My mama went to heaven

by Veronika Berastsen

Loosing my mom was THE hardest thing I had to go through in my entire life.

My mom was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2010. I was 19 at the time, I didn’t really understand what cancer meant. It was the first time that someone close to me had cancer. It wasn’t a big deal though, she had surgery and radiation and everything went back to normal.

My relationship with mom was not the best. We were not best friends like my friends were with their moms. I never shared anything with her. I would come home and lock myself in my room, avoiding her. She had me when she was 40 so the age gap and culture differences might have effected our relationship.

Some people say your relationship with your mom becomes better once your married. That isn’t exactly true. It might have gotten better to a degree but it still wasn’t the best.

Then I had my daughter. My marriage at that point was not the best and we hit a rough patch. My parents came to stay with us to help. They ended up moving in with us. Which was probably the hardest year of my life. Yes they helped us a lot! They baby sat, she cooked once in a while, cleaned and always woke up early to make the house warm with the wood stove. Being married and living with your parents again was hard. God helped me. I practiced to be humble, to be patient, to cover all things with love. I did fail, multiple times… a day. I would get frustrated with her of course for instance when she moved MY STUFF around the house, touched my dirty laundry, opened the blinds when I wanted them closed and a lot more!!!!

Soon they got their own apartment and moved out. It was bittersweet. They moved a block away from us. I loved having them live so close. I realized that no matter what I tell her or how much I get frustrated i’m only causing damage to my own soul. She will not change anymore. I didn’t want my relationship with my own daughter to be the same which was a big motivator for me to start amending. I took tiny steps to restoring our relationship. I would make myself give her a hug, or talk to her no matter how much I didn’t want to. It was hard to step over myself. I prayed a lot about it.

At this moment things started to be better between us. We were always together. We went to parks together, to stores together, I called her daily. We were actually friends.

In Jan 2018 my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer stage 4. They told her she would live 6 months and maybe longer if she did chemo.

She wanted to live. She decided to try the chemo. It wasn’t too bad according to her, it would make her weak and a bit sick, but it wouldn’t make her throw up which was really good news.

She finished her 6 courses of chemo in June. September she went for a check up and the cancer started growing again. Dr advised her to start second round of chemo. She agreed.

Fast forward to Jan 2019. She got really sick, couldn’t keep any food down and couldn’t eat. She lost a lot of weight. One Sunday I came to stay with her so my dad can go to church. I honestly thought she was about to die that Sunday. I called all my sisters crying and telling them to come help me and to say their goodbyes. Sisters that were living close came right away and stayed with me until dad came. Out of state sisters came in the next couple days. She didn’t die.

The reason I cried so much on that Sunday was because I realized that if she dies, I will have to carry the guilt for the rest of my life about our relationship. The next day I went to see her and we had a talk. I told her all my hurts and anger that I had towards her. How much I wanted a loving friendship between us where we can freely give each other hugs for no reason. She told me it wasn’t my fault, both of my parents came from families that weren’t doing that too and they themselves were not used to it. I always remember that with my daughter and always tell her that I love her and give her random hugs.

Anyways we made peace and every since then I couldn’t cry that much. Even when she died I barely cried, it was bittersweet.

My moms dying wish was for my whole family to be in peace, my little brother to be baptized and married. When everyone was in town we all got together to talk out our issues and ask for forgiveness and forgive one another. Then we went to moms house to give her her 70th birthday gift 1 month earlier due to us thinking she won’t make it to March 4th. Few days later my brother got baptized. Mom was happy.

Fast forward March 4th my mom miraculously made it to her 70th birthday. Then my birthday on April 1st. Then Mother’s Day May 12th. May 15th my sisters birthday. We were all shocked and all grateful for more time with our mama.

I came over on Mother’s Day. It was a Sunday, my mom was laying on her couch just like she normally did. I didn’t think she was going to die soon.

She was very forgetful this week and kind of out of it. May 15th was her last day speaking to us.

I was changing her and she kept saying my name, I didn’t sit down to listen to her (I wish I did) I just kept changing her so it won’t be awkward. She told me thanks for everything. Everyone out of state came that week again. By May 16th she was not talking, she was in a sleep coma. The next couple of nights I spent with her, sleeping next to her.

The nurse told us it looks like she has hours to days left because she was looking waxy and blue. I wish I was more prepared, I thought it was going to be just like in February when all of a sudden she got better. I was waiting for a miracle. It didn’t seem like she would ever die. May 17th to May 18th I slept by her side with my oldest sister. We took her blood pressure at 12am it was 67/50. That was a sign that death was only hours away. I knew all the death process symptoms but for some reason I didn’t take them seriously.

6 am: We took her blood pressure and it wasn’t reading it anymore. I went home to check on my kids and fell asleep with them. I wish I stayed with mom instead of going home. My sister calls me at 8:00 to tell me moms breathing different, to come over. I got there at 8:05 and I was too late she was not breathing anymore.

I wrote my family “moms gone”.

She died a very peaceful death. Smiling. We had great hospice nurses. They were wonderful. I am thankful for their knowledge and help.

She went home. To heaven. She’s with God. She met her parents and my husbands father, and all of our brothers and sisters from church.

I love you mom. I miss you. I regret not praying with you more often or talking about God. I’m sorry for all the hurt I have caused you in your life time. You were a great mom, you always took care of me. You gave me your all. You were the best babysitter for my kiddos. It’s not the same without you.

It’s almost two months since she died, I go to the cemetery couple times a week. I love it up there it’s so peaceful. Sometimes I go there just to look at the sky, feel the breeze, listen to silence. Away from the rest of the world. To sit alone even if it’s just for a second, before having to come back to reality.

I am not the same person since experiencing death. A piece of my heart is forever missing. It makes me feel better that she is in heaven with Jesus. No longer suffering.

Grief, after the initial shock of loss, comes in waves…when your driving alone in your car, while your doing the dishes, while you are getting ready for work… all of a sudden it hits you, how so very much you miss someone, and your breath catches, and your tears flow, and the sadness is so great that it’s physically painful. ~Nicole Gabert

Revelation 14:13 Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”

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