Still a Shock

Still a Shock

My mom took her last breath at 6:00 p.m. this past Wednesday.

Even though this was a call I had been expecting for four-plus years, it still came as a shock.

Medically, nothing had changed. My mom lived deep in dementia, residing in a world I had no access to. Due to aphasia, her words came out as a tossed salad, mostly sounds and sometimes random words not connected to anything I could understand.

Joland Hebert Charpentier's engagement photo, 1954

Every now and then, she rose to the surface and said, “I love you” or “You’re so pretty,” which are moments I’ll treasure forever. But as the years of dementia took their toll, those gems grew fewer and farther between.

My mom’s love of sweets became our connection these last few years.

Each time I visited, I brought her smoothies, pound cake, her all-time favorite cream-filled eclairs with chocolate on the top, or something else she could gum down because she gave up wearing dentures several years ago.

She weighed fifty-five or sixty pounds at the end, so I never knew where those calories went.

My mom, receiving the best Christmas present ever in 2018

I had been on vacation with my husband for the entire month of July, and I came home with COVID-19. Then, I got bronchitis and sinusitis, so I had not visited my mom in seven weeks, the longest I’d ever gone since I moved her to Florida five years ago.

My friend Misty and I visited her last Monday with smoothies in hand. She sucked down the one we bought for her. Then, she drank half of mine. Our time was light and joyful as we visited. Alma, my mom’s aide who loved her like a daughter, joined in the joking and laughter.

I rubbed my mom’s head full of shocking-white hair and told her about our trip and all the beautiful flowers we saw. My mom always had a green thumb, and her yard could have been featured in Homes and Gardens magazine. I never knew if she understood my words, but I always talked to her like she did.

I kissed her on the forehead, told her I loved her, and I’d see her next week.

Two days later, I received the call that my mom had just stopped breathing.

I think she waited for me, for that one last visit, for a final sweet treat.

Rest in peace, Mama.

Mom and daughter, Christmas 2018

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Idalia
10 months ago

Patricia,

Thank you for sharing such a sweet and touching piece about your mom. You visiting her and providing those sweets and smoothies made her day worth living with each visit. What a blessing you were to the woman who gave you life. Now she rests. Much condolences to you and family. Idalia

Gary Hinz
Gary Hinz
10 months ago

Patricia, We are sorry to hear about the passing of your mother. It is a shock because you only have one mother. But you have written so much about her, I am sure, and that has created some special memories. Know that God is taking good care of her. Gay and Joanne Hinz

Deborah Hunt Repp
10 months ago

Dear Patricia,
I know how faithful, attentive, and lovingly you were throughout her later years. A new chapter has begun. You will miss those sweet kisses and head rubs. But your strength and memories will be with you in the difficult years ahead.
Blessings and love,
Debbie

Nancy Archibald
10 months ago

Thank you for your heartwarming story about your mother after her passing. I am glad you had the chance to visit with your Mom, share a smoothy and tell her about your trip and flowers. Your memories of her will always be with you and bring you peace. Thanks for sharing.

Steven Weisberg
Steven Weisberg
10 months ago

Patricia, I hope you’ll take comfort in being that dedicated daughter who remained steadfast by your Mom as she transitioned from her time on earth into everlasting memory. Your stories of her and what made her unique honor her life and the legacy she leaves.

Judy
10 months ago

Patricia, I am so sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. I agree that your mother waited for you and that last visit. I’ve known other friends that’s happened to and it’s that one last blessing. May your sweet memories stay with you in your time of sadness.

Catherine Farrar
10 months ago

What a sweet remembrance of your mom. Surely, she waited for you. Thank you for sharing your life with us, even the sad parts. After everything else is gone, Spirit remains. Blessings on you and your family.

Janet Patterson
Janet Patterson
10 months ago

Dear Patricia,

You have my deepest sympathy for the loss of your mother. Love surpasses all our expectations. May the love you share comfort you.

