Yeah...not really. January has always been a shitty month for me, it's cold, grey and the days aren't that long. My birthday is in January, which always reminds me that I am getting older. This January tops the shitty list.
For those who don't know, my mom just passed away on Tuesday, two days after my birthday. She had been bouncing back and forth from the hospital to rehab and back again since October. She was originally admitted for kidney failure. Through the course of a few months, she was doing better. She would do regular dialysis and all in all feeling a little better each time. She went back into the hospital for a UTI, which was causing confusion. After lots of antibiotics she bounced back and went back into rehab. We were able to celebrate her birthday back in December. Then January rolled around.....
She had pneumonia, which they were treating her for but she wasn't getting much better. They sent her back to the hospital for fluid around her lung. They treated her and she went from the normal part of the hospital to CCU and back. Over the weekend, I took a trip with my Cub Scout Pack to the Boston Museum of Science for an overnight. I went to visit her on Tuesday after work and she was very irritable and confused. The nurses had asked me to fill out permission for her to get a MRI and a MRA the following day to see if they figure out what was causing the confusion. I went home and then around 6 PM the hospital called me and asked me permission (health care proxy) to do a centerline catheter because they couldn't get medicine in through an IV. Of course I gave permission. The hospital called again to ask permission to drain fluid around her lungs again. 8 PM rolls around and the ER doctor called me and told me what was going on. He suggested that I head down to the hospital. Mom passed away peacefully around 10 PM with my wife and I at her side. I held her hand as she passed, it was cold. The words the doctor said have been haunting me "We're loosing her."
Yeah I know, this is a downer post, but thank you. Thank you to whoever is reading this post, this is the first time I have been able to tell anyone what happened in detail. The only one who knew how it happened was my wife and I am very thankful for her being there with me.
The past few days have been interesting to say the least. More people than I thought I knew have sent emails, Facebook messages, text messages and have called giving their condolences. It felt weird, I posted the information on Facebook but I felt so impersonal by doing it that way. But the social network is amazing, word spread and lots of people knew from one simple post.
My and I have made a decision this week, we are going to have all arrangements....well arranged for when we pass. On top of being an only child from my mom, she didn't have anything in place for herself, dad yes, but not her. In no particular order, these are the things that you should do for your kids...just to save their sanity.
1. Write your own obituary. Seriously, I sat for three hours typing up an obituary for my mom and only had one paragraph written. I knew what she had done and who she left behind and that she was a great person, but you can't form thoughts when you are in a haze like this. Thankfully my wife took over and it got done, and rather well too.
2. If you are going to be cremated, make sure you have that set up too. Mom joined the New Hampshire Cremation Society...for my dad. So if he went, no problem, one phone call and everything was in place. When someone wants to get cremated, there are tons of things you need to know. Things like where your grandparents were born (you're screwed if the were immigrants), is the person really dead? and urns. Holy crap! There are urns of every style, shape and size. It sounds kind of harsh but we chose a simple urn due to the fact that, well, it's going into the ground. I'm not so sure about keeping it on the mantle honestly.
3. Put together a photo album for your service. Save the tears from your love ones by putting together your own photo collage. Hell, do a nice DVD slide show to show on a TV, choose your own music.
4. Make sure your life insurance is up to date....wait, make sure you HAVE life insurance....yeah, oh and make sure it's a local company too, they are assholes either way. You pay and pay into the life insurance and when your family needs it to, oh say, pay for a funeral or medical bills, they don't want to give it up. It's like health insurance, when you need it, they don't like providing it.
Sorry, that was my feeble attempt at humor about this, but it's reality unfortunately. I have to say that I have some amazing friends and one incredible wife. I'm going to miss my mom and so will a lot of people as well.
I love you mom.