The words hit like a bolt of lightning on my e-mail screen. “My mom is dying. Do you think the amount of sadness is determined by how much you love someone? I must really love my mom,” the next words read, “because this really hurts.” This e-mail from my friend of twenty years, Regina, stopped me in my tracks. It’s times like this that I wish I was still near enough to visit her and have tea. The memories of my mom’s last few days rushed in and flooded my mind.
I’d sat on my mom’s bed in the hospital and just touched her arms and legs so she’d know she wasn’t alone. It’s a surreal feeling watching someone you love get ready to cross over. Her face was peaceful. I wondered how many times had I kissed her cheeks. How many smiles did she make watching me and my sisters and the grandkids grow? The wig on her head balanced just so and all I could think of was the times when she used foam rollers every night to get that perfect hairdo. She was pregnant with my youngest sister then and she used her belly to hold the rollers. That worked until my sister kicked and rollers would tumble onto the couch.
At one point the entire family was gathered and I just looked up the ceiling and asked, “Could someone please page Jimmy Lawless in Heaven? Dad, it’s time for you to ask mom to dance.” And then I cried. How do you tell someone it’s time to go onto a better world? I like to think that while I have Anz World (where very thing is just perfect for me) she might have A Betz World awaiting her. I like to think that St Peter paged my dad, “Jimmy Lawless to the front gate please. Bette is waiting for you to bring her home.”
Mom worked for three generations of the Toland family business named “The Delaware Market House”. She considered them family. She worked there for 55 years. She’d take order from customers and make sure their food orders went out for delivery. One night in the hospital she was on morphine and thought she was totaling up orders for the end of the month. Her fingers were tapping in the air. Even on her death bed, she was a devoted employee. Mom has always been a lively and fun person to be around. She laughed easily and loved deeply. At her mass, I did her eulogy and I could hear her saying, “Anne, speed this up. These people are starving. And would someone please get Aunt Ag a cup of tea.” She always worried about others.
Regina had a longer time with her mom being sick. She’d had strokes that left her unable to speak, but she could get her message across. She said it renewed her dad’s love for her mom. I guess realizing that someone won’t be there every day anymore, makes life much clearer. I’d met Regina’s mom a few times, but I didn’t really know her. I knew the daughter she had raised and if daughters are anything like their mothers, she was a very sweet and strong lady.
Two days before she passed, Regina sent a note that it would not be much longer. Her mom was getting tired and weak. She prayed the angels would lift her and spare her the pain. She hoped soon our mom’s would be having a tea party in Heaven.
Awwww a tea party in Heaven! What a warm and loving thought! Regina and I always met for tea and talked about everything under the sun. Even when I moved to Florida, we have a cup of tea over the phone.
It’s time like these that makes it so hard to be far away when someone you love is so sad. I know she has fond and funny memories of her mom. I just wish I could give her a big hug and be there with her. It’s a three cup kind of day, for sure. I know there will be a tea party by phone very soon.
Hopefully the one in Heaven has already begun.