July 16th, 2013 was the last normal day of my life. I say that selfishly, because it was also the last normal day of my Mom’s life.
Like I said, the day was normal. Until about 7:00pm, when I got a call that my Mom had a TIA. That stands for Transient Ischemic Attack, but loosely referred to as a mini stroke. She’d had one before…typically the symptoms are the same as a stroke, but it only lasts a short while and causes no permanent damage. In fact, by the time I got the call, she was feeling normal and in the ER. I got another couple of calls updating me to her status. She was doing fine, but had to spend the night at the hospital. I decided not to call the hospital to speak w/ her, because I knew she was still in the ER and it was late, and by the time they got her to a regular room, it would be even later and she would need her sleep.
I’d call her in the morning. But I never got that chance.
Early that morning, she had a major stroke. Three days later, she was gone.
That means, in a few days I’m going to hit the anniversary of her death. This last year has been full of firsts, which lead you to remember the lasts. The last normal Thanksgiving, the last normal Mother’s Day, etc. I’ve always enjoyed spending family holidays with my family. There’s nowhere I’d rather be than at my parents house for Thanksgiving or Christmas and in fact, I’ve never missed a Christmas at my parents and I’ve only missed Thanksgiving once. And that was fairly recently. But the really sad part is that you never know when you’re in the middle of enjoying the last normal Thanksgiving or Christmas. Or the last normal Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. Or even the last normal conversation. The last normal hug. The last normal day.
Over the last year, I’ve rehashed in my brain a lot of those last normals. They’ve become etched in my memory and I constantly feel the need to remember them, turning them over in my mind, examining them. I wish I had them all on video so that I could watch them – they appear normal, routine, pedantic maybe. But now in my mind it’s all I have left. And I examine the parts I wish I would have done differently. I think that’s fairly normal for someone to do, but it’s not something you think about until it’s too late.
I’m glad I don’t think I took my Mom for granted. I mean, to a certain degree, we all do. But, I was really close to my Mom, I talked to her constantly, she guided me for 37 years and shaped me into who I am today. I enjoyed spending time with her on purpose. On whatever occasion, whether it was Mother’s Day or just a regular Sunday. I never felt “obligated” to visit with her, it was always a privilege. I was very lucky to have that kind of relationship.
I loved all my normal days with her.