2011 started off as any New Year does. My mom and I watched the ball drop in Times Square on TV. My dad was working overnight at the time so he was at work ringing in the new year. It was a tradition for us to watch the Rockin’ New Year’s Eve with Dick Clark, and then Ryan Seacrest after Dick Clark’s passing.
The first couple of months of the new year were pretty uneventful. Life went on as normal. Resolutions made, like with many people, weren’t kept. We just kept going like usual, and then March came. Usually March is one of my favorites months of the year because my dad’s birthday is in March and of course St. Patrick’s Day. I loved wearing green and then pinching my friends and family if they weren’t wearing green.
Mid March was like any other mid March. The weather couldn’t make up it’s mind on if it wanted to be warm or cool. The night of March 16th I had been up late, said bye to my dad as he was leaving for work, and went back to my room to watch some more TV. I remembered that I still had the iron and ironing board in my room and didn’t want my mom to have to wake me early to get it, so around 11:30pm or so I took it out to the living room for her. My mom was still up and complaining of a headache, which wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for her. I told her I was going to bed and that I loved her. Little did I know that would be the last time I would get to talk to my mom.
The next morning, March 17th, my dad came home and yelled back to let her know he was home and he didn’t get an answer. He went back to the bedroom and didn’t hear the shower running, which was odd because normally my mom would already be getting ready for work around 7:15-7:30am. When he looked in the bathroom he saw my mom on the floor. He ran back to my bedroom, threw open my door and yelled, “Sarah, I think your mom is dead.” That’s not something you ever want to hear or how you want to get woken up. I went back to the bathroom with my dad and I could tell my mom was gone.
The rest of the day was a whirlwind. We called 911. Paramedics arrived first and had to call the hospital to have a doctor okay a time of death. After that happened the sheriff’s office, a crime scene investigator, and the coroner’s office all came out. When a person dies at home and they haven’t been under the care of a doctor there is so much that has to be done to rule out something like foul play etc. After my dad and I answered tons of questions the coroner took my mom’s body to do an autopsy to determine her cause of death. We got a call later that afternoon saying the autopsy had been completed and a cause of death had been determined. My mom had a brain aneurysm at the base of her brainstem that ruptured. The coroner said that because of the location of it when it ruptured she wasn’t in any pain and wouldn’t even have known anything had happened, which gave me some piece of mind.
The next few days were rough with having to notify family and friends. My mom never liked talking about end of life stuff, so we had no idea what her last wishes were. My dad and I did what we could and had her cremated and then held a really nice memorial service and a fellowship after. It was so hard and for a long time I felt lost without my mom. As time goes on you adjust and get used to what has become your new normal, but the sadness still hits on holidays, birthdays, mother’s day.
As time goes on and exciting things happen you still get that reflex to pick up your phone to call because you want to share something and then you realize you can’t. As time goes on it becomes easier to cope and manage, but it still feels like a part of you is missing.
With Christmas coming up my hope is that for whoever is reading this blog, who has gone through the loss of a parent (or both parents like myself), is that you are surrounded by family and friends and lots of love. Merry Christmas!