Meet Me Over the Rainbow
It's hard to lose a parent, especially one you have grown so close to.
My husband drove while I stared out the window and watched the clouds form shapes.. My mother had slipped into a semi-coma and it was taking forever to get from Flagstaff to Aztec NM to see her. I didn't know if I would ever see her alive again or not, and memories kept flooding my mind.
My mother and I were never close when I was a kid growing up. I always felt like she disapproved of me and preferred the company of my sister. I was always the black sheep of the family, the one who wanted to strike out on my own and be independent, all the while picking the wrong friends and bad situations. My father and I were closer and he would refer to my sister and my mother as the Duncan Sisters, and we would laugh and I would feel better; not so left out.
Life has a funny way of making changes to our lives. After my father passed away, my mother bounced back and forth between my sister's house and mine. My sister used her as a babysitter and was always telling her what to do and how to live, and she would stay there until she couldn't take any more and then she'd come stay with me. I lived in a small apartment so that wasn't very comfortable for her, but we managed just fine. She finally found her own place and seemed happy to be independent again, although I worried about her and how she was doing. She kept on having to go to the hospital until finally the doctor said she couldn't live alone anymore, so she came to stay with my husband and me and that's when she went outside to walk her little dog and fell, breaking her left hip.
She finally ended up in a nursing home even though she was still fairly active. I would go visit her after work and on the weekends, take her out shopping or go get ice cream, and always made sure she had whatever she needed. My sister, on the other hand, would make a duty visit once or twice a month and that was it. Mom and I got close after she went into the nursing home. She would call me and we would talk about everything that had happened in our lives and was happening at the time. I remember thinking that someday she wouldn't be around and I would miss those conversations, and I can tell you I miss them like crazy.
I was driving from Bayfield, CO where I was staying with my sister, to Aztec, NM to visit mom one morning when the song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" came on the radio and it brought a tear to my eye. The day was cloudy and wet, and the sound of the music made me think about the things my mother no longer had, such as her own home, the ability to do her art, and so many other small things that the growth in her brain had taken away from her. She definitely would be thinking about Somewhere Over the Rainbow where her own life was concerned.
I was living in Flagstaff Arizona when my mother passed away. The two days preceding her death I kept thinking very strongly about my maternal grandparents and thinking about their house and the beautiful roses my grandmother grew in the back yard. The thoughts of them were overwhelming and constant, so I finally called the nursing home to check up on my mother and found out she had been practically comatose for the past few days and had to be placed in a special chair to go eat her meals which she was now refusing. I remember I had just saved a tiny bird from certain death by taking it inside and caring for it, and I was holding it in my hand when I went down to tell my husband I had to go to Colorado because my mom wasn't doing well. She was dying. After I talked to him I walked out the office door and on my way back to the house the bird had a stoke in my hand and died. I took it as an omen that mom didn't have long to live.
When I got back to the house I placed the bird on a wash cloth and went searching for a small box to bury it in, and as I did the music on the radio went to Somewhere Over the Rainbow and I burst into tears. She was definitely headed over the rainbow now and although I knew it was the best thing because of her state of mind, I knew I couldn't live without her.
The next morning I woke up to the vision of my maternal grandfather's face staring right at me. He was coming for her, I knew that now, and I hurried to get ready to make the drive to NM. It took a long time to get there it seemed, but when we finally did I saw that she was indeed comatose and hadn't spoken or woken up in a few days.
My sister and her husband were there talking about her breathing and how long she had and I informed them she could still hear them, at which time they decided to go eat dinner. My sister did not seem to be upset in the least.
At 8:06 that evening, my mother went somewhere over the rainbow, but before she did, she opened her eyes for the first time in days, and looked right at me. Sometimes we need permission to move on, and she seemed to need that from me. I will always miss her, and when I hear Somewhere Over the Rainbow, I know she is close by.