Just two days after I wrote my last grief update, my mother’s sweet general practitioner called and patiently and sympathetically explained the autopsy results to me.
Undetermined cause of death. I don’t really want to share the details in public, but it is safe to say she died due to complications involving her Transverse Myelitis. Spinal chord injuries can cause all sorts of things to misfire so they have no way of determining the proximate cause of death.
I was scared it could be other things. An overdose whether on purpose or accident would have been devastating for a multitude of reasons. Heart disease or stroke could create anxiety for my own mortal fate.
Funny that no answer could be a good answer.
Everything points to her going quickly and painlessly. I take comfort in that as well.
I saw her no more than 30 minutes before she died. I am still grappling with guilt as to why I didn’t stay with her, but I’m trying to take solace that this was the Lord’s will. When I returned with Quincy in tow no more than 45 minutes later, the EMTs were already there.
One of the EMTs (who had obviously drawn the short straw that day) told me that when they arrived mom didn’t have a pulse. I collapsed. Why were they still in there then? What was happening? He ushered me out into the hall for what felt like an eternity.
Aside - I don’t think I’ll ever be able to watch a tv show or movie scene depicting resuscitation without crying. The first movie I saw after mom died was The Captain America: Winter Soldier (an action movie is safe, right?), but Samuel L. Jackson’s character (spoiler alert) fakes his death and when they pushed the drugs and pulled out the paddles, I LOST it. There I was sobbing uncontrollably over “Nick Fury.”
After the seemingly unending chaos of trying to resuscitate her dissipated and they told me the news with all the finality they could muster, I became irrationally concerned about mom not being alone.
Logically she wasn’t there anymore. She was in heaven.
But I didn’t want her to be alone. It didn’t feel right.
I fought the urge to go in there. Both an EMT and my friend who had arrived to be with me urged me not to go see her. I’m glad I didn’t. Thank you Lord that I wasn’t with mom when she initially died. How would I be scarred by trying to resuscitate her myself? Thank you Lord for the beautiful memories I have of my mother. She wouldn’t want me to see her in that state.
So the good news is that I’ll soon have certified copies of the death certificate and I can settle my mother’s affairs for good. The bad news is that I get to settle my mother’s affairs for good. When everything is checked off the list, nothing is left. Nothing.
Nothing but the raw emotions of a daughter missing her mother.