Today was Mom’s surgery day. We had to be at the hospital before sunrise, and the air outside was swirling eerily, a rush of warm wetness with an undercurrent of bitter cold wind. A winter storm warning was in effect, but no one knew quite what Mother Nature would bring.
It was a relief just to get Mom to the hospital. Then she was taken and I was left to sit and stare at the clock in the waiting room, and try to occupy my rushing thoughts like I had done so many times before with Dad. It began to rain, with the skies dark and bruised with clouds.
Almost two hours dragged by before I receive word Mom was out of surgery. The doctor rushes out and lets me know Mom did great and everything went as planned.
The rain began to pound harder, and the wind picked up with it. Ice pellets start to pop off the ground in the hospital’s garden.
I am led back to see Mom in ICU. She is calm and peaceful, just like Dad had been when he was sedated last year while on a ventilator. There is a serenity that could almost pass for death, but the machines and Mom’s rising chest prove she is quite alive. She opens her eyes and recognizes me. With Mom, I expect this more, but I remember being caught off guard when Dad seemed to recognize me a little over a month before he died.
CNN was just beginning to report the Connecticut school shootings while I was stroking Mom’s forehead in ICU.
I walk back out to the hospital lobby to let Mom rest. People are gathered around the huge windows, staring out into a winter apocalypse. The driving rain has turned into a wet snow, which is being blown sideways by the 40 mph + winds.
The weather reminds me of the winter storm we slogged through last year to see Dad’s body at the mortuary. We barely made it back home before the roads became impassible.
And the same thing happened today. I hated to leave Mom but the nurses said she was doing quite well and I didn’t want to get stranded at the hospital overnight. There were a couple of scary slides and heart-pounding moments on the way back to Mom’s place, but I was finally able to close the door on this emotionally draining day.