Oma Sue's Blog
Hi – I’m Sue Reyzlik. I recently realized my life-long dream of building a writing hut in the backyard. The writing hut serves as a creative space and home office for Oma Publishing. This blog will be intermingled with family history, varied experiences and insights on being a Grandma (Oma), creating my special backyard space, as well as, my “retirement” career as a self-publisher of children’s stories. And perhaps a little bit on the 32 years I served as Executive Director for Keep Fremont Beautiful and the wonderful people who are sharing this adventure.
Missing and Remembering My Mom...
January 6th holds some personal significance as the day my dear mother passed in 2009. After losing Randy in 2006, I was adamant that I would not lose her. I wasn’t ready to live a life without her. I took her to doctor appointments and scheduled procedures that would hopefully give us answers to her lingering health concerns.
I hadn’t been able to save Randy and I would be damned if I wouldn’t do everything to save my mom. No stone would be left unturned. Every effort would be made to find a cure and if not a cure, a remedy that would allow for more time…
I know it sounds crazy and it was crazy – I was in denial. I wasn’t going to accept the inevitable. My Mom was getting older, her health was failing, she would die. LaLaLa I can’t hear you LaLaLa…
It was before Christmas in 2008 when she was admitted to the hospital. She was having trouble breathing and the physicians in charge of her care were trying to determine the best course of treatment. Mom had made it clear that if she became incapacitated, I was not to allow any resuscitation efforts on her behalf.
I wasn’t too concerned about those orders as I was sure I wouldn’t be forced to make any decisions regarding her request. She was in a hospital setting for care. She would receive the care that the physicians felt was warranted. Her dying was a long time away. LaLaLa…
I had been up to the hospital to visit my mother earlier in the evening and her breathing was labored. I worried about her but that was normal. It was almost midnight, when the nurse called and said that they could not get ahold of my father and that my mom was in distress. They informed me that I should come up to her room immediately and I did.
Mom was in a private room. Several people were gathered around her bed. The room was brightly lit. The shades were open – the sky was dark. There was a machine attached to her body. I couldn’t be sure what I was seeing as her face was hidden and there was a whirling noise and a pumping action that was pushing through her chest. The motion and noise were intense and frightening. The doctor took me out into the hall and asked where my father was – I told him that I had come directly to the hospital. He indicated that my father needed to be present… I didn’t feel that I could leave her. I told him I would figure something out. I suddenly felt that her dying wasn’t such a long time away…
I went out to the lobby and tried calling my father – he didn’t answer. After several attempts I called my cousin Cindy. It was late – actually early in the morning by this time and she answered almost immediately. I asked her to try and rouse my father. I told her what was going on and that I thought he was sound asleep. Within a short period of time, she was able to wake my father and brought him to the hospital.
Dad joined my mom and sat on the chair beside her bed. He reached up to hold her hand – my heart was breaking. Mom had been unresponsive but opened her eyes when the doctor came in the room to visit with us. As he explained the various treatment procedures they were employing, my mother looked at me directly in my eyes. She was aware of her surroundings, she was aware of the humming machinery, her eyes were angry – she was angry with me – she shook her head no. Oh man – my mom was pissed at me… she was blaming me with her eyes… she was accusing me – reprimanding me of disregarding her wishes – all with the intense manifestation of anger radiating from her eyes and a slight shake of her head. She was ready to die, and she was blaming me for her failure to do so.
Hmmm… too bad. I hadn’t been advised of this particular health dilemma… her lungs filling with liquid. No one had consulted with me. They were draining the liquid from her lungs…
The steps to treat her had been taken before I had been called. This was not something that I was responsible for… She was blaming me, but it was misplaced… it wasn’t your time to die so get over it. The doctors and staff were able to take what was considered minimum standard care – it wasn’t considered invasive at all. They didn’t need my permission to take those steps – this was normal care – I refused to feel guilty… I needed more time to get used to the idea of living without my mom. I felt that we had received a reprieve – her dying was way far away. LaLaLa…
I was grateful for that time. Having gotten through that initial scare, she was sent to Merrick Manor for rehab. She spent Christmas in Merrick Manor. My brothers came home for the holiday, and we celebrated with my dad at the family home. It wasn’t the same – we all felt her absence.
