In January, after several years of declining health and increasing medical issues, my mom was given just a couple of days to live. What followed was a poignant procession of good-byes, visits from family and friends, and one of the biggest displays of obstinance I have likely ever seen. Always stubborn, Mom decided to prove the doctor wrong and recover from immediate danger. She was determined to do two things: go back to church and hold her first great grandchild.
Just before Easter, she swore she felt well enough to go to church. Even the doctor said if she wanted to go there was no point in stopping her. On Easter Sunday she made her triumphant return to Church to be received with hugs, kisses, and well wishes from her friends. Then on Mother’s Day she held 9-day old little Anthony Joseph in her arms. It was both joyful and heartbreaking to see them together. Having met both goals, days later she slipped peacefully from this world to the next. She had a beautiful sending off, surrounded by love. It was a joyous celebration of a life well lived, dedicated to her family and service to others.
What’s left is an aching hole in my heart that seems may never heal. I still feel as though I am in slow motion, as if walking through pudding. I still want to pick up the phone and call her. I still want to see the excitement from my doggies when they hear me ask, “Who wants to go see Grandma?” I still want to feel her warm embrace or see her rosary beads expertly gliding through her fingers. I still want to feel the safety and warmth that only a mother’s love provides.
I have many happy and wonderful memories that are beginning to surface and life is getting back to routine. Maybe someday I’ll be beyond the pain and rather than tell you about her death, I’ll tell you about her life, the incredible mother and role model she was, and all the wonderful ways she always let me know I was loved.
Ti voglio bene, Mama. Ti voglio bene.