While most of the nation prepares to remember the tragic events of September 11, 2001, today I remember my own day of sadness. On September 3, 2003 I called my mom about 9:30 in the morning to check on her. My daughter Hannah (not quite 2 at the time) and I had stopped to see my mom the previous afternoon. Besides seeing her most days, I also called her in the morning … she especially enjoyed the call if Hannah woke up while we were talking so she could hear those happy baby sounds. That morning, I called her to get her input into what fantasy golf team she wanted to “buy” that week through the PGA Tour fantasy golf game. My mom never played golf, but she loved to watch it, and being able to “own” a team of golfers all her own each week made it fun for her.
That phone call started off as every other call. She inquired about Hannah and the dogs. We talked about possible golfers. After several minutes, her speech began to be slurred and then I heard a crash. The last words I heard her attempt to say were “I’m fine”. She wasn’t fine. I knew she had suffered a stroke. I hung up and called 911 to get them to her house. Then I called my husband who was working a few blocks from there to get over there with a key to let the paramedics in. Hannah and I packed up and headed for the hospital. Driving there, I was thinking that it was good that I was on the phone with her and was able to get her to the hospital in less than 30 minutes from the time of the stroke. I knew they would administer clot-busting meds in plenty of time. Mostly I thought there would be some changes …. a time of rehab, and perhaps she wouldn’t be able to live alone anymore, but I never expected what I saw at the hospital.
When they showed me to the cubicle in the emergency room, I thought I was in the wrong room, because I did not recognize the woman lying there. Later, the neurologist told me that he had never seen a stroke that had so drastically deformed a person’s appearance.
The stroke had been massive and very deep in the brain, causing extensive and irreversible damage. I never heard my mom speak again. Six days later on September 9, 2003, my mom died from that stroke. That was 10 years ago. We still miss her … my mom, Hannah’s Grammy. She was 79 years old and she left us too soon.