As the New Year passed and we entered 2009, it became apparent that the rehab wasn’t helping my mother. She met with the minister and her church friends several times a day. I visited and encouraged her to exercise and eat – both of which she rejected… I was becoming depressed. I had been through this with Randy – I could no longer wish it away…
I pushed the chair closer to her bed and took her hand in mind. My heart was filled with sadness and regret, I told her I was going to miss her… she looked at me with what I sensed to be relief, she simply said “Oh Sue, I’m going to miss you too”. Tears streaming down our faces, we held each other’s hand and spoke of what we had meant to each other.
Denial is strong – denial is a busy state. Acceptance is cathartic, it’s cleansing – mother and daughter found their peace in acceptance. I finally recognized that her passing was near, and we would take the steps necessary to make the transition as pleasant as possible. My brother and his wife offered to come stay and care for mom while I continued to work. Plans were underway to move mom back home and we were meeting to make the arrangements.
It was early on the morning of January 6th. I was heading out the door to meet my brother and father at the care facility. My brother Billy called – I remember saying Hi, I’m on my way. He simply said, “She’s gone”. I was stunned. I said what? He cleared his throat, possibly choking back a tear and said Mom died – she’s gone… And with that denial returned – No – that can’t be. We were making plans; I had accepted this… her dying was near but not now – LaLaLa...
That was it… Mom passed on – January 6, 2009. Thirteen years ago, and one day before the birth of my grandson Mackson. Twelve years, to the day, before the attack on our nation’s capital. I know it doesn’t all seem related, and it isn’t… it’s just anniversaries and birthdays and memories in my mind…
But on this the 13th anniversary of her death, I miss my mom, I miss talking to my mom. I miss making my mom laugh until she cried. I miss agreeing and disagreeing with my mom, I miss shocking my mom, I miss the intelligence of my mom, I miss the unconditional love from my mom, I miss the never-failing support from my biggest cheerleader... I miss my mom.
I wish that she would have had time to meet Mackson and later seen him play ball. I wish I had had the time to tell her about our ancestry, she would have loved that dad was descended from a pirate and surprised to learn that he was not descended from a native American! She would have loved our “witchy” past…
More recently, I’m pretty sure that she would have found the Trump presidency repulsive and his thousands of lies repugnant. She was a life-long Republican and loyal to the party. I do however, think she would have been embarrassed by the Party’s descent into darkness with the elevation of Trump to a leadership position. If she hadn’t switched to Independent before the insurrection, I imagine that she would have switched shortly after.
I am reminded of the time when Dan Quail was getting a lot of teasing for misspelling potato – the press was having a field day with his mistake and in conversation with my mom, I stated that the guy was dumb. She was immediately offended. With a serious frown on her face, she emphatically declared that Dan Quail was not stupid. I rolled my eyes and said something akin to “whatever” – it wasn’t whatever, because that was way before “whatever” was used. But it was something snarky – like whatever!
Soooo here we are a year after the insurrection, and we are learning more and more about the actions and events that ultimately led to violence on that day. The plotting, planning, and conversations that were taking place up until January 6, 2021. With each passing day, more is being revealed at how close we came to losing our precious democracy.
I find it particularly interesting that Vice-President Pence was under so much pressure to reject the votes. The fact that Pence was trying to find a way to appease Trump in his desire to remain in power, is certainly troubling. But equally reassuring is the fact that Pence also consulted with elder Republican statesmen in an effort to determine the limits of his power and the proper procedures for the day.
I am sure that mom would be tickled that Pence had consulted with Quail and that Pence had accepted his counsel. Quail may have added an “e” to potato but in the end, his knowledge of the constitution, his understanding of the duties of the office and his patriotic intelligence, saved our Democracy. Yes Mom – you were right – Dan Quail is not a stupid man!
EDIT: My cousin J, read the original Facebook post and noted that I had misspelled VP Quayle’s name. That just tickled my heart… I laughed so hard, I cried. Thanks Mom – I needed that.
Here’s a glimpse of the life my mother lived… she was loved by many!
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