I picked up the phone and I heard on the other end, ‘ I would come as soon as you can Jodi’.
I replied ‘My flight leaves in two days, is that still ok?’
My brothers reply was ‘I would get here sooner if you can.’
I hung up the phone, and stood stunned for a few minutes as the words left a bit of a sting. I knew what he meant and I was so hoping not.
Later that day as I dropped my kids off to go trick or treating with their friends, I waved goodbye and we drove away heading for the ferry. It was the first Halloween I would miss with them. I was dropped at the ferry where I started my journey, off the ferry onto the city bus to downtown Vancouver, then the airporter out to the airport, where I would have to wait a couple of hours before catching the red eye. It would be one of the longest nights of my life and sleep would not come easily.
I arrived about eight o’clock the next morning in London, Ontario where I was greeted by my brother and father. We stopped for coffee before getting on the highway down to Chatham. We made small talk all the way there, all of us avoiding the one real topic. I remember, as I sat in the back seat, looking out over the flat land, the sky was ever so blue and the leaves were such a vibrant color in the early morning sunlight. Living on the West Coast, our fall colors weren’t as vibrant, I was enjoying the early morning beauty, while sipping on my coffee, trying not to think about what lay ahead.
We pulled into the driveway about an hour later, my dad and brother told me to go inside as they handled my luggage. I opened the door and went in as Louie came down the hall, oh my, he had aged at least 10 years in the three months since I saw him last. He looked at me and came over and gave me a big hug and started to cry. ‘She’s been waiting for you’ was all he said as he started to walk me down the hall. The moment had finally arrived. I remembered being scared, oh so scared and mad, hurt, confused and I just wanted to run and yell NOOOOOOO!
We got to the door and Louie opened it up and said ‘Eve, Jodi is here.’
In the dimly lit room, there laid my mother in what now seemed to be such a big bed. She opened her eyes and tried to sit up, Louie went over to help and I went over and ever so carefully gave her a big hug. She smiled and we started talking like we always do, the fear, the pain, the anger vanished, my mom was still here, for now.
That evening several of my family came and joined us and my mom got up for awhile. We talked about many things, hidden family secrets and such and laughed, even my mom. It would be the last time my mom really got up for any length of time. Over the next couple of days, so many people stopped by, but with each passing day, she got weaker, in more pain and quieter.
Anyone that has lost a loved one to cancer, you know what they go through. My mom passed away a week later, November 8th, two years ago on my best friends birthday. She was only 61 years old.
It’s funny, the things that I miss that I took for granted. See, I still have three of my grandparents living and I just thought it would always be like that. I miss her mashed potatoes, tuna fish casserole and the Sunday calls, when we would talk about anything and everything while drinking our coffee. I still wait for the phone to ring Sunday mornings.
Never take anything or anyone for granted, you never know what tomorrow may bring.
My mom used to dance like no one was watching.
I hope you’re still dancing like that now mom!!
I miss and love you tons!!