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Barbara Ann

There are many things in this world that are not nice. That are not kind. That don’t have good intentions. My mother was none of those things. My mom was the embodiment of everything good about mankind.

She passed away in her sleep yesterday at 2:10 am after a 40+ year battle with Multiple Sclerosis, and an 11-month fight against liver cancer. Cancer is always a giant eff you, but the fact that she would drink maybe two glasses of wine a year made the liver cancer diagnosis all the more irrational.

After much hemming and hawing about her health, we decided to go on our vacation to Los Angeles on the 28th after she had seemed to improve recently. We visited friends and went to the wedding that was the purpose of our trip. We were on our way to Legoland on Monday when my sister called saying Mom had been unresponsive and had a 104 temperature. I immediately switch my return ticket to that evening, and within a matter of hours, Bennett and I were at the San Diego airport anxiously waiting to board.

The next few days are a blur. She’d get better, she’d get worse. She’d have a good few hours and then sleep for the rest of the day. At this point, she was in a hospital bed in my parent’s living room. We were by her side constantly. She was always surrounded by love.

Thursday she asked to go outside, and my sister and I wheeled her out. She wanted to look at the wedding photos from each of our weddings, and Bennett sat on her bed with her. Friday she seemed to accept what was going to happen and started calling people to come over to say goodbye. She face-timed with her best friend of 57 years on my phone, and they had their moment that left us all sobbing. We talked to the boys (dear God, thank you for the helpful social workers at Hospice who were able to guide me in that conversation), and Jack, my nephew, and Bennett trooped downstairs to tell Grandma they loved her. Without prompting, Bennett crawled up her bed and kissed her square on the mouth.

He of course then proceeded to stick his finger in her mouth and make silly noises, but what are you going to do?

After her day of farewells, she slipped into a sleep that she never emerged from. There was just peace and some delicate snoring. My pastor came on Saturday with pizza and to answer Jack’s many questions about heaven. He then said a prayer over her that was so comforting to me. We made sure she knew we were all there, loved her, and that there were people waiting for her on the other side.

I went to bed at my normal time on Saturday, and thanks to my tiny infantile bladder, I was up by 12:30 am to use the bathroom. I climbed back in bed, and then popped right back out and headed downstairs. I could tell immediately her breathing was different than it had been the night before. I grabbed her hand under the covers, told her I was there and she wouldn’t be alone. And then I sat there and read the news on my phone. Right around 2 am, I knew something was changing. I called my sister to come back to the house. I woke my dad up and went back to my perch by Mom. Due to Dad’s fake leg and other busted leg, he isn’t able to pop right out of bed.

My Mom passed peacefully in her sleep. I was holding her arm and telling her over and over how she wasn’t alone and to just let go.

We are all managing as well as could be expected. We’re drained and sad, but so grateful for the time we had with her, especially over the last few years. Having her just a few steps away has been a dream both for our family and the boys (including my nephew). She had the kindest soul and never had a cross word to say about anyone. Her gentle but firm demeanor made her the kind of teacher that could get through to the most troubled of students. She loved being a teacher and helping kids.

She is gone too soon, but the world was better off for having had her in it.

Hug your family tightly, tell them you love them and make the best memories you can. Life is precious. May we all have more love than disappointments in our lives.

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56 comments on “Barbara Ann”

  1. I’m so sorry; I had a feeling that was coming when I saw the title of the post. We lost my husband’s godfather three years ago to liver cancer. I’m glad you were able to be there with her and with your dad. I’ll be praying for you and your family.

  2. My condolences. Sending you thoughts of love and peace. She was an amazing woman who raised more amazing women. I’m thankful there are people like her in the world and saddened when they leave us.

  3. Prayers for you and your family. Precious time is a gift and you all did it well. Cancer sucks.

  4. S, so sorry for your Mom’s passing!!! It’s precious you were there at the moment she left the worldly plane as well as when she brought you into the world..bless you lovely person… thank you for sharing! As we say here in the Islands … I’mua

  5. So sorry for your loss, and pray that time brings smiles for the happy memories.

  6. What an amazing woman, and what an incredible journey you’ve all been on with her. My thoughts and prayers are with you and my heart goes out to you and your family. I’m sorry for your loss but more happy for you than sad since you have the love of a great mom and obviously gave such a complete heart right back to her. You’re right, the world will be a little more dim without her light.

  7. I am sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful tribute to your Mom.

    May peace be with you.

  8. Tears in my eyes here in NJ as I read. So sorry. What a wonderful last few days. You gave her a warrior’s goodbye.

  9. I am saddened to read your words. I lost my own mother when I was expecting her first grandchild. My warmest condolences as you find peace and comfort.

  10. Prayers to you and your whole family. Thank you for sharing these beautiful moments…

  11. BEAUTIFUL, Sarah you truly are a CLASS ACT❤️ Thank you for sharing tough and heart warming moments of you life…. prayers to all in your family???

  12. Beautiful words. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  13. So Sorry for your loss.

  14. I am so, so sorry for your loss. As I read about it, I can’t help but think “What a peaceful and beautiful way to pass on.” But I’m so sorry it was so soon.

  15. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  16. Dear Sarah, I am a friend of Ann’s. We walk together on occasion, and I have loved hearing stories about your darling family, your precious boys, sweet husband, and your parents. I’ve heard of your mom’s ups and downs this past year, and know it had to have been such a comfort to her to have you just a few feet away. That time was a gift for you both, and what a loving daughter you are. Plus, setting such a good example for your boys – lovingly caring for others.
    That being said, no one ever wants to lose their mom. So, this must be such a painful time for you and your family. Please know that I care, and am sending you very caring thoughts.

    Linda Robinson

    PS: on a happier note – I just love your blog! Such a talented writer, you are.

  17. I am so sorry for your loss. I have found myself shedding tears as I read this, you have made me feel like she was part of all of our lives through your blogs. My heart is heavy today. May love surround you as go through the days.


  18. I’m sorry for your loss.

  19. I’m so sorry, Sarah. Prayers for you and your family.

  20. Oh, I’m so sorry to hear this. You and your family will be in my thoughts.

  21. Sarah,
    We are broken-hearted with you!

  22. I am so sorry and feel so sad about your mom passing away. You have a wonderful way of communicating with us, your readers, and your mom helped make you the wonderful person you are. It is so nice you had her there with you. I will always be sad that I was not at my mom’s side when she passed away. I made it to her town and the hospital the night before but was not in the hospital early the next morning when she passed away. I wish I had been there. The doctors said she could last a few more days but she died before the rest of the family could get up there. You and your family are in my prayers.

  23. Oh Sarah. I’m so sorry that you mom passed way too soon. I hope that you can find comfort in her peaceful passing and that you made sure she was surrounded with love. You are a good person and a great daughter and I’m sure you made your mom’s passing as easy as it could have been for her.

    She sounds like she was an amazing person and she was a gift to all who knew her.

    Hugs to you and your family.

  24. Sarah, I’m so very sorry for your loss. Your mom was a beautiful woman and we (your readers) are thankful you’ve shared her with us. I’m praying that your happy memories will bring you and your family some peace and strength at this time.

    • I am so sorry for your loss. I couldn’t have said it any better than Donna did. You and your family are in my thoughts.

  25. I am so sorry for your loss, but grateful that you had her with you as long as you did. May God give you comfort and peace in the coming days, months, and years.