On Tuesday, Dec. 7, my mom — the woman who raised and nurtured me, taught me right from wrong, and loved me unconditionally — died peacefully at home from natural causes at age 90.

To say Mom was not in the best of health would be an understatement. She suffered from numerous ailments that included carpal tunnel syndrome, diabetes, kidney disease, neuropathy, osteoporosis, and hearing and vision loss. She used a walker to get around and relied on my wife, Peggy, and me to drive her to the grocery store, and dental and doctor appointments.

During the past decade, Peggy and I did all we could to accommodate Mom and make her as comfortable as possible. Because she was in constant pain, Mom understandably was bitter and could be judgmental of everyone and everything.

By Oct. 27, Mom’s condition worsened to where she could no longer walk. We admitted her to Memorial Hospital, where doctors inserted a stent in her left leg to increase blood flow to her foot. Doctors eventually amputated three toes due to gangrene.

The following week, I admitted Mom to a local rehab facility for therapy. Our goal was to get Mom healthy enough to where she could walk and come home by Thanksgiving. However, Mom refused to eat and take her medication. On Dec. 7 we had mom released from rehab and into our care, hoping her home surroundings would inspire her to eat.

Our daughter, Rosemary, and her boyfriend, James Cosby, both caregivers, provided a hospital bed, nutritional drinks, oxygen ventilator, undergarments, wheelchair and port-a-potty to assist in caring for Mom. Unfortunately, Mom didn’t get the opportunity to benefit from their generosity. Shortly after 5 p.m. that day, she slipped into a deep sleep. Rosemary applied chest compressions, but with no success. We called the paramedics who worked diligently to revive her. By 5:15 p.m., she was gone.

During the past two years, Mom often said she wanted to die and to go be with Jesus and Dad, whom we lost in 2002. I believe Mom was tired of fighting her health issues and simply let go. And who can blame her? After all, she was 90. If only everyone could be as fortunate.

Like most children, I am sad for having lost Mom, but relieved she is no longer in pain. I think of her daily and of the love she gave her family.

I thank Peggy who, in 2020 and 2021 cared for Mom by performing every thankless task imaginable. Marrying her was the smartest thing I ever did with my life. Also, I thank Rosemary and James for their efforts, and my brother, Mike and sister, Karen for visiting Mom during her stay at the rehab center.

During my near 10 years as a columnist and contributor to Pikes Peak Newspapers, I have worked with many caring and talented people who, through this column, helped bring my stories of my parents to life. I thank these individuals for their kind words and encouragement.

Most of all, I thank Mom for bringing me into this world.

Until we meet again, I won’t say goodbye, but, “Thank you for being my mom and for all you did for your family. Enjoy your well-earned rest and blessed journey home.”

William J. Dagendesh is an author, writer and retired U.S. Navy chief journalist and editor. He has lived in southern Colorado 22 years. Contact him with comments or ideas for his column at nutmeg120395@yahoo.com.

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