I suppose some of you were starting to wonder why my posts had been so minimal this week, and if I had decided to discontinue my participation in the A-to-Z Challenge. Earlier this week, I thought I’d not blog again for a good long time, but here I am tonight now wanting to catch back up and continue forward.
Last Friday, after spending a great couple of days with me and my brother, and enjoying a nice lunch out with us at her favorite Chicago deep-dish pizza place, my mom’s life forever changed.
She was rushed to the hospital by ambulance just after midnight unable to breathe. My brother had been staying with her and was still pretty shook up when I arrived to the hospital a short time later. Within a matter of minutes, just before 2:00 a.m., the Emergency Room doctor and chaplain were asking us to make a gut-wrenching decision. The paramedics had inserted a breathing tube and had been giving my mom CPR on the way to the hospital. She was now on a respirator while the E/R team waited to learn (from me) if she had signed a DNR (“Do Not Resuscitate” document) for which she had.
I was grateful to not have to make that dreadful decision alone. After discussing our options for a few minutes, my brother and I gave the E/R doctor the “o.k.” to take her off of life support and let nature take its course. We stayed with her all night in the E/R, all but certain that she would stop breathing again at any moment.
Inexplicably, even though she never regained consciousness, her body continued to fight for four more days before finally letting go. The hospital staff were superb, providing us with a private room with 2 reclining chairs, pillows, and blankets so that my brother and I could continue to stay by her side around the clock.
At times, it was very difficult to watch, and we wondered why God was waiting so bloody long to take her. But at other times, we knew this was Mom’s way of making sure everyone in the family had time to say their goodbyes, and for the deep philosophical conversations to occur with each another.
On Tuesday, April 9th, at half past 6 pm, she gently crossed over to the other side while my brother and I held her hands, and my stepsister (the minister of the family) delivered a most beautiful prayer. She was now at peace.
My mother, Sue Thorsen, lived life fully and on her own terms. She was kind and loyal to her friends, and generous to her family and those in need. She taught my brother and I to be forever curious and fiercely independent. To treat others as we would wish to be treated, and to leave the natural world around us a better and prettier place than we had found it.
Thank you for showing us the way, Mom. We will miss you tremendously.