Sitting near the window, on a cold April night, the chill in my mother’s hospital room had me longing for my flannel pajamas.
The drive to the hospital from my aunt’s house felt like forever. The lights on the ambulance were on, but not the siren. My aunt and I followed behind it while other drivers gave us the right of way with a look of wonder and sympathy. “Do you need something to wear to bed, Hun?” the nurse asked me after everyone had left. She brought back a pair of hospital scrubs and gave me the privacy to change. SANTA ROSA MEMORIAL was stamped on the back pocket. The last time I was there was the day I was born. Today, my mother came here to die.
I begged my stepfather to stay with me but he said it was something I had to do myself. I remembered people saying the same thing about their dying loved ones. “I don’t want to see them like this” “I don’t want to remember them this way.” I told myself these things, too, in hopes of escaping the fact that my mother was going to leave me when I was only 25.
In our last conversation, my mom told me about her hallucinations, a side effect of the medications she was on. She saw fairies in the corner of my cousin’s room.
In the hospital, she didn’t want to be hooked up to any iv meds but the oral medication wasn’t taking care of the pain her body was going through. Even though we kept her hooked up to the machines, the look on her face let me know she was at peace but the mother I knew was already gone. This is why I didn’t want to be there.
I called a friend to vent. To tell them that I was scared, sad, and alone. When I hung up the phone I made my first move towards the hospital bed. I allowed the memories of my mother to flood through my head. I remembered all the times my mother was there for me: When I was sick. When I moved across the country. When I broke up with a boyfriend. When she told me she had breast cancer. During those crucial moments in my life, she had been there for me and now this was my time to be there for her. My mood changed instantly. I pulled up a chair near to her bed. I held her hand. I wrote down when she moved, how much medication she had, when she seemed to be in pain.
Even though I didn’t want to remember her like this, she was still there. And I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else.
Written by Erika
Erika is a California native who moved to Vermont in 2006. She is raising her 2 daughters with her husband in the great Green Mountain state. She is a former makeup artist and cosmetology instructor who is now a SAHM to her 4 year old and 4 month old girls. She enjoys spending time with her husband and daughters exploring Vermont, taking road trips, and discovering all the amazing food this state has to offer.