December 14, 1940 to January 2, 2013
72 years and 19 days
|always with her beautiful pearls on. she loved them so.|
my mom passed away on january 2, 2013. she was ready to go, and we were finally ok with that. she suffered a long, horrible illness (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis) for a devastating 4 1/2 years. my mom, which we nicknamed, 'the tank', was just that: unstoppable, and tough. you may have noticed i've been pretty absent from this blog for the last 4 to 6 months or so. taking care of our mother became an all consuming priority. my brother and sister and i did everything in our power to make her comfortable. if there was a cure for this disease, we would have found it. but there isn't a cure. they say they are close to it, but yet many years away from 'a pill' or treatment plan that will stop the progression of it. it's a nasty disease that literally scars your lungs so badly that it leaves you breathless, like your suffocating. and ultimately you die from lack of oxygen. it's an ugly disease, right to the very end. i can honestly say it was the toughest 4 1/2 years of my life. worse than anything i've ever known or experienced. nothing, ever, has ever knocked my mother off her feet. nothing. except this disease.
|my birthday. from this picture i see elisa, my spitting image.|
the last two months my mom was in palliative care, where she tried to be strong. we took turns spending the day with her, making sure she was never alone. over the last 4.5 years, we've tried to prepare ourselves for the end. we thought we were ready for it. we thought we had said and done what there was to be said or done. but we have come to realize you can never, ever be prepared.
|my mom liked to have fun, and a good laugh.|
you can't prepare yourself for the uglyness of death. it was bitter, and ugly right till her last breath. mom waited until after christmas, and new years, to finally decide to give up her fight. she was ready. we were ready. that morning, after the morphene had worn off somewhat, she got extremely restless, and wanted to get up and sit in a chair, she was asking to go home, she was very agitated. the doctor ordered higher doses of morphene, and i'll never forget her eyes rolling into the back of her head, and her eyes closing, and from then on she was in a morphene induced coma. that was the last time i saw my mothers eyes open.
|she loves her boys my mamma does. she loved her xavier like no other.|
shortly after, the doctor told us that we should be prepared for her to go at any time, with no more than 2 to 3 days left. so we got the cots ready, and were prepared for at least a few more days of this. but it wasn't to be.
|told ya my mom liked to laugh. having fun with my brothers halloween hat.|
that night, at 2:30 am, her breathing was very laboured despite the morphene, and her chest was making all kinds of noises from the fluids in her lungs. at one point she foamed at the mouth. at that point we screamed for the nurse. the nurse said she may have had a seizure.
|me and my moms on my wedding day. she walked me down the aisle.|
and i swear to god, i've never in my life ever seen this.... the colour from her face drained by the second, it was like a veil moving down her face, and then, i screamed, 'is this it?", i told her to , 'go mom, it's ok to go, you're ok, we'll be ok, we love you, and say hi to pappa for us". the minute i said that, her heart stopped. everything stopped. we could literally feel and see her soul leave her body. it was like a wind blowing through our hair. it was the most incredible thing i've ever experienced in my life. it was traumatic. it was dramatic. it was horrifying.
|doesn't she look beautiful here? on this day she wasn't feeling very well, but she insisted on going to watch the easter parade at my in-laws house. she had her oxygen but took off the nose piece for the picture.|
|mom and dad having fun at one of our christmas dinners, with the toy mustache and lips found in their crackers. too damned funny.|
my word of intention for this year is FORWARD. moving forward, onward, life goes on. my mom wanted us to. she didn't want us mourning.
|see she loved her pearls.|
|with her boys. boy did she love her boys (and her pearls, see she had them on again)|
we're heartbroken and miss her physical presence horribly, but our hearts are relieved that she is no longer suffering. right now she is running and walking, and taking long deep satisfying breaths.
|a picture from long long ago. at the kitchen cleaning, or cooking up a masterpiece dinner in a matter of 5 minutes. i remember those homemade dresses she used to make herself. she'd slip into them after she came home from work.|
suffice to say, our hearts are broken, and it may take some time for me to get back to regular blogging, but i intend to get back to some sort of 'new' normal. i know she's around. i feel her presence over me. i know she's not far. and this is exceptionally comforting. right mom?
|her brood. yes, that's our friend matthew at the bottom with a black wig on (for fun). i was in my moms arms crying because i wanted to try on the wig and matthew wouldn't let me.|
these images i've posted, is how i remember my mom in my heart. when she was happy, healthy, funny, and a fierce mamma bear. these are the memories i will forever hold onto.
we miss and love you mom, ti amiamo per sempre.
much love, f