Eight years ago today, we buried my mother in the ground. She died on January 31, 2008, after suffering a massive heart attack on January 18. I don’t know if she knew she was having one, but she knew something wasn’t right because my dad took her to their local hospital’s ER. Unfortunately, their staff must not have recognized the signs of heart attack in women because after sitting for an hour without anyone talking to her, they decided it must not be serious and went back home. On January 19, they called an ambulance and went to UAB Hospital, 45 minutes away; they knew it was serious. My dad called us around midnight and told us that she’d had a heart attack and we should get to the hospital. A few hours later, she went in for open heart surgery and that was the last time I ever got to hear her voice. On January 31, my family made the hardest decision of our lives and chose to turn off the machines that were sustaining her life.
I’ve written something every year since then to commemorate my mom; the post below is my favorite, written for my old blog 6 years ago, 2 years after her death.
“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother.”
Abraham Lincoln said that (according to the Internet anyway). It’s so true.
This entry has absolutely nothing to do with Korea. It’s really a pretty selfish entry, if you must know. Tomorrow it will be 2 years since my mother was buried; I really can’t believe how quickly the time has passed. (Doesn’t that sound cliche’?) I debated whether or not I would write anything, but I think she deserves some mention.
My mom was really goofy. Some people have trendy mothers, some people have old-fashioned mothers, and some people have soccer moms. Mine was all 3, with a dash of Rose from the Golden Girls. The older I get, the more I realize how fortunate I was to have the mother I had. She truly was my best friend.
The stories. Ooooooohhhhhh, the stories my family can share about my mom! I remember being in college and my parents took my best friend (at that time) and I to Six Flags in Atlanta; on the way home we stopped at IHOP for a late night dinner. My family has always had this strange fascination with bodily noises, and such stories inevitably came up during dinner conversation. I remember the four of us laughing SO hard, tears rolling down our faces, just telling fart stories. Yes, I said it–fart stories. I’ll refrain from telling the actual stories themselves, because I’m pretty sure Mom would be pretty angry if I told the whole Internet world about her *ahem* fluffles.
And what about the flat tire story? Remember when Mom was driving me and Bethany down the interstate and we got a flat tire in the van? It was like 10 o’clock at night and she was POSITIVE that nobody would help us because she didn’t have her nails on? And then she was worried that we would roll down the embankment so we all had to huddle on the left side of the van? *cue Rachel’s terrible Bronx accent imitation*
Oh, and what about UAB Day (wasn’t that it?) when Dad decided it was a good idea for mom to drive downtown and she turned left into oncoming traffic? Rachel (I think?) and me and Dad we all screaming for our lives, and all she could say was, “What? What’s the big deal?”
I really miss her advice sometimes. She always warned me about certain people in my life growing up, but I never believed her. I always told her she just didn’t understand. Years later, when the day finally came that I learned she was right, she never said, “I told you so.” All she said was, “To hell with them,” and took me to Starbucks.
She never tried to be my friend. She was always my mother. She always told me what I needed to hear, not what I wanted to hear. And she was persistent. Relentless, even. I’m so grateful for that. I hope I’m as good a mom to my kids.