My mother died Sunday evening, December 14, 2014. We buried her on Saturday, December 20, 2014 in the family cemetery. Graves near hers include her parents, grandparents, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins. Mother would have turned 83 years old in February.
For most of my life, I heard mom and daddy dream of moving back to Gonzales County Texas where mother grew up. I heard daddy say her siblings and family were as beloved to him than his brothers and sisters. In the 1980’s they purchased property in the county that was near family. They planned to move.
A diagnosis in 1983 of kidney problems ambushed mother. I still remember the phone call. She was scared. She told me she had received her death sentence. She shared if she didn’t get with the program the doctor recommended they thought she might make ten years at the longest. She was only 50 years-old. She mentioned the doctor said dialysis and a kidney transplant were in her future.
I listened. We prayed. Her concern that the doctor recommended she stay in the Dallas area for the healthcare that was available troubled her. She wanted to move back home when dad retired.
Dad retired in 1988. Mother continued to follow the doctor’s orders. By the early 1990’s she was on serious medication for her kidneys. Her self-discipline was amazing. She still dreamed of getting well enough to move back home.
In the early 2000’s her kidney health continued to decline. I was well in the loop by now taking her to the doctor appointments many times as dad was already in his mid 70’s. In 2003 or 2004 they added her to the awaiting transplant list. There were almost 800 ahead of her on the list just in Dallas County Texas.
She continued to take medications. The daily number of pills taken were in the multiple dozens by now. She still wanted to move back home. I recall her dreaming of maybe after the transplant she would be able to get back to Gonzales County. She fought avoiding going on the dreaded dialysis. Somehow she kept her numbers where she never had to receive that treatment.
In March 2011, she was knocking on death’s door when a miracle of miracles, she had the kidney transplant. She had some issues like a bad heart beat but got that regulated. With the transplant, she came back to life. The next three years were like a miracle. Her strength and vitality returned. She felt chained to the Dallas Transplant Institute having to make multiple follow-up trips each month. This kept her from moving to her beloved Gonzales County.
In October 2014, she started going downhill health-wise. November found her in the hospital for most of the month. By Thanksgiving, she moved to a skilled nursing care facility. There she remained until transported to the hospital on the evening of December 11, 2014. Her last words to my father were I love you.
In the hospital ICU, a ventilator did her breathing. As I saw her shortly before she took her last breath I got to hold her hand, kiss her forehead, tell her I love her and pass on my father’s last words to her. He said tell her he loved her and to thank her for sharing her life with him.
Mother is now back in Gonzales County now. My 88-year-old father’s comment as we crossed the county line heading back home was this has always felt like home. I love her family. In the not too distant future, I’ll be joining her in our beloved Gonzales County.
I thought of the below poem I wrote a several years ago. If you have dreams, go for them. Don’t delay. You never know when the time will run out.
We Never Lived In the Now
Your face shows your age,
though your countenance is still glowing.
Your age says grown-up,
but you’ve never decided where you’re going.
You’ve grown older.
Yes, I’m older too.
The remainder of our lives is before us,
oh, what’ll we do?
What were the dreams
you had so long ago?
What was your vision?
Where did it go?
You traveled your way.
I went mine.
A history so different,
yet lives intertwined.
The gray now shows in our locks,
showing how much we cared.
Your grin still lights my life,
my smile brightens yours when shared.
You lived for then.
I lived for when.
We never lived in the moment.
No we never lived in the now.
Originally published in WORDS..RHYMES..POETRY & PROSE!
The poem is included in the book “Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection” available on Kindle from Amazon.