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Four years ago, my Mom passed away and I think about her last weeks with us every year at this time. She had been going downhill for six months or so, and for the last month, she was in the hospital’s CCU for three weeks, then a regular hospital room for two weeks. I guess when you’re 91, a lot of things go downhill fast. But hey, she grew up in and lived through the Great Depression and WWII, was a fantastic dancer and loved to sing, married and raised a family, and loved her kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids, so she’d had a great life.
Every day we’d visit her, and she always had the same question; “Is it the 4th of July yet?” We’d say “no Mom, it’s only June (whatever), the 4th is next month.” It was touch and go for a while in the CCU, but she finally stabilized and got into a regular room for a couple of weeks. Still the same question, “Is it the 4th yet?”
She got well enough to transfer to a nursing home/care facility for “rehab,” but I was pretty sure she wouldn’t be getting much rehab. She weighed about 65 pounds and had heart and stomach problems. But they sent her by ambulance to her hometown in West Virginia, and because the nursing home was only about two blocks from my sister’s house, family would be nearby. I lived about 60 miles away but went to get her checked in that Friday (the 1st), and she asked me if it was the 4th yet. “Not yet, Mom.” My sister’s family was on the way home from vacation that weekend, so the next day when a nephew came to visit, she wanted to know what day it was and “Where’s my family?”
Monday was the 4th of July. I got a call from my sister late that morning, “Mom died. The therapist said she was working with her, turned around for a minute, and when she turned back to her, she was gone.”
That’s when we knew why she kept asking.Published in