How can I forget NYEve 1986 ?!

On NYE, #tenyearsago was a trending topic on Twitter. People were reminiscing. I drew a blank. But my NYE 23 years ago remains indelibly etched in my mind.

I had a hard time waking up my Mom that morning. She was never one to sleep in; however, she had taken one-half a sleeping pill the night before and I figured that was the cause of her grogginess. Mom, I said, Fran wants me to go skiing up North today. That’s nice, Chrissie, she said. You go ahead. But I don’t want to leave you alone, I replied. I’ll be fine, she said. Reluctantly I left, comforted by the fact that Jean-Guy was coming in to take care of Dad who had Alzheimer’s and also a CLSC nurse would be in to take care of Dad’s bursitis.

Still, I had an uneasy feeling. My queasiness was confirmed later in the afternoon when, upon calling home to inquire as to the home-front situation, Jean-Guy told me the CLSC nurse was checking on Mom who still hadn’t gotten out of bed !

I jumped in my car and made a beeline for Montreal from the Laurentians. I don’t know what was racing faster, the car, or my heart. As I pulled up to the front door of our building, I saw the ambulance. I ran to the door of my apartment, and made way for the attendants who had my Mom wrapped up warmly on the gurney. She was comatose. My Dad, who because of his condition, spoke very little, said to me as he looked down at Mom, ‘J’ai le coeur gros’ which means, I have a heavy heart.’ He knew.

Mom never woke up from her coma. I visited her every day for 15 days. On the morning of January 15th, I got a call from the hospital to come as soon as I could. The priest greeted me at the door of the ward. Mom wasn’t there any longer. They had moved her to a single room so that I could say my goodbyes in private. She was already dead, but as I stroked her hair, I found a warm spot on her neck and I kissed it and her face. She finally looked so peaceful.


3 responses to “How can I forget NYEve 1986 ?!

  1. A sad story.. I imagine that this time of year is quite a mixture of emotions, for you.

    A couple of things occur to me, as I sit here, contemplating the meaning of these sort of life events..

    First, if there’s one thing we ought to learn, it’s that we never know what the next hour holds, let alone the next day. How many times have we fallen out with a loved one, had some sort of pointless, silly argument, and flounced off to work, or whatever, never once thinking we’d never see them alive again? We’ve all done it, and, mostly, gotten away with it..One day, though, we might not get off so lightly..

    Of course, your story is of a very different nature, but it shows how fragile the bedrock of our lives really is..

    The second thing I thought of, was my left foot.. In September 1986, I broke my left foot, falling off a ladder.. Well, actually, I fell through a ladder, to be accurate, as it collapsed and fell apart..I broke five bones in my left foot, and, although they all healed quickly and well, I still get the occasional twinge of discomfort, if I spend too long on my feet at any one time..

    When I read ‘1986’ in the title of this post, I recall thinking that the only thing that ever reminds me of 1986 is the occasional twinge in my left foot…how little that is, to complain about, and how insignificant, alongside your sad memory of that year..

    Life moves on, though, doesn’t it? We never forget, we never quite get over losing people we love, but we have to move on, for their sake, and for our own.. However sad some of our memories are, we have a life to lead, and the opportunity to make happy memories, too.

    So, seize those opportunities with both hands , Christine, and have the happiest year of your life in 2010..

    Much love,

    George Bolam (@tindle)

  2. Thank you, George. One comforting thought I have is that that NYE I was set up by our next-door neighbour to meet her boyfriend’s brother-in-law. We were going out as a foursome on a NYE date. My Mom was so happy that I was going to meet someone new. So I think, that even though she had a stroke, her last waking thoughts were of joy for me. Needless to say I did not meet him that night, having the best excuse in the world, but we did meet later in January & I had a meaningful relationship with him that lasted almost two years.

  3. Aww Darling!
    *Hugs tightly*
    I was 5 hours away when my Mum died unexpectedly without any knowledge of her being ill – I didn’t get to her side for about 5 days, but when I did see her she also looked like she was sleeping peacefully. I hope that was how she went xxx

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