for advice, a shoulder to cry on, or to tell her of an exciting ‘something’ in the lives of her grandchildren. All these thoughts... all of them... swept through my mind... in the blink of an eye. So fast.. so overwhelming. My body went numb and I had no control over the muscles that controlled it.

I had to tell my Dad. But it was late.But I couldn’t wait. But his wife would be so mad at me for calling at this hour. She hated (still does) me. But then again.. she might be happy with the news (No, I was just saying that. Or...I don’t know anymore. Maybe?) I pulled myself together knowing that God would guide my words. The other woman answered. “I’m really sorry to wake you, but I need to talk to Dad.” Fearing she would be angry (I’ve never called past 9 pm if I ever called at all.)  “Yea, just a second.”  She didn’t seem upset at all... as if she already knew somehow. For a brief instant, I think I felt her heart crying out to me. I heard her carrying the phone through the house and assumed that dad hadn’t gone to bed yet, even though it was past 2:30 a.m. on the cost.  During this passage of time in what seemed to take forever, I thought to myself “OH NO!.... IT’S DADDY’S BIRTHDAY?” I froze. The rustling of the phone stopped and I heard my step mom say kindly and softly, “It’s your daughter.” 
“Yea?” It was if he was already bracing himself. (I’ve never heard the step-mom talk so kindly when passing the phone off when I had called in the past... dad must have sensed it too.) I could barely push the words from my lips. “Today’s your birthday? I’m so sorry daddy!” and the tears started falling again and I couldn’t breath. 
“Your momma?” he replied. 
“Yea, I’m so sorry dad.”
“Is your hubby there with you?”
“Yea, he’s right here. I’m so sorry daddy. I love you so much.” 
“Well at least she’s not in pain anymore.” 
“Is Papa J ok?” 
“Yea. As well as you would expect.”
“When was the last time you talked to her?” 
“I talked to her tonight... or last night... however you wanna look at it: 
Around 5:30 pm, 7:30 your time. She was up and Papa J was helping her drink some coffee and hold the phone. It was the best I had heard her on the phone in weeks! She was actually able to carry on a conversation without falling asleep or being in too much pain. I asked her how she was doing and she replied ‘I’m still kick’n, juz no us’hi asa use’ta!’  We laughed ‘cause of her only having ONE leg anyways! Yea, she was in great spirits. She asked me about my ‘sweetheart’ MC and if he was treating me well & that if not... she would be out here. I reassured her that I was still in newlywed mode and that I was the happiest I had ever been in my life. I told her my previous divorce had been a blessing and that my new hubby was a man of God who would always protect me. She said ‘Ya see I knew you would find somebody. Now I don’t have’ta worry bout’ch anymores.’ She asked about my graduating from college and I told her it would be next month in December. She seemed a lil setback thinking that I wasn’t graduating until Spring, but told her ‘No ma, It’s happening... it’s a done deal. December!’ She was pleasantly surprised I think, and said ‘well I think thats juz really great... ‘bout time after twenty plus years’... and how proud of me she was. Yea... she was back to her old self on the phone Dad. I told her about Tall Boy working as a mechanics apprentice and that seemed to upstage my graduation. You know, he was your first grandchild... I guess that made him something special... or som’pun! But I guess wit’ all that talk’n I must’a wore her plum out. She said she was gonna  go take a nap before bedtime... and that she loved me so much... and how much she missed me... but didn’t think she’d make it to my graduation.” I stopped rambling as I thought of all the things I had just said...

Dad replied slowly, “She fought a long hard battle.......................... We were only supposed to have her for twenty years..................... That's what the doctors told us at the time.......................we had her for more than twice that. I said nothing I my mind reeled over my the last 20 years or so. Dad continued, "How old are you?” (Mom was diagnosed with diabetes when she was pregnant with me... that's how we always gaged her ‘years as a diabetic’.)

I can’t remember much else after than “I love you and we’ll talk in the morning.” 
That night... I fell asleep that early morning in my husbands arms.

"Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. 
So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death." Gen 24:67 NIV


Momma made sure, in her own mind, that MC was going to stand by me for the-long-haul in the years to come. She knew the long term pain of the loss of a mother. She knew I would need him. And so-far-so-good.... he comforts me when I’m missing her.

 Momma died with a very good name... One I will carry with me always. :)

And that is all I can remember for now. 
(I might add pix later... but this was all I could do for now...Nap Time!!! Always a positive side to everything and everyday... nap time is one of those wonderful things!)


PS: Oh yea.. the deer! The deer showed up around 11:30pm. I asked Papa J today about the evens surrounding mommas passing and he verified once again: “I went into the bedroom to check on her about 1:20am and she was still alive. When I came back in the room a few minutes later, she was gone. We figured it was about 1:30am when she actually passed.” Note: There’s a two hour time difference between here and there... so 1:30am for HIM is 11:30pm for US! We got the call at 12:30pm... one hour after we had stopped our movie and saw the deer in the yard. 

I guess you would’ve had to have been there.... and seen it... to believe it.... but the four of us in our family... have our own thoughts and conclusions.... as to the peculiar and somber behavior of the deer... who passed through our yard that night. I personally believe... that in some strange mystical way... yet defined by human comprehension... that it was momma’s spirit passing by was that night... she was checking on me before she went on to where she was going... the moment was too memorable and awe inspiring, the timing was too perfect to the actual time of her passing to be “mere coincidence.” 

In the two years we’ve been in BFE the deer have never ventured that close to the house again. Since then we’ve only seen deer way out over the other side of the yard, down over the hill. They’ve never ventured up to the grassy knoll where they were that night. 
No tracks, no trace. 

1 comment:

  1. I didn't realize her death was only two years ago. My mom died in October of that year, only weeks apart.

    When my father died, many years ago, he was in California and I was here in Idaho. I had a full time job and two kids, and no money for trips to California. Waiting for that phone call, knowing it was coming, and not being there for him was a very hard moment in time for me. Tim was wonderful about it, and we all went to the funeral, but I guess I just wanted to share that I know what it feels like to get that call. It was over 25 years ago but I'll never forget it.

    Love ya, "darlin'" and hope getting past that date is bringing you peace and good memories of your mama.