June 10, 2017 by Marguerite Ashton
I’ve been told that the three most common stressful events in a family’s life are divorce, the death of a relative and moving.
In August of 2013, I almost lost my mom who had been near death, but she had no idea until it was almost too late. The nurses told Dad had he not taken Mom to the hospital when he did, she would no longer be here. For days I did my best to handle the stress as I waited impatiently for updates regarding my mom’s condition and not alarm her grandchildren.
At the time, Mom was living in Colorado, and I had no way to get to her as I live out of state in Wisconsin. As you can imagine I was frightened and felt helpless because I wasn’t with her and I had to wait by the phone for news on whether or not she was going to make it.
Now, I had a decision to make. Was I going to fly? (I hate flying) Or was I going to pack up the car and drive the fifteen hours to Denver? I decided that if for some reason Mom took a turn for the worse, I’d buy a plane ticket.
Two hours after receiving the initial phone call, Dad told me that Mom was stable, but they were keeping her overnight while they try to figure out what happened.
I was beside myself and did my best to distract myself with the kids, hoping to keep them from picking up on the stress. Although, I think I did a lame job.
Do you remember the show, Kids Say The Darndest Things? Well, mine did, and I couldn’t help but laugh at some of the things they said even though it was during a time that I wanted to cry.
I think the kids sensed something was wrong and wanted to see mommy smile. It worked!
On the third day, I packed a bag, tossed it in the trunk and headed for Colorado.
Fast forward to June 2014 – The doctors informed Mom that she had severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We realized that Mom wouldn’t be able to live much longer in Colorado because of the thin air there, which made it more difficult for her to breathe.
Mom confessed that not only was tired of struggling to breathe, but she couldn’t handle the snow and cold weather. So my husband and I packed up the parents and moved them down south.
Unfortunately, after being there for several days, Mom developed another flare up. Between the coughing fits, it seemed as if her breathing problems were worsening and the humidity was too much for her COPD.
The night before my family and I were due to leave, we realized that leaving mom wasn’t an option. We weren’t prepared to fit nine in my truck, and only Mom came back with us, leaving Dad behind.
Along the way, another stress was added as Mom noticed that she didn’t have much oxygen to stay on it for the thirteen-hour drive back to Wisconsin. Somehow she managed to conserve what she had until we pulled into our driveway.
The long distance move had taxed us emotionally. Our children were troopers. Besides hearing, “Where are we?” and “Are we there yet?”