My sweet mother ended her life journey here on earth on Christmas Day at 3:27 pm. When I got the news I reacted with quite a variety of emotions.
Tears, of course, because I will miss her every single day.
Relief that her body is no longer holding her captive and failing her.
Joy that she is finally reunited with my Daddy and enjoying what I can only imagine is a wonderful reunion with all her loved ones who have gone before.
Sadness that the pandemic prevented me from spending so many hours with her this year including her final hour.
Amazement that she left us on Christmas Day and that was her ultimate gift – being able to end a life well lived on a day that is cherished and honored by so many. To be honest I just had this feeling in November that Christmas Day was going to be “her”day.
I am forever grateful to all of you who have followed me on my journey with my mom. It’s hard to put personal stuff out there at times but it has been very therapeutic for me to share here with the hope that one person will be helped by my words and my mom’s journey through dementia over the years.
I am VERY grateful to the staff of Crandall Medical Center and Hospice of the Valley for their incredible care of her when family could not be there. I will be eternally grateful to Jeremy who helped start the process of facilitating a face to face visit for our family the week of her death. I am so glad I kept asking and pushing for that.
I got the notice on Tuesday morning that the family was allowed to visit with the following guidelines: 2 people for an hour after having received a negative rapid Covid test, fully suited up in PPE and being escorted to and from her room. Two hours later we were on the road to Ohio and split the trip up with a stay in West Virginia overnight. My sister and brother in-law visited Tuesday afternoon with my brother Chris and his wife visiting that evening. My niece Carla came on Wednesday morning and we had the 3 pm time slot. My brother, Mark, who lives in Arizona would not be able to make it.
Fully suited up in gown, booties, gloves, face mask and shield we walked the halls to the second floor. As we passed staff they greeted us fully knowing why we were there. Our attire gave it away. I saw many familiar faces that I have come to know over the years as my mom had spent time there recovering from various things. It was comforting to see that some of the staff was still there.
When we reached her room I knew the signs that she did not have much longer and I was so very grateful that we were able to be there by her side. I did feel that she felt our presence even though she could not tell us that. I told her I was the last visitor and that she was very popular but that we saved the best visit for last. “Smile”.
End of life visits are so different for everyone I imagine. My brother and sister in law sang Christmas carols. My sister read the Christmas story. I shared a lot of memories, assured her of what a great mother she had been and gave her my permission to let go. As I read Psalm 23 to her I felt that she heard me reading those words of comfort. I will always treasure that hour with her. Chris said the most beautiful prayer that I will always hold in my memory. I was so blessed to be there. Did I cry? Of course and that mask will never be the same but those tears are all part of the process, aren’ t they?
I will allow myself to grieve however I need to do it. It will come in waves and at unexpected times. I know this. I will embrace those emotions and allow myself to just be in the moment when those grief waves hit. That is the best gift I can give myself. I am going to take a little break this week from posting on It’s Just Life but I will be back.
Thank you all for your love and support – I feel it across the miles and know that many of you have experienced similar losses this year. If you would like to read my mom’s obituary you can view by clicking here.
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A very moving post. Thanks for this as I know my time will be coming. My heart goes out to you and your family. Take all the time off you need. With Love. xo
Thank you so much, Darlene. There are so many of us that are going through very similar things with our parents and it makes it a bit easier to know that others are there supporting one another. I am so grateful for friends like you.
I have been holding you all in prayer and hugging you in my heart. So thankful for the time you had with her and know that it was sacred, holy ground.
I promise you that you will hear her voice in your head and you will continue to have supernatural moments with your mom.
I also promise you that it hurts and is so hard. Though I agree about the sweet relief that she is no longer suffering.
Grieve exactly the way that you need to.
I am always here to listen and understand a bit of your journey.
Your mother was a great woman who also raised a great woman!
Love you my friend.
Virginia, you have always been the gold standard for me and I really appreciated all of your advice and support during the past few years. Our sweet mamas are whole again and I am so glad that my belief allows me to know that she is someplace simply unbelievably wonderful that was her life goal. So many times she asked me what I thought heaven would be like and now she gets to experience it herself. Thank you, always, for your support and love. I do cherish it.
Such a beautiful memorial to your mother. I know this is very hard for you as I’ve been thru it myself 9 years ago. But we learn a new normal, I think, after losing our mothers. Some good days with memories and some hard days with memories. Sending you love and prayers 💕🙏🏻
Sandy, thank you so very much. I am sure you are correct that we find a new normal with good days and hard days and I am going to just embrace all of those days and press on. Thank you for your sweet words and prayers.
Tearing up reading this. I’m so glad you were able to see her and say goodbye. Sending you all my love and giving you a virtual hug. Ash sends her love as well. ❤️
Susi –thank you so much. You have been such a supportive friend and I am so looking forward to being able to see you next year when Ash goes to App! And yes—it was such a blessing to be able to have that time with my mom –that helped me more than I realized it would. It allowed me the chance to say my goodbyes and I really did need to be able to do that. Hugs back.
Oh, Beth Ann! You said good bye to your beloved mother. You have my deepest sympathy. I am so sorry for your loss.
Thank you so much, my friend. I appreciate it much more than you can know.
So sorry to hear about your mom. I know she felt the presence and love of her family before she passed. She sounded like a remarkable woman 😢🙏🏻. Sending prayers to your family as you start the grief process. ❤️❤️.
Thank you so much, Sandy. I rejoice in the knowledge that she has eternal life and that some day I will “see” her again. I truly appreciate your words and prayers.
