Where I spray-paint my thoughts…



Joan MorganI can’t quite wrap my mind around the fact that earlier this week I posted about the death of an old friend and how we never know how much time we have with people — and then on Saturday night, entirely unexpectedly, my mom died.

When I say “entirely unexpected”: she was 78. She had some underlying chronic conditions: diabetes, high blood pressure, a long history of heart disease and generally poor health. She had had two small strokes a couple of years ago and while she recovered well, we were concerned that something might happen again. So on the one hand I guess you could say, not that shocking.

On the other hand: that Sabbath morning she was in church, sitting in the pew with us, talking to everyone after the service as she always did, laughing and joking with friends. That afternoon she and my dad spent an hour and a half at the nursing home visiting Aunt Gertie, something my mom did every second day. That evening, she and my dad decided on the spur of the moment to join me at a concert — I had extra tickets and no-one else was free to go with me, and my dad liked the band. As she and my dad walked into the church where the concert was being held, she stumbled and fell. The back of her head was bleeding but she was sitting up, talking to me and Dad. She walked with us to the ambulance so she could get a couple of stitches, we thought.

Two hours later, she was dead. She lost consciousness just as she got into the emergency room. A massive brain bleed, the doctor said. I got out of the ambulance, registered her at the desk, talked to my dad for five minutes before he went into check on her. Then, when the nurse told me I could come in a couple of minutes later, I walked into her cubicle in the emergency room expecting to see her chatting with a nurse as her cut was examined. I thought she’d probably be figuring out who the nurse’s mother was and where they’d met before, which was what usually happened anytime you put my mom in a room with other humans. Instead I walked in to find her unconscious, with a doctor asking my dad whether they’d made any end-of-life plans and whether she wanted to be kept on life support (she didn’t).

I could, and will, blog more about my mom, who was an amazing woman in so many ways. I could, and won’t, say more trite things about the uncertainty of life. Needless to say I’m still in shock. It’s almost impossible to grasp how someone can be here one moment and gone the next. As we plan her funeral, apart from the surreality of the whole thing — How can we be planning her funeral? She was just here!! — I’m overwhelmed by the sense that she, the person in the family who always knew how all the priorities and rituals should be properly observed, ought to be here to tell me how to do this. How can we figure out what clothes she wants to be wearing in the coffin, or how to word her obituary? Those were the things she would have known and taken care of for us. How can she not be here to do them?


25 thoughts on “Unprepared

  1. I remember last summer when I was having as yard sale, your mom and dad were cruising around Conception Bay South, flea marketing. They stopped in and I was excited to see them both, as I had not in quite some time. Your mom gave me a warm hug and we talked a little, and as there was nothing there of interest to either, they both headed on again. I am happy to have known your lovely mom. I am sad for your loss.

    • Lori, as I told you at the funeral home, what makes that story great to me is that knowing my mom, I know she stopped because she saw you and wanted the chance to talk rather than because of the yard sale … she was such a people person!

  2. I have always been a happy person, and your mother was a large part of that happiness. I will be happy again, just not today.

    • Praying for you and your family as they cope with this sad loss. Your faith and hope for the future is encouraging and will sustain you and your family. Elizabeth Chaytor Gaasenbeek

    • I think it will be a long time before I can imagine feeling really happy again although as we discovered after the funeral we can still have a few good laughs when we get together with family and tell stories. I guess it will take a long time to figure out what “normal” will be like from here on in.

  3. Your post gives those of us who did not know your Mom a glimpse into why and how she was so greatly loved. My condolences to you and your family on the sad loss of an obviously great lady.

  4. Beautifully said, as always, Trudy. Thank you for this little window into your mother’s life. As you wrote, It IS impossible to comprehend how a person can “be” there one minute and “not be” a moment later. I learned that awful truth when I was 20, when my oh-so-active grandmother died of a heart attack. My tears on this beautiful bright spring morning are for you, your beautiful mother (I love the photo–she is a pretty woman), and all the daughters who still miss their mothers. May God hold you close.

  5. Your family has my deepest condolences. I will be praying for you, especially during this most difficult week.

  6. So sad to read this post this morning, Trudy. There are no words for this kind of shock and loss. My prayers go up for you and your family during this time, and during that long time following when you will all be missing your mom.

