“I like to imagine she and I were praying for the same things: no more suffering for her, and strength and understanding for me.”
By Jennifer Torres
Two years ago, my brother called me early on a Saturday morning to tell me he was on his way to the hospital because our mom was not doing well. "Is it her heart? Pneumonia?" I asked. He didn't know.
"Lord, please be with her,” I prayed. “Please let her be okay."
Several minutes later, I called him back. "Are you there? Is she okay? Is it her heart?" I asked.
"Jenn, it's not good,” he said. “She collapsed at the house and was unresponsive. [Her partner] Randy called 911. An ambulance went to get her. They were giving her CPR. No one has been out to talk to us. I love you, sis. I'll call you as soon as I know more."
My husband, Freddy, held me. I woke Dad up.
There were so many things I still wanted for her; there was so much more that she deserved.
I was trembling, sick to my stomach, and couldn't catch my breath. I'd seen my mom a week earlier and she was glowing. I crawled to my knees in bed and pleaded with God to take me instead. "God, please don't take her. Please don't take Raine and Jack's nana. I need her. I still need her. Please don't take my mom." There were so many things I still wanted for her; there was so much more that she deserved.
Then I started thinking about what Shane had said—"she was unresponsive"—and my prayer changed. "Lord, please don't keep her here if she's going to suffer. Please don't let her suffer. If you take her from me, please give me the strength to live without her. I love you, Mom. I love you so much. I love you so much. If you can hear me, I love you and am so proud of you and am so proud to be your daughter. I need you. I don't want you to go. I don't want to be in this world without you. But if you have to go, I understand. I don't want you to suffer."
My phone rang. It was Shane and he was crying. In that moment, I felt a part of my soul leave my body. "There was nothing more they could do,” he said. “She's gone. I love you so much, sister." Things were a blur. We hung up and I was hysterical, screaming and shaking.
We wouldn't go to Georgia immediately. We'd have to wait until it was nighttime, so I could sleep during the ride. During my childhood, my mom and I had driven the same road home 100 times. I couldn't be awake for that.
As we were leaving that evening, the sky was entirely purple as the sun set and I knew she was home.
I try not to think of this day very often, because I've been blessed with the warmest, funniest, wildest memories of her—but there is one thing my mind occasionally drifts to. On this night, when I got to Shane's house, he told me the doctors had resuscitated her at the hospital. For a brief moment, she was earthside. I like to imagine that in those last breaths, she and I were praying for the same things: no more suffering for her, and strength and understanding for me.
I love you endlessly, Mama.
"When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight." - Kahlil Gibran