“I Knew I Was Saying Goodbye to my Mom For the Last Time”

beaverdamusa.com, mark grissom, chicago cubsA good friend from out of town, Donna Hendrix-Cripps, read this tribute to my mother that I had posted on Facebook on the one year anniversary of my mother’s death.

She commented to me in a private message the following…”So sorry about your mom”.

Well, Donna…I am too.

I miss her every single day that goes by.

As it approaches the four year anniversary of her death on December 14th of this year…I would like to share the tribute I wrote to her almost three years ago.

Thank you, Donna, for the reminder.

“Goodbye Mom…I Love You Very Much”
By: Mark Grissom

It was the fall of 1982.  I had left my home in Chicago, Illinois and made my journey to Cleveland, Tennessee to start my freshman year at Lee College.  My mom and dad followed me down to Cleveland to help me get settled in the dormitory.  This was the first time in my life that I was going to be away from home for any length of time and I had mixed emotions.  For the most part, I was probably like most young people at that age, I thought I was a big boy now and I could make it on my own.

My parents made sure I was registered, knew my way around the campus and helped me get moved in to my dorm room…Hughes Hall…Room 320.  Once my clothes and what little bit of furniture I had was moved into my room, I thought I was independent enough and that it was okay for my mom and dad to make their journey on back to Chicago.  Looking back, I probably was too pushy with them to go on home and not worry about me.  I thought I could make it just fine.  Dad was perfectly fine with that.  He was always the one to say…”You’re okay”..or…”You can make it.”

However, my mom, well that was a different story!

Mom did not want to leave!  My mother wanted to stay at least one more day and make sure that I had everything I needed and that “her little boy” was going to be alright!  I remember telling her….”MOM….please go on…I am going to be just fine!”  But that was not good enough for her.  I was her baby boy!  She was not ready to let me go!  She did not want to say…”Goodbye.”

They stayed one more day.  The last day they were in Cleveland, I will never forget my mom crying her eyes out that her son was not going to be with her any longer.  I went to the motel room where they were staying to say goodbye and she was bawling like a baby.  My mom loved me very much….and she did not want to leave me!  I got in my car to drive off and I could see her in the rear view mirror waving at me and the tears were flowing down her cheeks.  The whole time she was telling me…..”Goodbye Mark…..I love you very much!!”

Fast forward to December of 2010.

My mother had been sick for several years with the dreaded disease of Alzheimer’s.  She had been diagnosed with terminal Alzheimer’s by her doctor and my dad and my brother and myself had made the decision to place her in a nursing home facility in Cleveland where they could give her the best possible care for the remainder of her time here on this earth.

The last couple weeks of her life, dad and I would take turns staying with her in the nursing home, because we knew she did not have much time left.  Her body was shutting down, she was getting very weak, and it was getting very close for her time to move from this life into Heaven.  We all knew that.  We all knew that she was leaving us.  Those days, and nights, were very difficult.

I would stay with her during the night and dad would come back to the nursing home about 6:00 a.m. to be with her.  It was a time that we needed…..to say our long goodbye to the greatest wife and mother that anyone could ever ask for.

On December 13, 2010, my mother was barely breathing.  She had been in a comatose state for several days.  She had not eaten and the doctor and nurses were just doing everything they could to keep her comfortable for the remainder of her time here on earth.  That evening, my brother came in town and the three of us were able to spend the last evening with my mom in her room, around her bedside, sharing lots of memories and singing to her and praying.  Late that night my brother went on to my dad’s house to get some rest.  I came back to the nursing home about 1:30 a.m. and begged my dad to go home for a few hours and get some rest and I would stay with mom.  He did not want to go, but I insisted.  He was physically and emotionally exhausted from the days and months prior of being my mom’s caretaker.

About 4:00 a.m. on the morning of December 14, 2010, I watched my mom’s breathing get very shallow.  Her breaths were much further apart.   She had no pain whatsoever.  Thanks to the incredible staff of Signature Healthcare, she was very comfortable and had an incredible peace about her.  I walked over to the foot of her bed…..and I did not want to leave her.  And I did not want her to leave me.  I talked to her.  I kept telling her how much I loved her and that she was the greatest mom in the whole world.  I was saying goodbye to my mom….for the very last time.

At 4:56 a.m., I watched my mother take her last breath here on earth and take her first breath in Heaven.

I called the nurse into the room and told her I thought my mom had passed away.  She very gently went over to her bedside, sat down beside her and checked to see if she had any pulse left at all.  I will never forget her next words to me.  She turned and looked at me and said, “You might need to call your dad, your mom has passed away.”  When I heard those words, I began to cry like a baby.  She came over and gave me a long hug.  She did not say a word…..she just hugged me.  That is what I needed right then.  I just needed to cry…..and she knew that.  She went out of the room to give me some time with my mom.  I stood there looking at my mom and said…..”Goodbye Mom…..I love you very much!”  That was all I could say.  “Goodbye…I love you!”

I now know how my mom felt in the Fall of 1982 when she stood there watching me leave, tears rolling down her cheeks, telling me….”Goodbye Mark….I love you very much.”  It hurts still to this day……but I know beyond any doubt whatsoever that my mom is in Heaven and I will see her again one day.

“There’ll by no sorrow there.  No more burdens to bear.  No more sickness, no more pain.  No more parting over there.  And forever I will be, with the One who died for me.  What a day….GLORIOUS DAY….that will be!”

On this day, the one year anniversary of my mother’s death, I only can think of one thing to say…….”Goodbye Mom…..I love you very much……..and I will see you again!”

In Loving Memory of Patty Ann Carter Grissom
October 20, 1934 – December 14, 2010.

And HE will hold you…….hold you in the palm…..of HIS hand.

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