02 September 2019

R.I.P. Mom

For the past couple of days, I've been in denial.  Yesterday, I took a ride to Connecticut on a beautiful late-summer Sunday.  Today it has rained.   I spent time with Mildred and did some work that engaged my hands and, occasionally, my mind. (It's somehow appropriate to Labor Day, isn't it?)  Among other things, I built a wheel and did some maintenance on Arielle, my Mercian Audax, and the Fuji.

There are other things I could do.  But I can't use them to escape because, at the moment, escape doesn't seem possible.

On Saturday night, just before midnight--and the change from August to September--my mother passed away.  

She had health problems, mainly stemming from her diabetes, for a number of years.  Last Tuesday night, however, she woke, her skin clammy and her breathing labored.  My father brought her to the hospital and after diagnosing her, installed a pacemaker with a battery would be "good for ten years."

I talked to her on Thursday night.  She complained about one thing and another in the hospital.  Based on my admittedly--and thankfully-- limited experience with such facilities, I can't say I blamed her. (Hospitals really do have the worst beds!)  But she seemed in rather good spirits, given what she was experiencing.  

On Friday, I called her cell phone.  She didn't answer, I thought that she might've gone home.  So I tried the landline.  Still no answer.  I tried each number again, later in the day and that night.  No response.

Finally, on Saturday morning, I heard from my brother in California.  Mom was heaving deep, guttural snores that seemed to come from deep within her body and, when my father tried to wake her, she didn't respond.  

She was hooked to some machines.  The doctor and my father watched intently.  After what must have seemed like an eternity, the doctor said there was nothing more that could be done.

My mother had a DNR on file. (So do I.)  Still, my father said, giving consent to remove life support was the hardest decision he ever had to make.  I tried to reassure him that he was following Mom's wishes.  Most important, he probably spared her a lot of suffering:  Within minutes, she had no brain activity.

Dear readers, I am sorry if I am burdening you with onerous details.  What I had been trying to avoid is happening:  I am replaying the conversation and exchanges of texts about something I was absolutely powerless to change.  My father, my brother, Millie and others I've talked to have reassured me that the fact I wasn't in that hospital was not a reason why she passed just before midnight on Saturday.  Even with her medical issues, none of us could have known how close she was to the end of her life.  Perhaps she knew; if she did, she didn't let on.

Anyway, I am writing this because I have posted every day for the past five years and most days for about four years before that.  I might not post for a while, but I am not abandoning this blog.  If nothing else, though she saw only a few posts (She never learned how to use a computer; she saw things online only when my father showed them to her), I think she'd want me to continue:  She knew how important cycling and writing are to me.  They've helped me, as she did, through some difficult times in my life.  I don't think that will change.


  1. There is never a good moment for the inevitable... My mother saved me any distress by never showing affection and driving me from the family home but I do know what it feels when close friends are suddenly gone. Let the emotions flow.

  2. So sorry to hear this news, Justine. My condolences.

  3. My sincerest condolences. I am truly sorry for your loss. I hope that you find joy in your mother's memory and comfort from those that love you.

  4. So sorry Justine. I recall some of the times you mentioned your mother in your writing and it always made me feel good. Moms have that affect. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Justine,

    I am very, very sorry for your loss.

  6. I'm very sorry to hear about your mothers passing. I lost my mom 48 years ago and it still hurts like hell. I wish you strength and comfort in the coming days.

  7. Justine,

    Otan osa.

    This terse expression in Finnish must be translated as "I take part in your sorrow".

    My mother passed away now five years ago. Every so often I think of something I want to say the next time I phone her. And then I remember.

    I do not expect this to change in the near future. They live in our memory.


  8. So sorry, Justine. Losing a loved one is so difficult. Unfortunately, it's something everybody experiences.

  9. I am so sorry for your loss. My mother too lives in Florida. She is 97 and still on her own. My dad "passed"on.