41 minutes

As we sat in that room two years ago yesterday, the mood was incredibly somber. Mom was 45 feet down the hall, in a room where medical devices had been helping her breath and keeping her alive for the past few days. Rose, the family counselor, was in the room with my Father, Brother, Sister, and I. The doctors came in, it is difficult to remember how many there were, one, two, I was more focused on my dad than anything else. I remember distinctly feeling that his entire appearance had changed, though it was probably more that all of us were weary after many sleepless nights and the knowledge that this very meeting was coming. As we listened they explained the options. Options, really? I recall thinking we aren't at a restaurant trying to decide between the seafood or steak, this is my mother here. My hero, mentor, please stop making it sound like something positive could possibly come out of this.

When they were done speaking, my Dad looked to us. I cannot remember if any words were spoken. But in that moment, my siblings and I knew there was only one answer. He was her soulmate, best friend, and they had a plan for this. Whatever he said was to come next was what she would want. So we quietly consoled each other, knowing where the road was headed.

Our family informed the hospital staff that we wanted to cease life supporting effort on Monday at 1 pm. The date would be January 5, 2009. I made a quick run back to Ohio to get Angel and the boys, who were waiting at the door when I arrived. We packed the rental car I had picked up and headed west again. Along the way Angel and I talked about the next day. Angelia, Josh, and I all had to decide whether we would want to be in the room when it happened. I told my wife I had decided not to. It was a decision I struggled with then, and continue to do so even today. My thoughts at the time was that I could not watch her leave this world. I could not watch this amazing woman take her last breath. I didn't have the strength to do so. I was not sure if I was being wise or selfish. Either way when one o'clock came, I was in the waiting room with my Grandfather and other family members.

My mother lived 41 minutes after the machines were turned off. I do not know what those 41 minutes were like. Josh has tried to tell me a couple of times, and each time I have cut him off or he has broken down and couldn't go any further. Two years later I confess that I do regret not being there for that time. I keep asking myself if she knew I wasn't.

The rest of the day is such a blur in my memory. The only thing I remember with distinct clarity is the demeanor of my sister Angelia. My mother had always tried to be the calming voice in a storm of emotions in the past when our family faced loss or a struggle . She was the glue that held our family together. Watching Ang that day and in the days leading to the funeral was like watching mom, as she made sure everyone was ok, had the conversations that none of the rest of us wanted anything to do with, and did a hundred other things to make sure things went as beautifully as mom would have wanted. I know you read, sis, and I don't think I have ever said thank you for that. So I thought I would say it now.

Her funeral was scheduled for the ninth, and I will share some of the details of that day in a later blog. But January 5 was the day we lost her. I will not blog tomorrow night as I will need to be up early Wednesday to make the trip to the cemetery. It will be a pilgrimage I will take every year on that date, no matter where in the world I may be. She is with me every day, I feel her in every part of my life. Whether when the boys do something great and I want to call her, or I am hurting and I know she would find the right words, or I face any other struggles or victories and know she would be behind me no matter if I was right or wrong. But I will never again let a 1 pm on a January 5 go by without being by her side.

Good Night All...........


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