Last year at this time: Mama was hospitalized March 3 and the nursing home and hospital let me know immediately. I left work in the morning, drive down to the city from our home in Albany, and received a terrible diagnosis. But the doctors thought we’d have time to move her to hospice the week of March 9th. Instead, she died March 8th.
Around me, in NYC, all the COVID news was an extra dose of chaos. I noticed how worried the doctors in the Bronx sounded about the pandemic. But I was there to focus on my Mom. Matt came down a couple of times during the week too.
She spoke to us for the last time Saturday the 7th- she was full of love as always.
I was alone with Mama when she passed. She was peaceful, and it was one of the most love-filled moments of my life. I am so grateful for having her as my Mom.
Then Covid. We out together a quick funeral home service, family and friends joining us as the pandemic hit. Strange memories of buying Rad hand sanitizer for everyone attending her service; of a priest who was late due to needing to be part of the archdiocese’s Coronavirus proceedings call; of marching through the streets of Bronx’s Little Italy with our friends to leave our flower arrangements behind at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church; dinner at Mario’s – the owner of Mario’s died of Covid not long after.
If my Mom had died even a few days later, I may not have been able to be with her at the hospital, or give her a good-bye. I think of that a great deal- she left this world and I’m grateful I had these moments, but I feel deep sorrow and pain for people who have not been able to be with their loved ones as Covid has taken half a million American lives. We should show mercy toward one another, and be gentle and caring. The country is grieving and doesn’t even realize the depth of the grief.
This is going to be a strange week of memories, of sorrow, of celebrating my Mama’s life. I owe her everything. And I’m thankful to God for the gifts of holding her hand and looking in her eyes as she passed into another reality.