Posted by: tgonzales | February 9, 2015

Mama’s Death and Grieving

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Mama’s death was one of the hardest and easiest things I have had to deal with. All of my emotions were in use that Friday 3 weeks ago. I was sad that I was actually losing my Mama, mad that I couldn’t do anything about it, and happy that I was there to tell her that it was alright for her to go. I kept telling her that she had done her work well while she was here on Earth. I told her that she made a difference in everyone’s lives that she came in contact with. The main thing that made me the happiest was that she would no longer have to deal with all of the side effects from the Alzheimer’s disease. Although people kept telling us that all of this had gone so fast; Jackie and I talked about this over and over again. We went back ten years or more and remembered that Mama had experienced all the symptoms of losing her mind back then. When my Dad had his stroke and heart attack in 2010, my Mama had to struggle her way through that time as she took care of him. Jackie stepped in to help with everything; taking them to their doctors’ appointments, setting up my niece Angie to start doing their medications and so on and so on. Jackie started helping Mama with her finances and her day to day chores on an as-needed-basis until after our Dad died. Then Jackie continued to make Mama look good for another 2 ½ years, then Mama fell and hit her head the day after Memorial Day last year and everything went downhill from there. Jackie stayed with her throughout the week and Jennifer and I stayed with her on the weekends. And we did that until we could no longer contain her. Our Mama started wandering off across 4 lanes of traffic to walk to the neighbors. She was getting more and more agitated and was packing and wanting to move every day while she was at her home. Towards the end of her life she was unable to sit up straight most days and unable to use eating utensils. She no longer could write with a pen, keep up with a conversation, stitch with a needle, or crochet with a hook. Most days she didn’t know who I was when I would visit her and didn’t even acknowledge that I was in the room. Jackie and I watched as our Mama died one brain cell at a time and we have been grieving for seven long months.

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When we found out that we only had hours left with our Mama, we called family members to let them know,

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we made sure she was comfortable, clean, and in no pain.

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We loved on her and told her over and over that it was ok to leave us and that everyone would be alright. Around 11:00 pm on that Friday night Angie, Emilee, and Jennifer decided that they would go ahead and go home to rest, but Jackie and I refused to leave her or each other as we settled in for the night. Jackie lay down beside of Mama and I laid in the recliner at the foot of the bed. As only a Mama would do; our Mama waited until everything was quiet and her babies were sleeping and at 1:15 am on Saturday, January 17, 2015 I heard my Mama’s breathing get quieter and quieter as I jumped to Mama’s side to feel her last breath rush from her body, I knew that she was gone and woke Jackie to tell her. After we notified the nurses of her death; Jackie and I gathered our things and as we kissed, hugged and said that we loved each other; we needed our rest to continue with planning the funeral.

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Over the next several days after her death our family pulled together to organize the funeral. Mama would be proud of us organizing such a lovely service. Two of her grandsons officiated the service, a granddaughter made a slideshow tribute, another granddaughter organized songs onto a cd to be played at the service, a friend did Mama’s hair, another granddaughter sang a song for the service, six grandsons carried her casket to the grave,

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one grandson carried my Daddy’s ashes to place in the casket with our Mama, a son-in-law sang at the graveside,

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a grandson read an Alzheimer’s poem at the graveside, and there was standing room only with lots of friends and family.

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There was a luncheon organized by dear friends and daughter in law. Mama would have been happy; after all the food that she had delivered to funerals and homes after people that she knew had died. It was her time to be honored with a feast.

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Although hours will go by and I will be fine; then I will smell a familiar smell (like apples cooking), or hear a song (Remember Me), or hear a thread pulled through a piece of fabric and as that familiar sound of the thread sliding and the needle popping; it brings back the tears. But mostly I smile when I remember my dear Mama. As Jackie and I remind each other at the end of the day we did everything we could for our dear sweet Mama, we have no regrets. I want to take this time now to thank everyone who has sent prayers, cards, donations to Harry Hynes Hospice, calls, and sweet kind words. Please know that I am going to try and get back to writing as I know it will help with the healing process. For now I leave you with Love and Warm Hugs!


Responses

  1. Such a wonderful story and you could see as well as feel all the love. God Bless you and your family.

    • Thank you so much!

  2. Thank you for sharing, Tamara. The love you all feel for your mama is very evident. She indeed would be very proud of all of you! Your love for her will help you as you move forward. Hugs!

