My mother passed away during the night last night. She was 77. The EMTs determined the cause of death as congestive heart failure.

After I got married, she fell in the kitchen, breaking her shoulder. She spent months in and out of hospitals. Her first operation got infected, so they had to excise a large portion of her upper arm bone and replace it with a piece of titanium, which never quite fit right and then IT got infected. She spent a lot of time in the past two or three years on antibiotics which upset her stomach and made it hard to sleep. Over the past couple of weeks, she wasn’t sleeping much if at all, eating very little, and then her feet and ankles started swelling. I had to hound her to call the doctor and make an appointment. She was going to do that first thing tomorrow morning, since her doctor was out of town for the New Year until then. I should have taken her to the emergency room, as we were all worried about her, but she constantly assured me that she was feeling marginally better all the time. I knew she didn’t want me to worry, so I took her at her word.

My mom was always such a huge part of my life that it’s difficult to imagine a world where she’s not right on the other side of the phone or a short drive down the street. She was the only parent I ever knew, since my father died when I was too young to know about it. I love her more than she could ever know. I’ve only ever met one woman as amazing, and she’s sitting behind me ready to jump in and help at an instant’s notice for anything I’d ever want. I hope I can be the kind of husband that warrants a wife this incredible.

The next few weeks will be hard for many reasons, but I know the pain will dull if not fade completely. The hope for a better future lifts the heart out of the utter blackness of despair. Not all the way, but enough. Just enough.

I love you, Mom. I always will. Tell Dad we all say hi.

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