By these photos, taken by my friend at Arlington National Cemetery, you might feel this is a post about Memorial Day, but it’s not. My mom’s birthday falls on Memorial Day this year. I have wrote about mom’s death before, but I’m going to take another swing at. Warning this piece might be considered a little long, over 600 words.
My mom died on February 6, 1998 from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and spent most of ‘97 in and out of two hospitals. The closest one was Malcolm Grove on Andrews Air Force Base and the other was Bethesda Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. She was always in a room with two beds no matter which venue we were at. As it worked out the other bed was never taken by another patient during any of her visits and I was allowed to sleep in it. Guess the Doctors new mom wasn’t long for this world and the bed was mine if it wasn’t needed.
Mom loved us kids and her grandchildren and was constantly praying for us. I drank and drugged for years and she prayed that I would stop and I did nine years before her death. I was given the blessing to give back the kindness and love that she gave me all my life and was able to move her in with me for her last year on earth. As a result of that year I lost almost everything I had after she died, because I neglected everything and concentrated on her. The one thing I did not give up was sharing the Gospel Message in the Charles County Detention Center (CCDC) every Thursday. I would go home to wash clothes and re-up for another week at the hospitals, then go to jail and give the message, before going back to mom the next day.
Here’s where the miracle takes place. She was moved from the west wing of the fifth floor at Malcolm Grove to Bethesda four days before she died. Side note, dad died at Malcom Groove in 1975 on the east wing of the fifth floor. The Doctors said she had two days to live, so they wanted to move her to a special bed. It was a noisy bed because of the movement needed to combat bed sores. I used the other bed to either sleep in or study for the next message at the CCDC. In order to concentrate on the message I needed to turn the TV up as back ground noise.
Picture this: I’m in the hospital room with mom, the noisy bed, loud TV and all of my study material is on my bed. All of a sudden the world went silent. The TV made no sound, even as I saw the actor’s lips moving, but no sound came from them. I looked at mom and she was fixed as I had grown use to – no change. The bed was muted, but it was still moving as normal. There was no sound from the hallway or outside, the wind was blowing the tree tops but hushed. I got up and walked to mom’s right side and cupped her right hand with my left one. After a few seconds God gave me the opportunity to wipe mom’s last tear from her right eye. I knew she was finally at peace – so was I. Then as an afterthought, all volume returned.
I packed my belongings, turned the TV off and stepped to the hallway after one last look at mom and the room. Standing outside of that unforgettable room I nodded to the Doctor down the hall on my right, then turned left for home. God gave mom and I that special moment to say goodbye. Mom is buried on top of dad and they share the same headstone.