    • Hi Jeanne! Thank you so much for all your encouraging words as I travel this road of healing. Love and Hugs, Tamara

  3. Oh Tammy, I have been hoping you would get back to writing your blog-I’ve missed it. Your moms service was a wonderful tribute to a very special person for many many people. I loved her dearly and always will. I have so wanted to call and find out how you kids were doing. I didn’t call because I knew you all needed your time to grieve. Know that I love you all very much. sw

    • Hi Sue! Thank you for always being here with all your encouraging words. You are one of the people who make me want to continue this writing thing that comes from my heart onto the page. I know that you love me and that matters. Love you too!!!! Me.

  4. Words can not express the love and sweetness of this post.
    The post came on my email, which I will save for a long time.

    • Hi Suz! Awww, thank you so much for the kind words and all that you do for me. Love you and your family so much! Tamara

  5. Thank you Tamara for sharing this very personal journey. It really touched me deeply. I will share that when my mother moved to The Bluffs in Columbia, Mo. I gifted her with a cheery, colorful quilt to put on her bed. She loved it and sleep under that quilt for several years. When she passed away she lie beneath that quilt……….I now have that quilt on my bed and it gives me great comfort just touching it and knowing my mother was there and felt the soft quilting and enjoyed the cheerful colors, just as i do now…….so you know i really appreciated seeing the quilt covering your mother and all the loving hands surrounding her on the quilt…….

    • Tamara, the above comment is from me

      • 🙂

    • Hi Rosa. What a great memory for you. As you, I have the quilt that was on my dear Mama when she passed away. I plan on keeping it close to me too. Thank you so much for reading and loving the words that pour out of me. Hope to see you soon. Love and Hugs, Tamara

  6. Bless your heart and God be with you. hugggg

    • Thank you so much!

  7. Tamara, the journey that you and Jackie took together in the care of your Mother was truly a blessing to read about. You girls were wonderful sisters and a blessing to your Mother. Be proud of the journey you girls took to care for her and the tribute you all paid to such a wonderful woman. Hugs to you my friend.

    • Hi Barbara! Thank you so much for stopping by to comment. Your kind words mean a lot. Love and Hugs!

  8. Sending love and hugs to you xoxo

    • Thank you so much Pam! Love and Hugs right back at you.

  9. So sorry to hear this, sending prayers your way

    • Thank you so much Mary! Hugs, Tamara

  10. Dear sweet Tamara,
    It was so good to read this and view the photos. I admit I chuckled inwardly when I saw her hands with purple polish, a thimble, & embroidery scissors. Your & Jackie’s care of your Mama was … beyond words! I have been so impressed and still am. THE KINGERY FAMILY ROCKS!!!
    With my love,
    Kat

    • Hi Kat! Thank you for loving my post and for always being here. I knew you would pick up on all the little details of the funeral. Love you!

  11. Thank you, Tamara, for sharing your love of your mom with us. I wanted to come to the funeral but I had no way of getting there. I knew it would be a very loving affair! It will take a long time to get used to the idea she is gone. But you have lots of family and friends to remember with. That’s good!

    • Hi Sue! Thank you for stopping by to comment. Love and Hugs.

  12. Even though I wasn’t there, I thought of you all. Thank you for so eloquently expressing about your Mother and the things you went through. Love you!

    • Hi Ruthie! I’m so glad you stopped by to comment. Love you too!

  13. What a wonderful and encouraging post to read. Your whole family is amazing. Thinking of you all. xxx

    • Hello Jill! Thank you for liking the post and for always being here. Love you my Friend.

  14. Your Mum would have been so proud of you all. Take your time to grieve now, I still miss my Dad every day.

    • Hi Cathy! Thank you so much for stopping by to comment. It makes my day. Love and Hugs, Tamara

  15. What a sweet and special tribute!

    • Hi Mindy! Awww thank you so much for liking my post. Love and Hugs!

  16. Tammy, my tears are falling as I read your words here. They bring back so many memories of my mom’s last few hours, so very similar a situation as you and Jackie faced. We are never ready to lose them, even when our heads know it’s for the best. Our hearts are breaking with the loss. You are right to feel no regrets, only love. I adore the picture of your mom’s hands with the thimble and scissors. You girls done good! You honored Ruth in every way possible. Many hugs to you and Jackie.

    • Thank you so much Vici! I’m glad and sad that my words touched you so deeply. I think of you so often when I talk about my Mother. There are many daughters that have gone through the same thing that we did with our Mothers and it always comforts me to know that. Love and Hugs back at you.

  17. I am really sorry for your loss but it seems to me that you gave your mum the best send off possible and celebrated her life beautifully. Xx


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