Sunday, November 21, 2010

Don't Fear the Reaper...

...or maybe you should.  Because he's coming.  Let there be absolutely zero question.
We spend our lives ducking the Reaper's Scythe so deftly, we begin to doubt his existance.  We begin to think we're better than everyone else. The long, drawn out absence he grants us while we're off having our fun comes with a hefty pricetag.  We think the reaper has forgotten us. Our complacence is his ally.  The catch is, he's always there, waiting.  He knows our guard is dropping and he relishes that.  He's not evil though.  He's a force of nature, as immutable as time and just as patient.

For those of you who don't know, my mother passed away Friday night.
I was in the backyard.

She had an aneurysm. She died instantly. I had just taken her home from the hospital with my dad. In the car I told her I had a hockey game Sat night that I was thinking of missing out on. She told me to play. She told me she wanted me to play. I stopped at Church's for wings because she was hungry. I got her inside and went out back. I was playing with the dog and just standing there when Caesar started acting odd.

I went inside and saw her lying on the floor. There was a knot on her head, she wasn't breathing and had no pulse. I called 911 and started doing CPR. The paramedics arrived within 2 minutes and did what they could. They rushed her to Methodist hosp. I followed.

Jay was at the Nutcracker. His phone was off, I sent him a text saying Mom is dead. I prayed I was overreacting. I got to Methodist and found the room they had her in. They were working on her feverishly. They wouldn't let me watch. They told me that they would send a doctor and a chaplin to talk to me and put me in a room with a phone.

A mexican girl walked into my room and called her boyfriend on her phone, but didn't stay long. About 20 minutes passed when I couldn't wait any more. I went looking for them. The doctor was walking towards me with the chaplin. He shook my hand and said something.  I have no idea what he said, but he was trying to prepare me for the news I knew was coming. I told him to just tell me. He told me my mother was dead. He may as well have hit me in the gut with a sledgehammer, because even though I was expecting it...I was in no way prepared for it.

They took me to the body and I asked to be left alone with her. I didn't want anyone to watch me cry. Jay arrived about 5 minutes later. He had called mom's brother Joe and my dad's sister Peggy. They both arrived within 30 minutes. Jay mentioned the police may want to talk to me just because of the circumstances. The Chaplin did that for them.

We stayed till everyone had seen her. Then we went make the phone calls. My friend James came by and sat with Jay and me for a while. I eventually fell asleep around 3:30am. The phone started ringing at 7am. We talked to almost everyone.   If I missed you, I apologize.  It has been busy and I know you understand.

I tried getting some sleep but it was pointless. I played hockey and got shelled for 11 goals (on 49 shots) Only 3 of my teammates knew, and I preferred it that way. I went out with the guys after the game and had a beer. I got home Lastnight at 2:15...falling asleep by 3 only to be woken up at 5 by the VA telling me my father was about to die.

Jay and I rushed to the hospital and found out it was a false alarm. We stayed till 7 this morning and returned home. The phone started ringing again at 10am. I stayed up...watched the Cowboys game...talked to some more family and even after all that...I STILL expect to walk into that house and see her sitting on the couch watching the Food Network.  I fully expect to be able to go talk to my mother and tell her all about my day.  I expect to be able to show her the latest comic I am working on.  She is my biggest fan, after all.  It isn't until the reality hits me that the pain starts.  It is not a pain I want.  It's not a pain I think I am capable of handling.

But I will.  I have to.

The worst part? I still can't get the smell off of me from giving her CPR. It's been following me this entire time.
What is the moral?  What do I want you to take away from this?  It's simple.  Take the day you have today as if it will be the last one you have.  Treat everyone you love as if this will be the last time you will ever see them.  You got all this from the Dead Poet's Society.  Carpe Diem and all that.  But I'm here to tell you.  I sat next to my mother 20 minutes before she died and I didn't tell her I love her.  I will take that with me to my own grave...and I have no doubts the reaper's sharpening his scythe right now.


  1. Roger.. That was beautifully written. But, let me tell you this. You didn't have to tell her you love her every time you saw her. She knew it. I often talk to my mother on the phone and more times than not, we do tell each other that we love each other. But what if something was to happen to her after the time I don't tell her that? Would she not have known if I didn't reiterate it?? Of course not. Your mother knew you loved her, and there is no reason to beat yourself up for not saying it the 20 minutes you rode next to her on the way home. As I do believe it's important to let the ones that we love know, I also believe that we let them know in other ways than just words. Just being there for her and being her son was more than enough.

  2. This is one case where I can say I know exactly how you feel. It's not a void, it's a vacuum. And about not telling your mother you loved her right then in words? Don't worry, speaking from a mother's view: she knows, she didn't need to hear it, trust me on that.