Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Not Exactly Cheerful, but Very Thankful

I've been wondering for days whether I'd be able to join Planet Penny's Cheerful party this week. If you read my last post, you'll know that I flew to California on Saturday for a visit to my parents, and that my mom had a massive stroke the day before I arrived. After lingering in a non-responsive state over the weekend, she died on Monday night.

So I'm not feeling exactly cheerful, but there are several things for which I am very thankful:

1. The kindness of the flight attendant on the second leg of my flight out, who could see that I was upset and asked if he could help in any way. When I told him that my mom was dying, literally dying as we spoke, and asked if there were any way I could get off the plane quickly when it landed, he moved me to a seat at the front of the plane, and ducked into the cockpit to speak to the pilot (we took off at least 30 minutes late for a 2 hour flight, but landed right on time - I'm pretty sure the pilot put the pedal to the metal for my sake due to the flight attendant's kindhearted intervention). The flight attendant, whose name was Thomas, kept a quiet eye on me throughout the flight (which I spent in tears), and was attentive without being obtrusive. I am so very thankful for the kindness of a stranger at such a difficult time. (I will be e-mailing the airline to let them know what a wonderful job he did.)

2. My mom was still alive when I reached California, and I was able to spend most of the next 53 hours at her side. On Monday morning and afternoon I had several precious hours alone with her. I was so grateful for this chance to sit with her and hold her hand; to tell her, over and over, that I loved her.

3. When my niece A came to watch with me Monday afternoon (a few hours before Mom died), we called my Michigan brother to ask him to play his guitar for her over the speaker phone. After he had played for some minutes, I happened to look away from my mom, and just then I heard my niece gasp. With hands to her face and eyes round with astonishment, she whispered, "Aunt Sue, she smiled!" (My mom had lain unmoving and unresponsive for 2 full days.) It was a small miracle. What a blessing for my brother and my mom. I am so glad that even across the miles he could add beauty and joy to my mom's last hours.

Monday evening, I left the hospital to get some rest and sleep at my dad's house. (My brother and my dad were planning to stay with my mom that night.) Just after 10 pm my brother called to say that Mom had slipped away quietly while no one was looking. He had suddenly realized that the room was very quiet, and when he looked at Mom, her pulse had stopped.

I am so very thankful that Mom had a quiet passing, surrounded by people and voices she loved. I'm thankful she had good medical care and the help of medicine to ease her dying. I'm thankful that by the grace of God I was able to be with her for her last days. Most of all, I'm thankful for her brand new heavenly body, and the joy she's now experiencing as she looks on the face of God.

(Photo taken by my niece when I wasn't looking.
Thank you, A, for this precious remembrance.)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


  1. Dear Sue...that picture of you holding your mom's hand is so precious. What a beautiful gift your niece gave you when she captured that moment.

    The Lord took such sweet care of you during your's a blessing to hear that people care like that! Know that you and your family are being thought of and prayed for as you go through the next few days and weeks!!! Much love!!!

  2. Oh Sue, I've just read your post with tears in my eyes. I'm so sorry to hear of your mother's passing, but so thankful that you were able to spend those precious last hours with her.
    It's lovely, and uplifting when you hear about those people who are prepared to go that extra mile to help others. That flight attendant's kind thoughtfulness will always stay with you. Thank you for feeling able to share this with us,
    love Penny x

  3. A peaceful end to life, surrounded by those who loved and cared for her.

    I'm thinking about you all today,


  4. Thank you for taking the time to post this- you know that many of us have been praying for you all. God bless you in the days ahead - much love x

  5. Dear Sue,
    Just wanted to say so sorry about your loss. It seems your mother's passing was not unexpected but the grief can only be tempered so much. You have strong family support and the kindness of strangers such as that kind flight attendant and the thoughts of your blog readers who are thinking of you and your family at this sad time. I hope it helps a little bit. My deepest sympathies.

    A Lurker

  6. I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm glad it was peaceful though, and it's wonderful that the flight attendant was able to help you during what must have been an incredibly upsetting flight.


