On Tuesday, December 7, my mother – the woman who raised and fed me, taught me right from wrong and loved me unconditionally – passed away peacefully at home from natural causes at the age of 90 year.
To say mom was not in better health would be an understatement. She suffered from many conditions including carpal tunnel syndrome, diabetes, kidney disease, neuropathy, osteoporosis, and hearing and visual loss. She used a walker to get around and relied on my wife, Peggy, and I to drive her to the grocery store and to dentist and doctor appointments.
Over the past decade, Peggy and I have gone out of our way to welcome Mom and make her as comfortable as possible. Because she was in constant pain, Mom was naturally bitter and could judge anything and everyone.
On October 27, Mom’s condition worsened to the point that she could no longer walk. We admitted her to Memorial Hospital, where doctors inserted a stent into her left leg to increase blood flow to her foot. Doctors ultimately amputated three toes due to gangrene.
The following week, I admitted mom to a local rehabilitation center for therapy. Our goal was to get Mom healthy enough that she could walk and come home before Thanksgiving. However, mom refused to eat and take her medication. On December 7, mom was released from rehab and placed in our care, hoping that her family environment would encourage her to eat.
Our daughter, Rosemary, and her boyfriend, James Cosby, both caregivers, provided a hospital bed, nutritional drinks, an oxygen ventilator, underwear, a wheelchair and a potty to help care From mom. Unfortunately, mom did not have the opportunity to take advantage of their generosity. Shortly after 5 p.m. that day, she fell into a deep sleep. Rosemary applied chest compressions, but was unsuccessful. We called the paramedics who worked diligently to resuscitate her. By 5.15 p.m. she was gone.
Over the past two years Mom has often said that she wants to die and be with Jesus and Dad, whom we lost in 2002. I think Mom was tired of dealing with her health issues and just let it go. And who can blame her? After all, she was 90 years old. If only everyone could be so lucky.
Like most children, I am sad to have lost Mom, but relieved that she is no longer in pain. I think of her daily and of the love she gave to her family.
I thank Peggy who, in 2020 and 2021, took care of mom by doing all the menial tasks imaginable. Marrying him was the smartest thing I have ever done in my life. In addition, I thank Rosemary and James for their efforts, as well as my brother Mike and my sister Karen for visiting mum during her time at the rehab center.
During my nearly 10 years as a columnist and contributor to the Pikes Peak newspapers, I have worked with many caring and talented individuals who, through this column, have helped me bring my stories to life on my parents. I thank these people for their kind words and encouragement.
Above all, I thank mom for bringing me into this world.
Until we meet again, I won’t say goodbye, but, “Thank you for being my mother and for all that you have done for your family. Enjoy your well-deserved rest and blessed journey home.
William J. Dagendesh is a retired US Navy author, writer, and chief reporter and editor. He lived 22 years in southern Colorado. Contact him with comments or ideas for his column at email@example.com.