  7. I am so very sorry, Trudy.

  8. So very sad for you and your family Trudy. Your mother left a wonderful legacy in you and your children. What a wonderful blog you wrote today. Praying for you and your family. Take care, Hugs…..Liz

  9. Totally shocked is all I can say… I had to re-start your father’s email to David (Ellis) three times because I was sure I was reading it wrong and that I had to be mistaken… I am so very sorry Trudy… I don’t know what else to say. Joan was a woman with a very big presence, someone who brought a lot to the table and those people that met her or had anything to do with her were better for it. Please know that are prayers are with you and your family at this very hard time

  10. Trudy, your last two sentences spoke straight to my heart. They have been my own questions since I have lost my own mother and have to figure out how to do things without her. My thoughts, my prayers and my heart are with you and your family during this time. Your mother was a wonderful person with a smile for everyone. She was so warm and welcoming to all. She will be missed greatly. It’s the promises of Jesus that makes me so happy to have a faith and a belief in Him at times like these because in Him, we will see them again!! And it is that promise that makes me smile when I miss the ones we lose in this life. Take care Trudy and God bless.

  11. I knew you’d take to the blog here to put these thoughts and feelings into your usual, beautiful words. When I think of your mom, I think, first and foremost, how grateful I am to her that she brought one of the best people I’ve ever know into the world. And then I think that she did a lot with you and your family. That trip you all went on together to New York last year. Even that last evening, to spend time with you going to a concert together. It seemed there were so many pictures of you all together and discussions about things you had done with your parents. Maybe it’s because I live so far from my parents that it seems that you spent such a lot of time together with them but I don’t think so. I think, unlike so many people, you made the most of living close to your mom and dad. I guess all those times together will make this loss all the more difficult but, one day, I hope they can bring you a lesser hurt than you’re feeling now and a gratitude for all the memories and time you had with your mom.

  12. My love to you, your Dad, Jason, Chris, Emma – it is surely a very hard time. A time that we can never be fully prepared for. This is the time that we need to lean on the everlasting arms, as He knows how much we hurt, and how much we need Him. Your Mom was a very kind and compassionate person who provided encouragement to me, and understanding. Although we hurt nowl time will will heal, and we must bear in mind and hold to the blessed hope of the return of our wonderfu friend Jesus. We will see your Mom again and we will all walk hand in hand down the streets of gold. Hugs and prayers to each of you

  13. Lovely thoughts, Trudy. We are all unprepared. She left this world mid-stride. It’s a tribute to a life fully lived.

  14. Oh!! I’m shocked, and I’m just a blog reader/friend from far away who hasn’t met you in person (just yet). I’m sorry, but I know that you will see your mother again (hopefully very very soon!). Your father’s comment is very very moving, I have tears in my eyes right now. Thanks for sharing and much love to you, your dad and your family. I’m so so sorry. May the Lord comfort you today and on the days going forward.

  15. I am in shock with you. Sue had become a good friend over the years, and I was stunned to hear of her death. For you, I offer my sincere sympathy. It is very hard to lose one’s mother. Blessings to you, Trudy. Thank you for sharing the picture and your thoughts.

  16. I am so very very sorry. We don’t really know each other (I’m fairly new to you blog) but I was in a similiar situation in December 2011. Lifting you and your family in prayer.

  17. Trudy this is a beautiful tribute to a woman who was full of grace, wisdom, love, compassion and humor. These characteristics are very evident in you and your children. Praying for you and your family.

  18. “Sue died tonight” are three of the saddest words I’ve ever heard. I too am trying to imagine what the future will be like. I know it will be different, but we’ll try to make it good because that’s what she’d want.

  19. Trudy, I am so shocked to hear about your mom, and so sad for you and your dad. Your mom was a beautiful spirit, and her smile was so warm and genuine that you always knew that when she spoke to you or asked you a question she sincerely cared about the answer. My thoughts and prayers are with you as you try to get through the days and weeks ahead. This is truly a lesson about making the most of the time we have with people.

  20. What a terrible turn of events. I’m so sorry for you and your family.

    Take your time to grieve – in honor of your mother. Grieve as a person of hope.

    Prayers and blessings.

  21. Dear Trudy, my mom, dad, Grace and I send our condolences on the loss of your mother. I don’t check Facebook and only recently learned of your mother’s passing. Life is so fragile. We are all very sorry.

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