This is the 4th Mothering Matters blog in the Spring 2020 series
When a Soul Calls Out to Us
“It isn’t easy letting go of someone you love. It’s even harder when you know it’s the right thing to do.”
Okay…this is a bit of a tricky blog to write. Not because I have any doubt as to what happened. I know what I heard. This is a dicey blog to share because I am asking you to believe something that may seem highly improbable to some people. And that’s okay.
In March of 2014, my mom was booked to have hip surgery. She was 88 years old. Physically, her health wasn’t great. Mentally, she was sharp as a tack.
Her occupation had been a nurse, so she was aware of the risks of having hip surgery at that advanced age, when in such fragile state.
But she made what I – and all of us in the family – thought was a calculated risk in choosing to have the surgery. The pain in her disintegrated hip had become so uncomfortable that she would rather take the risk of having the surgery which, if successful, would result in lessening that discomfort and increasing her mobility, versus not having the surgery…and living the rest of her days in chronic pain.
She made the decision to have the surgery. It was booked for a Thursday.
On the Saturday before, I was at my home in Sidney, BC, sound asleep on the couch in the sunroom (my elderly dog, Soda, needed to go outside every few hours so I was sleeping by the back door). At 3 a.m., I heard my mom’s voice, clear as day and strong as a bull, calling out to me (just like she did whenever she needed me to do something…which was often 😉): “Maryanne! Maryanne…”
I opened my eyes and looked around the sunroom for my mom. Of course, she wasn’t there. She was at home in Calgary. I was sure I had heard her voice versus dreamt it. I went back to sleep.
Thursday rolled around and, due to Soda being in rough shape and all three of my brothers lined up for being on deck for surgery day and the days to follow, I wasn’t booked to go back to Calgary to help with our mom’s post-op care until Tuesday…so four days after her surgery.
That was the plan.
My mom had her surgery on the Thursday. All went well. Really well, in fact. I spoke to her on Thursday night and she sounded weak but happy: “I made it!”
But on Friday, she started to go downhill. In hindsight, she simply didn’t have the strength for the rehabilitation. She was struggling. By Saturday, she was very pale, vomiting and didn’t even have the strength to talk to me on the phone (that had NEVER happened before!).
My brothers kept me in the loop. They were getting increasingly concerned that not only had the surgery had been too hard on her frail body, the initial attempts at rehabilitation were proving to be too much.
On Saturday night, I was again asleep on my couch in my Sidney sunroom. At 3 a.m., I awoke again to my mom’s voice calling out to me. But this time, it was significantly weaker. And she was calling me by my childhood nickname: “Bigoo…bigoo…”Something wasn’t right. My tiger of a mother sounded like a lamb. Click To Tweet
She made it through Sunday. But my brothers were extremely concerned.
Monday morning, I got the call.
“Mom’s gone,” my brother Doug said.
I dropped to the floor. “What?”
“Goo…Mom died this morning.”
The doctor had been in to check her at 8 a.m.. She was fine. Weak but chirpy. When the nurse came in at 9 a.m., she was dead. She had aspirated – choked to death – either on phlegm or vomit. Either way, she should not have been left on her back.
But that’s not what this blog is about.
This blog is about my mom’s soul calling out to me before she passed…not once but twice. I know full well my mom wanted me to be there with her for the surgery and immediate post-op recovery. I probably should have been. But for multiple reasons, I wasn’t.
And this may sound like an odd thing to say but I also know that if I had hopped on a plane on the Sunday, my mom may not have died on Monday morning. I’m not saying I could have prevented her death. But there’s a part of me that wonders if I had been there, she may not have died when she did or the way she did. I have a feeling she may have survived that rocky first week.As her daughter, I think I may have been able to give her the strength she needed. Click To Tweet
But let’s say she had lived. Because of her fragile physical health, she would not have had the necessary strength to fully recover from that hip surgery. She likely would have had to go into a long-term care facility. And for my mom, that would have been far worse than death.
We all knew that.
And now that I’ve had a few years to process her sudden passing, I do think the whole damn thing went down about as best as it possibly could. I would even be so bold as to say it all went down the way it was supposed to…spiritually speaking.
When my mom’s soul called out to me the first time, under normal circumstances, Maryanne the daughter would have dropped everything and flew home to help.But I suspect my soul knew otherwise…the time was near that I would have to let my mom go. And better for her that she went sooner rather than later. Click To Tweet
I miss my Tiger Mom very much. Since her passing, I have not heard her voice calling out to me …demanding, kind or otherwise. What I do feel is her presence in my life. Although my Mom gleefully pushed my buttons, barged through my boundaries, and bossed me around like nobody’s business, she loved me fiercely…and knew better than anyone want my heart and soul desire most.
As such, I get the distinct sense that she has a hand in all the good things coming my way these days.
Related blogs by Maryanne
Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. To receive her weekly blog, Weekly Words of Wisdom, please sign up here.
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