Not Much Time Left

A week before Thanksgiving, my aunt called me and said my mother
didn’t have much time left, and the nurse on call at the hospice facility said
I should come right away. I booked a flight to Houston the next day for my
husband, our youngest son, and myself. We stayed at my mother’s house
as we traveled back and forth to the hospice facility to sit at her bedside.

By this time, cancer had ravaged my mother’s body. She no longer had
any body fat and was down to skin and bones. The doctor placed her in an
induced coma to help her breathe more comfortably and keep her relaxed.

I put on a gospel playlist and placed my phone by her ear. I’d read
somewhere that patients who are in a coma can still hear music. I sat on
one side of my mother, my aunt sat on the other, and my husband sat at the
foot of the bed. Our seven-year-old son focused on his tablet and stayed
behind the curtain. I didn’t want him to spend too much time looking at
his grandmother in her weakened condition. I was concerned the sight of
her diminished body would scare him.

The Act of Breathing

I’d never paid as much attention to the act of breathing as I did when I
was at my mother’s bedside that day. She was hooked up to an oxygen mask
to help her with her breathing, and I held her hand and observed every

breath she took. The tubing that connected the oxygen mask went under
her chin, which allowed her mouth to open and close. With each breath
she took, I recalled a special memory that we shared, and as she released
that breath, she reminded me that she was still with me in spirit.

My mom took a breath in, and I recalled the day I went into labor with
my first child, her first grandson. She watched me push him into the world
and take his first breath. She choked up with emotion and had to leave the
room to cry. I will always have that special moment with my mother, and
I clenched her hand as I watched her release her breath.

Memories Abound

As she took another breath in, I remembered when she visited my
family during the Christmas holidays. My husband and I were folding
laundry. We found a pair of underwear that said, “Santa’s Little Helper,”
and we couldn’t figure out whose underwear it was. It turns out that it was
my mom’s! The three of us laughed so hard that day. As my mom released
her breath, she reminded me that her spirit was still with me.

She took another breath in, and I remembered a conversation we had
in August 2019. She looked at me and said she was proud of me for all that
I had overcome and that I still could keep going. Then, as she lay on the
bed in front of me, she released her breath.

She Takes Her Last Breath

On November 27th, 2019, I watched my mother take her last breath. She
died with dignity and a smile on her face.

At this moment, the circle of life was clear to me. Forty-three years ago,
my mom went into labor with me and brought me into this world. She saw
my first breath, and I was present to watch her take her last.

Oddly enough, relief came over my body because my mother was no
longer in pain or suffering. She was with God, and her pain was now over.

I held my mother’s hand one last time, but this time, her body was lifeless,
even though it still felt warm. I took a picture of us holding hands one last
time to remind me how I reached for her hand as a little girl to help me
feel safe, secure, and loved.

Faith Support Me

As painful as that moment was for me, my faith reminded me that to
be absent from the body is to be with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). My mother
lived every day for God. She was His humble servant while here on earth,
and now she is reunited with her creator. She no longer has a body made
of skin and bones, but she now has a heavenly body. A friend from church
shared with me that she had a vision of my mother with angel wings.

I am blessed to be surrounded by so many friends and family who are rooted
in the Christian faith. I now picture my supernatural mother clothed in
heavenly white robes with beautiful blue, silver, and white-trimmed wings,
continuing to do God’s work but now in heaven.

This is an excerpt from The Day My Heart Turned Blue:

Karla Noland

Karla J. Noland is a wife, working mom, author, certified Personal Development & Executive coach, and speaker who loves sharing what she has learned. Her mission is to help working mothers prioritize themselves and their dreams at the top of their to-do lists, and create a winning strategy to achieve their goals. Reach her through her website,

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