The Most Beautiful Woman I Never Saw

I sat in a place yesterday that I wasn’t ready to sit in. It is a place of darkness without being dark; of sorrow and sadness; where tears are the norm and the sound of hearts breaking echo from the halls long after everyone has gone home.

I sat in the front row yesterday; tears steaming down my face as I struggled to keep a total meltdown from happening. My body shook as I choked back sobs from the very depths of my soul all the while feeling as if that soul was being ripped from me and torn in half. I sat in the front row staring at the lifeless body of the woman who gave me life, who had been seriously ill all of my life, who raised me to the best of her ability and who, shockingly left this Earth on Thursday, Feb 15, 2018.

My Mom was gone and I was, for the first time in my life, without a parent to turn to. Sure, I’m 35 years old but that doesn’t make me any less an orphan. My Father passed in 2006 and in 2018, she joined him.

The call came around lunch on that Thursday. “Your mom is in ICU. Come now.”

Then, a 2 hour drive followed by the realization that even though she had been sick my entire life, there would be no getting better this time. A heart that wasn’t strong enough to pump the blood that her body needed, lungs that couldn’t provide the air her body needed and a tube in place to breathe the breath of life into her lungs for her. Medicines that kept her blood pressure at a normal reading…

And the hardest decision I’ve ever had to help make. I say help because I didn’t make it alone. Her friend and conservator had legal rights to do what she thought best. She included me in the decision though and for that I will forever be grateful. I sat in a conference room with her and a doctor three times listening to words like “artificial life support,” “DNRCC,” “septic,” “influenza A,” and “heart failure, lung failure, and kidney failure.”

She didn’t want that.

I stood in a cold, sterile ICU room, wearing a yellow face mask, tears coming faster than I could keep up with and told her that she could let go if she was too tired to fight again; that Emma and I were home for good and would be fine; to tell my Dad that I missed him and to hug my babies when she got to where she was going.

I stood in that cold, sterile room wearing a yellow face mask to protect myself from the very infection that was taking her from me while three nurses filled her with pain meds to keep the pain of what was about to happen away and removed that imposing tube, shut off the IV’s that pumped that blood pressure medicine, and quietly shuffled out to leave us alone, waiting with held breath to see if a body that had fought for so long was strong enough to fight once more.

I was still standing in that room, in the exact same spot I had been, 18 minutes later when she let go. 2 ragged deep breaths later and my world collapsed, my legs failed me and in my haste to back away from the sharp pain of loss I now felt, I slid down the wall behind me and simply sobbed on the floor.

I sat in that funeral home the following day, dazed and unsure of what had actually happened. She had planned most of it already. I changed the color of her casket. I have no real idea why I did, but I wanted her to have a white one with pink lining instead of the cold looking black and grey one they had on record. I chose pink carnations for her flower spread. They were what she chose for my Fathers spread. I made a point of telling the mortician that she didn’t wear makeup and to please not pile it on. It was a small thing but one that felt important to me.

I walked into that store with my best friend and bought that blue floral dress she would be laid to rest in. It is truly disturbing to have to shop for clothing you know someone will be buried in.

I walked into a room at that funeral home on Monday and faced the second most important person in my life (my daughter is first), lying silent and still in a pink and white casket, my Fathers military flag laid across her chest to be buried with her. They did an amazing job on her makeup. She looked identical in death to what she had looked like in life.

I sat in that same room yesterday and listened as my cousin spoke of her in what really was a beautiful service. He told his favorite stories, but I also heard words like “strength,” “faithful,” and “loving.” I had listened to the people around me the night before tell story after story and laugh (lovingly) at how stubborn she could be. To those same people talk of how strong she had been to go through everything that life had thrown at her. To those same people speak about her in a way that I had, for some reason, never seen.

And I sat in the front row yesterday realizing that my mother, even with her faults, was the most amazing and remarkable woman that I have ever known. That the same woman who had comforted me with off key songs and hair strokes when I’d lay my head on her knee as a child, inspired the people around her to be more, to be less bitter, to be less angry, to have faith and to fight a good fight. I don’t think she knew.

People tell me that I’m strong; that everything I have gone through in life has made me a strong woman. I sat in that room yesterday and finally understood that if I am strong; I learned it from her. That her strength taught me how to be strong.

I never saw her as the woman that they did. Maybe I was blinded by it since her illnesses were the norm for me. Maybe I simply didn’t want to see it. It is too late, but I see her now and I am damn proud to say she was my Momma.

She’s gone and I never saw her for the beautiful woman that she was, but I am so glad others did. At least her light wasn’t ignored.

I sat on my porch tonight and realized what the last words she and I actually spoke to each other were.

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

I sat in my porch tonight and finally understood the woman that I had been blind to for so long.

I sat in my porch tonight and finally felt the strength of my mother pass through me.

