Remembering Mom’s Last Journey and My Walk With Her.

 

Anne D. Gilstrap

Last year on this date, I was in Tomah, Wisconsin having flown in on Dec. 27th at 1:30 a.m. to be with my Mom who was preparing to leave this life.

 

Mom had a form of Dementia, Lewy Body for the last ten years of her life and even though I had visited her a few years earlier, this visit would not be the same.  The first few years of the disease Mom was with me in the same city, but after a while, my sister, Kim said she would take her to live with her.  Initially I thought it was Alzheimer’s and did not even know about Lewy Body.

When I entered her hospital room, that cold snowy morning, she seemed smaller than I ever remembered. Not the imposing woman who had been my Mom all those years.  Even when I had visited her a few years back she was declining, but she still resembled herself.

Now, she was smaller, and frail, as she slept in this large bed.  As I walked in, I kissed her and told her I was here.  She opened her eyes and looked at me a long time, as if she was studying my face to make sure it was me.  She smiled a little smile.

Mom had a stroke earlier in the year, so she couldn’t speak, but she could look at me and smile slightly. As I went to hang up my coat, her eyes followed me until I came back to her side.

Mom,  my sister, Kim, and I spent a few more weeks together, before she left us on January 9th.  I had a special angel who made my trip possible last year and I am very grateful to her.

Sometimes, we are meant to be with our loved ones when they pass from this life, and I was very fortunate to be there that morning with my sister, Kim when Mom was called home to heaven.

I will never forget how we each stood on each side of her and hugged her and started giving her kisses on her cheek and naming the kisses from different members of the family who could not be there.  When we finally named everyone, we told her, she could go to heaven with kisses of love from everyone.

As I write this remembering Mom, and our journey last December to early January, I am grateful I took that walk with her as painful as it was, it is a memory I will never forget.

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