I'm not one that usually dwells on dates, especially for the day a loved one died. But with my parents it's a little different.
I always think of my Dad on his birthday, which is within days of Father's Day, and also is the day he died. It's always a bit of the happy, remembering a great father on his special day, and the sad, that he was taken too soon.
With my Mom, I can never think of this holiday weekend without remembering her and the day she died. Funny, how the events of August 2 still stand out so clearly in my mind. Some of that s guilt, because I never made it to Florida to say goodbye in person.
I carry way too much guilt around, even after all these years, that my dedication to my job, my sense of responsibility to those in my care, sometimes took precedence over family.
My mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor in June, a secondary cancer, first being the lung. My brother and his wife were in Florida, helped her through the set up and scheduling of her radiation. My kids and I went in early July, and for a couple of weeks, taxied her to her treatments and to the oncologist.When we left, my sister took over for the next week.
She was very weak, and it was like that old cartoon, "I've fallen and I can't get up". She entered hospital on a Thursday. My brother and I, living in Canada, made arrangements to go back down, he on the holiday weekend, and me on the Wednesday after.
This is where the guilt comes in. I was the in-charge/on-call person for three long term care facilities. My supervisor was returning to work after her holidays on Tuesday, August 2, and I was planning to give her my report, go home, pack, and leave the next morning.
While in my office, clearing my desk, the phone rang. It was my mother, calling from the hospital. She didn't make a lot of sense, but the I love you's came across clear and strong. My brother apologized for dropping such an emotional call on me at work, but Mom had insisted she speak with me and he felt it was better to call, to calm her down.
Needless to say, I was an emotional wreck. I went to see my boss, who was also a friend, and she took over, taking care of everything. She took my plane ticket, called the airlines and changed my departure to that afternoon. She even arranged for a rental car to be available in Tampa when I landed.
My daughter, bless her heart, threw all my stuff in my suitcase, picked me up at work and drove me directly to the airport. Next thing I knew I was on a plane, flying first to Atlanta, then on to Tampa.
I held it together until we changed planes in Atlanta. When I was seated, waiting for take off, they played this video of all these lovely nature scenes, with appropriate music. I started to cry and couldn't stop. A woman sitting across from me was very kind, and expressed some concern that I would be driving, late, and in what would be the dark, inland to where my mother lived. I admit it was a worry for me too.
It was not to be a problem. As I was heading to the car rental booth, I heard my name called, and when I turned, there was my brother. I knew as soon as I saw him that I was too late.
We had an interesting conversation as to how he finally learned I was on my way early. As his wife had arranged all our tickets, he knew when I was flying down, and when he called work, couldn't understand why my boss kept saying I was already gone. I think their discussion got a little heated, understandable given the high emotions.
At any rate I didn't have to make the drive alone, and my brother and I were able to talk.
So, on this day, I'm remembering my Mom, love you and miss you always.
I'm remembering my great take charge friend Marg B.
And I remember and always appreciate the brother who has never let me down, and has always been there for me. Love you too, baby brother.