I wanted to get this posted sooner, but somethings just take time to write.
Monday, Jan. 31st 2011 at 7:18AM. My phone started to *quack*. This would be the ringtone I have assigned to my mother. For many reasons I should change it, especially since it drives our cock-a-poo Noodle insane. But that is a discussion for another day.
I was in the bathroom, starting the daily repeated task of putting on my eye make-up so with one hand applying eye shadow I wasn’t going to answer. We had no plans pending for the day or that week. We had nothing really to discuss. But all of a sudden I knew. I knew why she was calling. It’s amazing how much you can think of in less than five seconds. I knew why she was calling….or so I thought. I answered the phone -“what’s wrong?” already feeling the heaviness and dread in my heart as I already thought I knew the answer. I thought it was “nana’s had to be admitted to the hospital” instead, my mother was barely able to say the words “nana passed away this morning at 5am.”
I sunk to the bathroom floor. Which is a mighty accomplishment considering how small our bathroom is. My mom continued to speak. I heard her say something about how she went “peacefully in her sleep”, “[she] and step-dad were there” and that they [her and her siblings] were at the hospital tending to paperwork and other things. There were no plans for the day. Call and talk to Meg [cousin]. She said she’d call later.
I was trying not to do the ugly cry. But I obviously was unsuccessful as I could hear my man asking what’s wrong from the bedroom. So I made my way through the two closed doors into the bedroom and crawled back into bed. Half ready for work. And hung up the phone with my mother. I texted cousin Meg. Emailed work. FilmGuy got me water and multiple calls were made back and forth between mom and I and Meg. Plan was set. The cousins that live in Vancouver were heading to the tsawwassen [ttown] beach [Nana’s home] regardless of what our parents wanted or said.
Meg and I picked up our cousin Ian from UBC, went to ttown, stopped at Thrifty’s where we purchased some lunch stuff and made a run for the liquor store and picked up 24 lager beers to go along with Meg’s raided liquor cabinet. It’s never to early for a cocktail.
We arrived that the beach home. Nana’s home.
The day was filled with tears, hugs, unwanted details and surprisingly less warfare between my mom and her siblings than I anticipated.
Meg and I made a sandwich buffet complete with coleslaw and cookies. No one had eaten anything since the night before. No one wanted to eat. But we made them.
Upon speaking with my step-dad, cousin Jess and I got a lot more detail then I wanted to know. Nana did not go peacefully in her sleep. My mom and step-dad had been staying at the beach because Nana had the flu for the past four days. Nana woke up at 5am that morning and she wasn’t right. Apparently, it all happened so fast. Step-dad said that Nana was requesting to go to the hospital [she had a habit of doing that regularly, so there was always assessments going on of the urgency]. The decision was made that this was urgent. A split second decision that this time, they weren’t going in Nana’s car. They were calling 911 to go. The Fire Department arrived then the paramedics. Mom stayed downstairs while Step-dad stayed in the room for as long as he could to be with her. I’ll spare you the gruesome details. But I will say this, thank you to all the EMT’s and Paramedics who did everything they could to try and keep my 89-year-old Nana alive. Thank you to my Step-Dad who was with my Nana till the end, I can’t imagine how painful it is to watch someone you love pass away and be “worked on”.
After I finished that conversation, the rest of the day was quiet. Certain things had to be done on Monday that couldn’t wait. Like move money to accessible accounts so the estate can function during Probate. You need to use whatever points on whatever cards you have because they aren’t usable another day. Surprisingly, my mom and her siblings were working together. All the animosity that had been present in years past was erased. Animosity that should have never been there at all mind you.
All the cousins went through pictures and helped sort a box that needed sorting. It was just something to do. Some played “UNO” – a ttown beach past time. Other mind numbing and useless conversations took place that day.
But it didn’t matter. No one wanted to be alone. No one wanted this day to be real.
Eventually family left, some of us went for dinner then went home. Some went to the airport to pick up family flying in.
The next day I went to work. My mom and her siblings started to keep busy by going through the beach house with little stickers with their names on them. Trying to hold on to things that remind them of their mother. Also, no one wanted to stop moving for fear of the ugly cry.
This event is not unexpected, but damn, you thought you’d at least get to say good-bye.