It wasn’t so much the loss of Mom that made my heart clench in sorrow. It was the endless, circular imaginings of mom’s last minutes of life. I can’t seem to erase the recollection of the phone call to her room to check on her. The resident doctor, who had answered, told me that they were in the middle of trying to revive her again, for a second time. I could hear his team, shouting in the background. Machines were pinging. Footsteps shuffling. Muffled orders executed. The calm doctor on the phone was reassuring me that they were doing everything they could to keep her alive. Deep in my heart, past the fortress of denial, I knew that her surrender from pain was a foregone conclusion.
I was in my office at the hour of her second resuscitation; I stared out my picture window at the view of the two churches of Thomas Circle. I begged for her life. She, who gave me mine, was losing hers. Let me just talk to her one more time. Please. Please. All I wanted—all I ever wanted at that moment—was to be with my parents: to hold their hands as they had mine when I was learning to walk. All I wanted at that moment was to urge them to fight, to cheer them on… as they had every step of my life. All I wanted at that moment was for my mom and my dad to be around for my birthday, as they had been every year since 1974.
While weeping during the video chat with my Dad the other night, he shared so much with me about his love and deep friendship with Mom.
“The very best of your mom lives within you and your brothers,” Dad reminded me. “So now you have to live your life in the very best way to honor her.”