Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I Miss My Mother

I don't know when I thought my parents would pass away but I had no idea that they would pass away as soon as they did. My mothers passing was so sudden that it was a total shock for all of us. Alycia was born on February 3, 1989. Anyone who has had a child knows the emotional high that comes with such a miraculous event. Alycia was born on a Friday and on Sunday, February 5th I was in the hospital with Lisa reveling in the miracle of our little girl. As I was sitting there the nurse comes and tells me that I have a phone call. It was my sister Jackie and she told me that mom had collapsed that morning in their apartment in Edmonton. It was very serious. I stayed with Lisa for a few more hours and it was a pretty solemn time. Finally I decided that I'd better go home and rescue who ever was staying with the kids. When I got home Gary Norton was there waiting for me. As I was driving home my mom had passed away and Lisa got the call. She was worried about me so she called Gary and asked him to meet me. He offered to drive me back into Brooks to be with Lisa. While Jackie had warned me that it was serious some how my mind refused to entertain the possibility that my mother would die. I was fighting back tears all the way into Brooks.

I learned later that Mom and Dad had gotten up just like any other Sunday morning. Mom was up running around like she always does and Dad was still in bed reading or something. Greg and Gaylia had just come by to pick up their kids who had been staying with them and Mom had said goodbye and came back into the room. She sat down on the bed next to Dad and then she suddenly grabbed her head and said, "oh... it hurts", and then she passed out. They rushed her to the hospital where they determined that she had suffered from a brain aneurysm. After a few hours they decided that she was brain dead and with Dads permission they disconnected life support and within a few minutes she was gone.

Nana Shaw come out to stay with the kids and we headed to Edmonton. We were the last of the family to arrive and it was good to all be together but it was so strange and so sad. Mom and Dad had not lived in Edmonton for too long but the church was overflowing. That could also have been partly due to the fact that Greg and Gaylia, Lester and Barbara and Lisa and I had all lived in Edmonton for some time and between all of us we had many friends. We then placed Mom in the back of Dads monster Dodge van and we caravaned down to Cardston where we repeated it all over again. This time the chapel was even more crowded. Everybody loves my mother. She had a heart of gold and was known for taking in anyone who needed a home or a mother.

Because Alycia was just newly born we took her with us and she was truly a bright light amid a crowd of sad souls. The comment was made many times about how their spirits must have passed as Alycia was coming and Mom was leaving. It seemed somehow very appropriate. Perhaps the person most shaken by Moms passing was her father, my Grandpa Lybbert. I clearly remember him hanging his head saying, "A parent should never have to outlive his child. It just isn't supposed to be that way."

I learned something interesting during the next few weeks and months. First of all, I had always felt very awkward giving condolences to someone in mourning. I just didn't know what to say. What could I say that would help them? I learned that the best thing to say is that "I'm sorry to hear about your mother". It is simple, it let me know that they cared and that they were thinking about me. They didn't try to tell me it would be OK because it wasn't OK and yes, I knew it would be alright in the long run but that didn't make be feel any better at the time. I just wanted to know that they cared and that was enough. The other thing that I learned was that you never really do get over it. At first I had frequent "sad" spells. I would forget about my Mom and be enjoying my family and life and then I would remember and become very sad. As time went on the sad spells became less frequent and less intense but they never went away. Even today I will get the occassional "sad" spell, especially during special events like birthdays, weddings etc. I miss my mother.

Before the 20th century, cities were so full of diseases from bad hygiene and sewage, together with dense populations that more people died than were born. If it wasn't for a large influx of people from the surrounding rural areas the populations of the cities would have shrunk.


Lynn said...

Oh Fred. I am so sorry to hear about your mother. I did not know.
What a beautiful tribute to your mom. And may I add?
What a gorgeous woman! I especially loved the first photo of your post.

Lisa L said...

Well that brought tears to my eyes. We weren't quite ready for her to go were we? Who would have thought that before the age of 40 you would lose both of your parents. So sad....I miss her too. It still makes me sad they didn't get to see all of our children or experience them growing up and their accomplishments. I hope we can be around for all of our grandchildren and be a part of their lives. There's that one primary song that always reminds you of your mom also :)and I have a particular hymn that whenever we sing it reminds me of her :)

Trevor and Alycia Crowley said...

Well I am pretty embarrassed because I started reading this at work, and was trying not to cry. I had to close the whole page down every couple minutes so I could stop the flow I felt coming and people wouldn't look at me funny "the receptionist crying at her desk!"
Anyways, one thing in life that has always made me sad, Is that I haven't had the opportunity to be close to a lot of extended family, esp. grandparents. I get the most sad when I think about Grandpa and Grandma Leavitt because I really didn't know them at all, and I know I would have been their favorite ;) Joking aside the only thing I have to connect with my grandparents are little things. I have very few memories of Grandpa, and they all stem from our visit to Canada when he was sick. Sounds funny, but there are things I focus on that make me feel closer to them. When I look in the mirror every day I see my dimples. I can't look at them without thinking of Grandpa because I know that he had dimples, and that I get them from him. It is something we share. I love that.
With Grandma Leavitt, all I have is the stories you tell me. I always remember for some reason, that you said she always wore red lipstick. I just love that. I will never forget that Grandma Leavitt always wore red lipstick. The story of her death and me being born is the only connection I feel I have to her. So every time I hear it, it almost makes me happy. That may sound terrible, I mean I am sad I didn't get to know her... but I feel in someway, I was for a brief moment apart of her life near the end, apart of her story.
This was really long, and I don't really know why I wrote it. This may sound funny, or weired. My whole life ever since I was little...I have always felt that Grandpa and Grandma Leavitt have been watching me. Specifically just them, no one else. I haven't told anyone that before, and this is going to sound even more strange... but every time I was doing something I shouldn't I felt it even more... specifically "them" watching me. I have always felt them around me my whole life. Letting me know they were proud of me or not proud of me. Helping me. So when me and Trevor got married and the Temple President talked about how passed on family and friends come to the temple to watch and witness the things that go on there, especially sealing... I already knew they were there. Specifically them. I felt them, just like I have always felt them. I can't wait to really get to know them someday because I can't thank your parents enough for being such a huge part of my life.

Lisa L said...

I felt them there also :)