She Is Gone

She’s gone.

Those two words keep popping into my head, and with them this sense of heaviness that won’t go away.

Those two words are what Michael said when he called me two nights ago. Words I had been waiting to hear. Dreading them, but needing to hear them also.

It’s been such an emotional roller coaster this last year. She would go into the hospital and we would think “this is it”. Then that tenacious fighting spirit of hers would kick in and she would surprise everyone and bounce back

But each bounce brought less of her back.

That 87 year old body got more and more frail.

That witty brain became dull and foggy.

Each time I’d think about how I would miss her. What a special person she was. I’d cry. I’d grieve.

In between I told myself I was getting used to this. No more phone calls, she couldn’t hold the phone. No more visits and hugs, we are in separate states.

I thought I would get this all out of my system so that when it finally happened I’d be calm and controlled.

Michael called. I was calm. Shock I think. A sense of finality.

The calm didn’t last as long as I hoped.

She’s gone.

Words I’d expected to hear and now I was saying them. First to Steve, then Charles, Kat, David. Keely the next morning when we told her we were leaving in a few hours for Little Rock.

Each time I told someone the reality would hit and I would tear up.

I was in a fog trying to get three people packed up, perishables in the fridge packaged for a friend to pick up. Steve had to go get hay, I needed to wash my dress to wear to the funeral. Phone calls…

We drove in a blizzard for the first few hours. I was writing the obituary as we drove.

Which is when I realized I’d left my dress in the dryer. Oh well.

I’m overwhelmed by the love and prayers being sent our way by friends. Don’t ever think that a phone call, email, text or Facebook post isn’t important. It’s hard to explain the amount of comfort I get knowing that people are praying for us.

One of my friends, Marc MacYoung, asked me to tell a story about her. I already had several pages of stories written on this trip. It was like I needed to hurry and capture them so they wouldn’t go away. As if now that she is gone her story would be gone too.

But in the end, that really is what our life is. A story. Some of it we write ourselves and narrate in first person. Some chapters are through the eyes and experiences of those around us.

There will be a lot of “Marty Stories” during the next few days. I’ll be writing as many of them down as I can.

Moms story was a long and complete one. It was full of adventure, comedy, tragedy. It was rich in love and friendship.

It was a great story.

2 Comments on “She Is Gone

  1. Audrey Burtrum-Stanley, Jim Stanley, Jr. & James Stanley III

    Dear “1st LaMaz Class Momma” —

    Twenty-nine years ago we met. It was a time of ‘living large’ as we were in the same birthing class. You gave birth and brought your daughter for ‘Show ‘N Tell’ when the rest of us were still pant’n and waddle’n!
    Several years later, I figured out the glowing woman who (our mutural friend,) Tom Kyzer was talking about WAS YOUR OWN MOTHER. He adored her – spoke of her with such reverence and great affection. I wanted to meet her!
    Then, through the Little Rock SERTOMA, your Mother & I became ‘Wednesday lunch buddies!’ We sat with a cast of characters, the favorites being a trio of elderly (befuddled yet beloved) gentlemen who I called: “Winken, Blinken and Nod’n Off”. We had so much laughter the echo is resounding even now! Alas, the membership died-off till there were about 3 or 4 of us – hardly enough for a meeting / just for a meal, and soon we were no more….
    One of the SERTOMA members was also a friend from our Vietnam Veterans / Chapt 184 – the splendid fellow, ‘AL LYNCH’.
    I know YOU know allllllll about Al.
    He was an American Hero – the oldest living Vietnam Vet in Arkansas. There are a million stories about his accomplishments. Perhaps his most important feat was the fact he had lived a life that instilled unwavering loyalty. I don’t believe anyone ever just LIKED Al — for a man who had no immediate family of his own, he was LOVED by everyone (or should have been!)
    Al attended St. Edwards Catholic Church with your Mother. The two of them sang in the choir. Al relished being part of the group and never missed services. Al’s musical abilities are best described as: ‘Making A Joyful Noise’ and he was loud. Several of the younger, more arrogant and shallow set the the choir, complained. Finally, Al was asked to refrain from being part of the St. Edwards Choir.
    It was a heartbreaking experience for the aged man…
    Upon learning of Al’s exit, your Mother showed her solidarity. SHE QUIT.
    How magnificent – how absolutely MAGNIFICENT!!!!!
    My golly, what wonderful, solid faith and friendship she exhibited! Your Momma is the example after which the rest of us should try to pattern ourselves.
    When Al died, several of his Vietnam Veterans friends joined hands around his deathbed. A prayer was said. GOD was sought ‘n asked to please be merciful and to welcome Al into Paradise.
    Sometime later, I was offered Al’s personal billfold as a keepsake. I passed it along to Marty – your Mother – as I believed she deserved the extremely prized item; Indeed, she accepted it in that manner.

    Your Mother did not attain ‘ANGEL-status’ with death; she already was one here on earth… She just got her fluttering wings to waft her on high, her pearly Angel robes and a glimmering halo-crown, which she richly deserved and dutifully earned. This morning was her funeral – not a final tribute as she will be ‘within us’ till all her family and friends are then dead too. Some ‘GOODNESS’ just can’t fade away…
    In closing…
    What a grand family this woman (and her husband) reared — and influenced for generations; In turn, how blessed you were to have been ‘hers!’

    Our sympathies to all upon her demise– and our unwavering friendship to you too (after all, we watched and learned from THE BEST!)

    Like

    • Ah Audrey what wonderful words for you to share. Mom talked of you so often.
      As I shared today at her service, I knew she was very special. I felt that when I introduced her to my friends I was giving them a very special gift.
      I was very blessed to have her with me for months at a time these last years.
      Her last few months prepared us I think. She drifted in a fog, no pain. She went to sleep and woke up in His arms. What more could you hope for?
      Thank you so much for another of her stories. As you can imagine we have been telling a lot of them and laughing and crying.

      Like

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