  7. I am so sorry for you but I am also glad that you made it in time, and were able to spend those precious hours together. With all love

    Pomona x

  8. Dear Sue, I am so sorry for your loss. Having just experienced the loss of my mother-in-law (and she was the best M-in-L anyone could have) and knowing the same feeling of traveling (for us, by car) as she lay dying, your words are comforting to me for in all ways, I can acknowledge the same thank you's for similiar experiences through out our ordeal. God Bless and thank you for the beautiful thoughts.

  9. You've written about this so beautifully. Still thinking of you, Juliex

  10. Wrapping you in many gentle hugs...

    Yes, you have things to be grateful for.

    But I still don't care for those "Cheerful Weeks" and etc.

    Take care....

    "If you fix on yourself and your tradition,
    believing you alone have got "It,"
    you've removed yourself
    form the rest of mankind."

    ~Joseph Campbell

  11. So sorry for your loss, carry her in your heart always, and know she'll always be a part of you.

  12. Mentally sending you many hugs, Sue. I'm glad that you were able to be there with her during her final days, though.

  13. Glad that you got to your Mom in time to spend time with her. It is nice to know that there are people who go above and beyond for a stranger in need. And glad that you had Thomas watching over you.
    I will be thinking of you and sending you hugs , I lost my Mom in August and it is difficult.

  14. Oh Sue, I was so sorry to read this, my eyes filled up to read about your brother playing the guitar for your mum, how wonderful that you were all able to spend time with her over those couple of days....I can almost imagine the angels pushing your plane to get you there faster!

    'the Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing'

  15. Our hearts are with you. I know your mom was so glad to have you all there, and I'm glad you got to be with her. That flight attendant - what a wonderful thing. So glad you were able to post and let us know how you were doing. Many hugs to you, bright blessings, and perhaps a few Peanuts too.

  16. I am so sorry to hear about this, Sue. I can't even imagine how proud she must have been of you.

    Lots and lots of heartfelt love is being sent your way from here. I'll be thinking of you and hoping that you will be comforted during this difficult time.

  17. What a treasure. You've left me speechless.

    I can say I am so thankful she is free of pain and suffering now. My prayers and thoughts continue to be with you and your dad, as well as the rest of your family. Bless you for writing such a beautiful post during such a difficult time.

  18. Cheerful, it's a funny word. Even when we don't feel cheery we can take cheer from those things that offer solace. I'm sure your lovely flight attendant knew that you would be comforted by his unobtrusive attentiveness. And your niece that a concrete memory of those last hours would be always cherished.

    My heart is with you Sue x

  19. Thank you so much for sharing this with us, Sue. How kind the flight attendant was; how thoughtful your niece. I'm glad your mom is in a better place. Prayers for you all as you adjust to life without her.

  20. My deepest sympathies to you and your family at this time, the words may be spoke often but I say Hi them with meaning. I am a new. follower after finding your flower and bean stalk scarf, which I am crocheting at present. Every stitch I think of you and I have dedicated it to my Dad who died 8 years ago yesterday (and who I also had to make a wild and very distressing journey home for and thankfully got there in time too), an old friend, who died at 41 on Wednesday and your Mom, who I never knew but it seemed fitting.

    God bless
    Aine xxx

  21. I am so sorry for your loss Sue. You will have lots of happy memories to recall when your distress has eased a little.

  22. I'm sorry too, to hear of your loss. It was good though that you were able to be with her at the end and that she is now at peace. Such a caring air steward, so pleasing to know that there are such kind people out there. Thinking of you and your family at this sad time.

  23. I am so sorry for your loss, and I wanted to let you know that I am praying for you and your family as you mourn your loss and celebrate the life of your mother.

  24. This was such a heartfelt post that it feels so inadequate for me to leave a comment. I loved all of this from the thankfulness that you felt for the flight attendant right down to the photo of your hand in your mother's hand. Thinking of you and your family.

  25. I am so sorry for your loss. This was a beautiful account of your last hours together. It sounds like there was much love there.

  26. An absolutely beautiful post filled with love and gratitude. I am sorry to hear of your mother's passing. You are blessed to have spent those last hours with her. Best wishes, Tammy


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