|Photo by Petr Kratochvil|
The phone woke me at 4 a.m. this morning. That is never a good thing.
Earlier in the week, my friends who live in Virginia received the news that Mike's mom (who lives here in Pittsburgh) was dying. The doctor said that it would be a matter of hours. Of course, doctors tend to exaggerate things, don't they? It wasn't hours, it was days. However, in the early hours of this morning, she passed away. Thus the phone call.
On the other end of the line was Mike's sister, calling to let them know she was gone. Mike and Kathy were asleep in our family room and just didn't hear their cell phone ringing. So his sister called the house, which was perfectly fine at a time like this. Mike and Kathy got dressed, cleaned the snow off the car and headed to the hospital. Then they drove to the physical rehab center to break the news to Mike's father.
This is the part of the story that makes me cry. About a month or so ago, Mike's 91-year-old dad fell backwards down the escalator at Northway Mall. For those of you who know the mall, you know the escalator I'm talking about! It's two times as high as regular ones. After 68 years of being by his wife's side (except during the war when he was serving on a submarine), he was taken to a rehab center to recover from his multiple injuries. It was during this time his beloved wife (who was blind, by the way, and so dependent on him), became ill and died. Doesn't that make you want to cry? It does me. I find it to be so very sad.
While he did speak to her on the phone, he was not able to travel to the hospital to see her for a final goodbye.
This story reminds me so much of another sad, sad time in my life nearly 12 years ago. My friend's father was dying of esophageal cancer. He made numerous trips to Pittsburgh for treatment. On one particular occasion, as he lay in a hospital bed 130 miles or so from home, his perfectly healthy wife died. It was such a shock to the family. I didn't even believe it when my friend called to tell me the news. I joined him at the hospital to break the news to his father, and then, the next day, we traveled back to Ridgway with him so he could attend his wife's funeral. What a nightmare. I will never forget wheeling the grieving widower over to the casket at the church and watching as his hand lightly caressed the smooth wood.
Twenty-two days later, he died at home with a hospice nurse, three of his children and me surrounding his bed.
I cry even now with memories of that time. And I weep with anticipation of watching Mike's dad struggle, both physically and emotionally, through the funeral of his beloved bride.
So you see, today is a different kind of Vinegar Friday. I just simply don't feel like writing about vinegar. And I'm pretty sure you understand.
Sharing my heart,