That afternoon I visited again and she made no movement and I battled not to see the similarity of her lying in a hospital bed unconscious vs a coffin. She looked like she had already gone. I told her it was spring day and the flowers were beautiful and as soon as she was free she would be able to see them all. The sweet peas, my dad's favourite dahlias and all the new buds sprouting. I couldn't think of anything else to say. I had said it all. So I began to sing. I sang every song that I remembered she liked and only stopped briefly when the emotions got the better of me. I had to be strong for her. I kissed her goodbye and there was nothing. That night I couldn't bear to go back. I felt like she had already left.
The following morning my sister-in-law was informed that she had received her PhD! I was so thrilled for her and I knew my mom would be too. I phoned to congratulate her. I knew I needed to shower and wash my hair before I went to the hospital but I'd been chatting a bit long. Something told me to just go to my mom. When I got there and asked the usual question "So how is she sister?" I was not expecting the answer I got. "If there is anyone you need to call, you need to do it now. Her blood pressure is very low and her heart rate is falling. Although I had expected this at some point, when it happened, I started to shake uncontrollably. I couldn't dial my brother's number. The nurse offered to do it. I said no. I phoned and said "she's going, you need to come." I didn't recognise my own voice. I then phoned my brother in Australia and told him the same thing. He phoned my sister.
I played my mom a video of her granddaughters watching a cow eating. Her heart rate increased. I lay over her with my head on her shoulder, cradling her head. I whispered into her ear. I told her that we all loved her and that she had been a fantastic mom and we couldn't have wished for better, even when we fought, we knew she had our best interests at heart. I told her that my brother was on his way. He texted, he was stuck in traffic on the highway. I begged him to hurry, but then on second thought said rather be safe, I was there with her. Suddenly I remembered!! I sat bolt upright "Mom!! there's a doctor in the family!! LL got her PhD!" I shrieked, probably too loudly, and my mom moved her head and her mouth crept slightly upwards at the corners as if to smile and her heart rate increased. "I just wanted you to know before you go that she got it!" The sister who was watching through the glass, came in and gently warned me that this excitement would prolong her leaving. I lay over her and hugged her again with my ear on her chest and listened to her heart beat slower and slower and slower. I watched the numbers on the machine get less and less until finally it went to 0 and the blue line flattened. I whispered "goodbye mom" and then a noise came out of me that I didn't recognise and have never heard before. It was an animal sound which probably traumatised my mom because her heart began beating again! I hurriedly whispered in her ear "No. Don't come back, I'll be OK. Go, it's your turn to do what's right for you, it's your turn to be free." Then her heart stopped again and I cried and cried and cried as if my own had broken in two.