Time marches on. I am glad that you and your mom got to walk together for so long and that her spirit lives on. Take good care of yourself. Love Bill
Thank you so much, Bill. I imagine my mom and your mom are catching up and laughing together now. 😀
I wasn’t sure, when I first saw the picture of hands, that you were there. I assumed, at first, that the hands in gloves belonged to a nurse. But then I saw comments and reread that post and hoped that you had been able to be there with your mom in person. I’m so very glad you had that time together.
Oh Dawn— I am so very glad I had that time as well. It was just what I needed to be able to move on . So grateful in so many ways.
So many feelings….so few words. Prayers for you. This was beautifully written.
Thank you so much— I hope I can have some happier posts in the coming weeks. Anyone who has lost anyone special can understand. Thanks for your words today. ❤️
That is a lovely obituary! What a life! I’m so sorry she’s gone but oh the joy in heaven! Thank you for sharing her life and death with us. My mom has been gone 22 years and I still miss her every day but now I also cherish the memories that pop into my head and her homespun wisdom. I love you my dear!
Thank you so much, Jill. I love that you have cherished memories of your mom . That is what gets us through!
Dearest Beth Ann, I praise God you had that final visit with your mom. Your words of thanks and comfort in Psalm 23 and then Chris’ prayer, what blessings. Even though I never knew your mom, I feel like I did through all you’ve written here. She was a remarkable woman. Remarkable in her faith, her creativity, her love of family, her kindness…I see her in you. Thank you for sharing your sweet mom with us. Thank you for sharing your grief with us. May the peace of God calm you as you grieve. With love always.
Thank YOU for allowing me to share her with you. The days when I am missing her most I imagine I will revisit these posts to remind myself of her. Thank you always for your support and love.
Thanks for sharing. So for your loss. But rejoice with you that your Mom is with the Lord.
Thank you so much, Tonya.
I have always loved your mother and this was written so beautifully! You are right it comes in waves. Mom has been in Heaven for 9 years and when I read that your sweet mother had joined her on Christmas Day I cried. I cried sad tears for you because I know that bittersweet feeling of lose and relief and I cried tears of happiness for Helen because I could just picture her walking into Jesus birthday celebration and seeing all of our relatives waiting for mask free hugs! I love you so much!!! Virtual hugs!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️
Mask free hugs!!! What a wonderful image you gave me today my dear sweet cousin! Thank you!
Beautifully written, you certainly have a gift!
Awww— thanks, Mark. Love you.
Beth Ann.. Our sister-in-law is Mary Ellen Attanucci and she shared your blog and Mother’s obituary with us.. So very, very sorry for your loss.. Your mother sounds like a lovely woman.. Mary Ellen also shared with us the story of how your friendship started.. Funny how things just seemed to fall into place.. God bless you and your family. Dan and Denise Kenny
Denise— thank you SO much for taking the time to read and leave a comment. Mary Ellen will always be very special to me because she literally saved my life. 😊 thank you for your kind words and thoughts today.
We are sorry for your loss, but, as you say, know she is reunited with so many. Our Mother left us on Dec. 31 (1987)
Thank you so much for your kind words. You lost your mother so long ago but I bet she is always on your mind.
Hi Beth Ann, I work with book publicist Sherri Rosen and heard through her about your mother’s passing on Christmas. This is such a beautiful tribute to her, thank you for sharing. I lost my mother a little over two years ago, on a day which also happened to be my birthday. I take some comfort in knowing she held out until then because she wanted to be around for that, but not a day goes by that I don’t think about her. Sending you peace and healing.
Amy, thank you so much for taking the time to stop by, read and comment. It means more to me than you can know. It has been quite a journey for my family but I have found my therapy is writing it down. Your mom left you on a very special day and I agree that special day deaths are indeed special. I am sure you miss her every single day. My mom got very independent ,sometimes stubborn, after my dad died in 1994 . She was proud of her children and lived a full life so I she did have a great life. Thank you so much.
You and your family have been in my prayers and I will continue praying. What a blessing you got to spend time with her. It’s important to let your loved one know that it’s okay to go. I understand all of the mixed emotions you are feeling as I experienced them when I lost my mother to cancer 21 years ago. Take time to express your feelings and know so many of us care for you. We’ll be here when you’re ready to blog again. ♥
Thank you so much. So many have traveled this same road or are traveling it now. I am eternally grateful to have had that time with her — it was precious. I am rejoicing that she is with her Lord now but of course I will miss her physical presence in my life.
Prayers for all of you! I’m so happy you were able to be her last visitor and I love seeing how you carry on her legacy by the things you do, things you enjoy and the compassion you give others!
Thank you so much, Val. It has been quite a journey but I am beyond grateful that I was able to see her one last time.
Beth Ann, my heart and prayers are with you and family. Praise the Lord you were able to visit her and say goodbye for now. We can only imagine how she felt when she entered our Lord’s Arms and HE said job well done my child. .
Hard to lose a mother at any age…
It is. So many people understand.
Still keeping you in our thoughts and prayers – thanks for sharing your mom with us over the years – she’s an amazing, loved woman.
I’m so sorry for your loss but so happy that you got those last few moments with her before she passed away. I’ll be keeping you in my prayers!
I wasn’t able to read this when you posted it, Beth Ann, but having read it now, I find it such a touching tribute. I’m so sorry for your loss — it’s been a year filled with loss for many of us — but I’m glad you were able to visit with your mom toward the end. You were a good daughter to her, and I’m sure you were a comfort in many ways. Now focus on how happy she must be, freed from Earth’s bonds and once again whole and well in Heaven. Prayers for you and yours!