Lorna Deane
10 months ago

Patricia, Deepest condolences to you and family on the loss of your Mum. Losing parents leave a void that nothing
can fill. Only time can help to fill that void, and memories, of which you have many. So happy she waited for you
to say goodbye. In her world, your visits meant a lot.

marian gardner
marian gardner
10 months ago

Patricia – you are so fortunate to spend Monday visiting your Mother – sharing memories with her to bring you peace now.

Lisa Marie Webb
10 months ago

Patricia, I am sorry to hear about the loss of your mother as this bittersweet journey has come to an end. Condolences to you and your family.

Diana Miret
Diana Miret
10 months ago

What a beautiful sharing of a painful moment. Thank you for sharing your emotions with the rest of us. My deepest condolences for your loss and heaven’s gain.

Monique Cobbs
10 months ago

When those we love are called away we hurt and grieve, and their passing touches each in a unique way.
And when we are alone, in thought and peaceful with ourselves, we call our loved ones back and share with them once more and again those special moments that have meant so much to us. And far beyond their consciousness they give us love and strength – and those memories are like flowers in eternal spring. I wish you peace and comfort, Patricia.

Mcgregor Becky
Mcgregor Becky
10 months ago

My prayers are with you it is so hard to lose a parent but I’m glad you got to spend some quality time with your mom. Best wishes

Etya
10 months ago

Patricia, my deepest condolences to you. Losing a parent us so hard. The grief lingers on and on. Your mom is I. A better place probably getting acquainted with my Mama and Papa. You are right, she waited for you. Hugs and love.

Kitty Mendoza
Kitty Mendoza
10 months ago

So sorry to hear of the loss of your mother. My heart goes out to you and echoing all the wonderful comments already given.

Nancy Quatrano
10 months ago

Sending you warm hugs and lots of love, Patricia. Beautifully written and beautifully lived. I wish you peace and comfort, too.

Linda Peterson
Linda Peterson
10 months ago

I hadn’t read this post before making mine. Sincere sympathy to you and your family. Alzheimer’s Disease is such a thief, but it cannot steal
the love you and your mother shared. I’m certain she held on to see you one last time. Cling to the great memories and claim God’s comfort/

Kit Dwyer
10 months ago

Hugs to you, Patricia. Our moms took up residence in our hearts long before their minds could no longer reign their beautiful souls. We add their love to our own light.
Your light shines bright for all to see.

Liz Brown
10 months ago

Sad for your loss, Patricia, but thankful you had that last lovely visit. I’m sure you’re right, that she waited for you before she went. Hugs

RaffaelaMarie Rizzo Fenn
RaffaelaMarie Rizzo Fenn
10 months ago

Dear Pat, so sorry for your loss. Your mom must have been amazing cause she raised an amazing daughter.
i still miss my mom, but they live in our hearts and minds.
I believe love is strongest force in existence and it never dies.

Kit Dwyer
10 months ago

So perfectly said, RM. Ditto from me.

Sharon Harrington
Sharon Harrington
10 months ago

Patricia, I understand the warring emotions in you right now: relief, sadness, tears, and smiles. I hope you received a moment of grace and caught a glimpse of the mom you knew and loved so dearly before the fog rolled in one last time. My thoughts are with you. Hope to see in the October class.

Maureen Heakin
Maureen Heakin
10 months ago

There is no question that she waited for you. Hold that in your heart forever. My deepest condolences to you and your family.

jas newman
jas newman
10 months ago

Mere words fail to convey the depths of emotions your message has stirred. God bless.

Holly Martinez
Holly Martinez
10 months ago

I do relate to most of your words. Aphasia and aproxia along with so very short on breath even with 24/7 oxygen flowing into him.

My husband is sweet, caring, loving, creative and positive.

Patricia, my arms are wrapped around you, supporting you however I can best. Very sorry to read this.

Holly

Lou Martindale
10 months ago

My condolences to you and your family. I know how hard it is to lose a mother and I am so glad you got to see her before she passed.

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