"Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely."

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Peaceful Passing

Mom passed away at 11:50 this morning.  This is certainly the last thing I ever wanted to have to tell you.  After her procedure on Friday, they had to leave a tube down her throat to give her full oxygen.  I know she hated that thing down her throat, especially because she couldn't talk.  Well, you all know much she loves to talk!  My Aunt Karen started using the doodle app on her iPad for mom to write with her finger to communicate.
Yesterday morning the doctor explained that the cancer was so far progressed in both of her lungs that they simply could not stop the bleeding.  I was shocked to see how much she was bleeding when we arrived yesterday! She was getting another blood transfusion when we arrived, and her grip was strong.  She felt strong.  I wanted her to talk to me so badly!  She was able to write a few things on the iPad app of the first things she wrote was that she was seeing herself healed and cancer free!  I asked her how she felt and she said peaceful.  She felt every prayer for her and was so grateful.  We read her all the texts and facebook messages that you sent yesterday.  She asked that we read her scriptures about healing.  We read scriptures for a long time.  You know how good she is at focusing on what she wants to create!  She was exerting every ounce of faith and strength in her spirit to be healed.  I know that there is absolutely NOTHING, save it be the will of God that could keep her from being healed.  She fought to the very end with dignity and courage.
Each of the grandkids got to be close to mom and hold her hands, or just slobber on her a little (maybe not a good time for a joke, but you know baby kisses are more like little slobbers)!  As soon as Sophie saw grandma, she immediately tried to hop up on the hospital bed and cuddle with her.  She wanted to so badly, but there were too many tubes and things going into various veins in her arms.  Without question, mom LOVES those kids.  I am truly sad that they will not grow up with her being a part of every important event in their lives.  That really breaks my heart.  My only consolation is that I know she will perhaps have an even greater influence on them in unseen ways now that she is not bound by a physical body.
Even when we thought she was sleeping, mom would respond to us by nodding or shaking her head or opening her eyes to gaze at us and make sure we knew she was alert and sharp.  We just sat, holding her hands, rubbing her feet and talking.  I kept searching my mind for what I should say, as though there were some grand important thing I needed to make sure she heard from me.  But since I have talked to her almost every day of my life I think she already knows everything I might possibly want her to know!  We mostly just visited about great memories we have together.
Mom's blood pressure became weak as time wore on.  They gave her medication to keep it higher, but at some point they maxed out on the amount of medication they could give effectively (meaning that they could give more, but it wouldn't do anything).  At some point in the late evening, mom was too weak to write on the iPad.  She drifted into a deep sleep that, when I think about it, was probably more like a coma as her blood pressure dropped more and more.  I kept feeling her poor chest rattle and struggle to breathe.  No blood came up during the night, but the doctor said he was certain that the lungs were filling up with it still.  At some point before she fell asleep last night she found out that her sister Sharon was flying in this morning.  The doctor had told us when we arrived yesterday that it was only a matter of hours before she would leave us, so I couldn't leave the room.  I just had to be with her.  It was amazing that she made it through the night, but I know she was waiting for Sharon to come.
When the doctor came in this morning, he told us that she was suffering and we needed to decide when to take out the oxygen thing, which was basically keeping her alive.  He urged us that the sooner the better.  I felt strongly that she did not want to go yet.  I knew she would at least want to wait for her baby sister, Sharon, to arrive.  As soon as I vocalized this, Mike agreed and mom's blood pressure almost doubled!  Even the doctor said he thought we were right, and that she could hear us talking which is why her blood pressure numbers improved.  That was reassuring.  I know, even in her weakened condition, that she felt us all there.
After saying a family prayer we decided that it was time for us to remove that awful tube in her throat.  We knew her body was in shock and that her liver was shutting down.  We felt that if through an 11th hour miracle she were going to be healed, it wouldn't really matter if the tube was in or out.  As soon as they took it out, she seemed so much more peaceful and comfortable.  I think she was ready.  We all gathered around her, holding her hands, stroking her forehead and hair, giving her kisses.  I held my daughter, Sophie, up to give grandma one last kiss.  I don't think the kids are old enough to comprehend what all that means, but I'm glad they were there.  I know mom would have wanted us to all be there, just as we were.  We felt the Spirit abiding with us, and after she took her last few breaths the room filled with an even greater feeling of peace.  It was so very peaceful, and I felt like mom won.  She was strong through the last test of her mortality.  I felt relief for her, and after a few minutes my Aunt Karen made the comment that she could feel her cheering us on already...we all agreed!
I will miss my mom cheering me on with her ever constant faith and optimism.  I will miss her voice, her embraces, her wise counsel, her encouragement.  I will miss going to visit her every week with the kids.  I will miss the way she interacted with them, and their excitement to see Grandma Ruth.  I will miss her every day for the rest of my life.  If I didn't know I would be with her again in a future day, I don't know how I would go on.  But I will see her again, and I know that the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.  My hope is in Him, for He overcame all.  How thankful I am for this knowledge.  I love my mom for teaching me to follow Jesus Christ.  She taught by example, and she has left a phenomenal legacy for her children and grandchildren to follow.
Thank you for all of your strength and prayers during this battle.  Your love and friendship has meant the world to my mom.  Tentatively, the funeral (aka celebration of mom's life) will be held Wednesday morning, May 22, in Las Vegas.  I will continue to update you in the near future.
Meanwhile, please email me your favorite memory and picture you have with mom if you would like.  I want to put something together if possible, and I would like each of you to help with this.  My email address is
Thank you again for everything.
Much love!

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