She is okay. I am okay.

She was strong. I am strong because of her.

Sleep well, Momma. You are loved and missed so much already.

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Stacy Ott

Stacy Ott is the face and brain behind the frugal living and lifestyle blog Six Dollar Family as well as The Genealogy Queen and a few others.By the age of 30, Stacy had overcome an alcohol addiction, a drug addiction, divorce, survived domestic violence, and had built a life for herself and her daughter after spending 10 months in a homeless shelter. Stacy is passionate about homeless advocacy and addiction education.  Her first book, also called Six Dollar Family is available on Amazon.

I earned over $100,000 blogging last year! Click here to learn how to start a blog and make money blogging!
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Comments

  1. Jennifer Withem says:

    Sorry for you loss. ❤️

  2. I just happened upon your blog Stacy, & wanted to express my heartfelt condolences in the loss of your Mama. It sounds like she was as beautiful of a person as you are. This is a first for my to respond on anyone’s blog, but you moved me deeply. You are a very special child of God, & now you have another very special angel to watch over you. I can only say as a 67 year old Mom what I always say to my grown ‘Kids’. What are you always going to remember? They reply, that you’re always in my heart. They know after thousands of reminders what my question means. If I’m always in their hearts, I will never really leave them. I know your Mom would want the same for you. She’ll always be in your heart Stacy. Peace be with you my new friend. And thank- you for sharing your grief. I know that must have very hard, because I cried for you. Believe it or not Stacy, you are still a child, so yes, I understand why you feel like an orphan. Always remember to ask yourself what she would want for you….

    • Stacy Ott says:

      Thank you Autumn. She is always in my heart. I take comfort in the fact that she doesn’t hurt any longer and that (I believe) she is with my Dad who passed in 2006.

  3. Sorry to hear about your loss. This must have also been very hard on your daughter. God Bless you both.

  4. Two Pink Peonies says:

    Oh, my heart hurts for you. Bless you during this difficult time. I’m so sorry.

  5. mangafox says:

    Sorry for you loss. ❤

  6. Jackie Carley says:

    Stacy, this is the first time I have ever replied to a post, but you truly are a wonderful person to acknowledge your momma with such love! We recently lost our 4 yr old granddaughter to cancer and your emotions and feelings as you write them, felt the same as what I felt! When I came across your blog months ago, I could tell you were a very kind, loving passionate person. I was drawn to your blog! I am so sorry for your loss and hope that you give yourself time to grieve. Life can be cruel but you have shown that you are strong! May God Bless You my friend in every aspect of life. My thoughts are with you!

  7. Karen Applegate says:

    Sorry you are going through this,but as you said you are strong because of your mom. Peace be with you and your daughter.

  8. Stacy, I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your Mom. Her picture is of a beautiful woman, despite the hand she was dealt. I hope God will wrap you & your daughter safe in his arms. Thank you so much for your blog and sharing your story with us.

  9. Stacy, I am so sorry for your loss. It is so amazing that your last words to each other were “I love you.” Rare and beautiful. May this be a strength for you and your daughter.

  10. Darla Taylor says:

    Stacy,

    I feel your loss deeply. My deepest sympathy to you as you go through this. I unfortunately have been in your shoes, it has been almost two years since my mother passed and I still miss her deeply. I try to remember the good times and some of the funniest things she ever did and boy did she. Unfortunately dementia robbed her of some of her memories like when dad died in 2009, but she still remembered my siblings and I. Unfortunately my siblings got to spend more time of their lives with her as they are all older but it doesn’t make it any easier. I know that people have probably told you that it will take time before your heart heals and I suppose that it might, but you never forget and if you had a great relationship with them you will always miss them. I know I do, the only regrets I have is that I wasn’t able to do more for them. Hang in there and don’t let people tell you how you should be doing or feeling as you go through this. They aren’t walking in your shoes and people grieve differently. And if it takes you five or more years to get through this, so what because it is your business not theirs.

    Blessings to you!

  11. Rosalie Sharps says:

    Beautifully written! A fine eulogy of your mom’s life! Made me pick up the phone and call my mom to let her know that I love her 🙂 Maybe even thinking about blogging…can’t decide what I would write about though…so still in thinking stage, however, extra money would be nice…and I’m sure that being able to write about your mom and your life has helped you grow and accept things better. You are strong..and made your mom proud! Peace!

  12. victoria ingham says:

    I am so sorry for your loss my heart goes out to you and your daughter at this difficult time

  13. Selenia C. says:

    I don’t know you and I’m sure we never will met but, I am so sorry for your loss. Losing a mon a great , wonderful and amazing mom is painfully. But thanks God , you are strong like your mom. I hope one of my fourt daughters feel a little like you feel and think of me like you for your mom.
    You right she is ok now she is resting and wearing for the resurrection then you all be together forever.

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