AFTER DEATH... The Shocker
A Chilling Call
I was about 5 miles away busily testing when I got a call from Betty. She uttered six words: "Robert, it's your Mom. Come home." I didn't ask for details. "I'm on my way." I dropped everything and raced home. My mind raced, too. "Did Mom have another stroke? Did she die? Oh no. It can't be."
When I got home, Mom was lying in her bed, as if peacefully sleeping. But she was not sleeping. My jaw was dragging the ground. How could she just die in her sleep? She was "bright eyed and bushy tailed" the night before. We were certain she was going to live to be a hundred like my Aunt Mary. She had just seen the doctor and got a good report. How can this be? Was it a massive stroke? (She had one in 1989 but completely recovered.) Was it heart failure? (She had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure (CHF) in 1999, but her symptoms were minimal. Her ejection fraction was good and she was responding well to the carefully selected regimen of medicines.) How can this be? I didn't really get to say "Goodbye" properly. I know she's now in the arms of her Savior, a comforting truth in the midst of my shock.
Dad was inconsolable. As he sobbed, he kept saying, "It's my fault. She was taking care of me and I was too hard on her." We hugged him and assured him that it wasn't his fault. His dementia didn't help matters. The events that followed caused him much confusion, as well as sadness. The love of his life was gone. His world was turned upside down.
My daughter, Stephanie, worked within walking distance, so she literally ran to our apartment when I told her the news. She hugged and consoled her grandfather while Betty and I dealt with the "issue at hand."