Our Forever Star
Posted by Cheryl L Peterson
My mother endured many ups and downs with her physical ailments the last few years of her life. But mentally, she never gave up―nor did my father. He was her rock.
Upon mom's last admittance to the hospital, after being in there for a few days in a semi-comatose state, she greeted me with a cheerful hello as I entered her room. I recall explaining to her that she was being transferred to hospice. She didn't understand why.
She did not recall the conversation our family and her doctor had with her just a few days prior, explaining that her liver and kidney were failing and nothing else could be done. Our family is grateful for the hospice social worker who intervened and explained to mom her medical condition, that the end was near, and that she was being moved to a beautiful place that would have no rules. Mom then understood that her final days would be lived comfortably in a place that respects the life and dignity of each human being.
After she came to Midwest CareCenter in Glenview, we knew mom would only live a few days to a week. The facility was amazingly beautiful in all ways: the rooms, the staff, and the care mom received. At times, she would be awake, smile and chat a little. But then her body would quickly tire and she would drift into a peaceful sleep. She'd have a few good days that she was awake and others that she would just sleep. Her twin sister Marilyn visited her when she could, providing a bit of relief for my father.
On the day before she passed, mom greeted family entering her room with her beautiful smile from ear to ear. She even poked some funny remarks at relatives. The family was grateful for this short-lived burst of energy, enabling all of us to express our love for her. Later that afternoon, mom once again drifted into a in a wonderful, peaceful sleep in which she would remain. The next day mom was very quiet and we knew the end was very close. Before mom took her final breaths, my sister, father and I were right by her side, holding her hands, reciting the Lord's Prayer and the Hail Mary, and for some reason, we sang to her, "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."
Later that evening, I knew why we sang that song. Mom was led by angels to heaven at 4:10 p.m. that afternoon on December 21st. She was spending Christmas in heaven.
That evening, before retiring to bed, I walked outside with our three dogs, looked up into the starlit sky and told mom that I already missed her, that I loved her, and knew that she would always be looking down on me. At that moment a beautiful shooting star crossed in the sky above, from east to west. I knew she had heard my call and that she was watching over us. I felt a sense of relief knowing that she was there and always would be. I ran into the house sharing my joyful experience with my husband, Roy, and immediately called my father, sister and grown children to share this miracle with them. I knew mom made her journey to heaven just fine. And so was I.
Mom, you were always a star and your love will continue to shine in our lives.
Cheryl's mother, Carolyn E. Klenske, 1/28/38-12/21/14