I cried today, I am not sure I was crying for the loss of my mother, yet I am sure it was connected.
You see, her neighbor had been diagnosed a few months ago, a few months ago when my mom was healthy and going on with her life, this woman was diagnosed with brain cancer and it was inoperable. They told her to go home or go to hospice. She was walking, talking and living her life.
Just move to hospice? To wait and die? I don’t think so.
So this neighbor, Anne, would stay in her home. She would live her life. Sure there were days that she wasn’t herself. She had headaches, she was tired. She was angry. After all, she had truly been given a death sentence.
Her daughter moved in with her and her father. They continue their days. A few weeks ago, when my mom died. It was said that the husband would come to pay his respects but that Anne refused to come into the funeral home. She would come but would sit in the car. After all, it would be hard to be in a place that she herself would most likely be in sooner, than later.
The time came and the husband, Anne and her daughter came. Anne decided that NO! she would not wait in the car. She wanted to see my mom and pay her respects and say her goodbyes. After all, they had been neighbors and somewhat friends for nearly 30 years.
She came. She was in a wheelchair. If you didn’t know, you might not suspect how sick she was. As I saw them make their way to the front of the chapel, I thought it only proper that I say hello. As I reached to introduce myself and accept a hug from her daughter, I saw Anne. Sitting so pretty, so sweet and so devasted over my mom.
She sat just a few feet from my mom’s casket. She was visibly shaken. She was quite but tears streamed down her face. She looked like a child sitting there. You knew immediately that not only was she sad but she was scared. My heart broke. It was really the first time I had actually met her. I remember saying “oh honey, it’s going to be ok” I felt I needed to let her know she would be ok. Yes, she too would be where my mom was but she too would be surrounded by those who loved her.
I felt an immediate connection to her.
The days continued with our farewell to my mom. Three days later as I was loading my car to leave, it was a familiar sight to see the neighbor, Richard in his yard. A usual wave would be all that was needed. Today was different.
As I looked across the street to their house, I saw Anne and Richard sitting just inside the door of the garage. I immediately went over. I thanked her for coming to see my mom and told her how much it meant to me. I told her how my mom spoke of her often. She listened intently. Her eyes welled up.
I gave her a hug. I offered a hug to Richard, who has known me for years. He didn’t budge. Get up I told him and give me a hug. Anne responded, “Listen to her, don’t be so stubborn” Hard to believe that this was a woman who would be gone in 3 weeks. Yes. She is gone. Before I left, I told her I would be back in a month. She repeated my words then added “Ok” .
I walked back to my car knowing it was possibly the last time I would see her.
Just 3 days ago, she was out again sitting on her driveway. She visited with Chuck (mom’s husband) and their dog. She came across the street in her wheelchair admiring the flowers of another neighbor.
Today I received the news around 2:50 pm that Anne had taken a turn for the worse and was being moved to Hospice. She was unresponsive.
At 7:19pm, I received a message that she had died after going into Hospice this evening.
The heartbreak continues.