My Scrambled Nest

An Almost-Empty Nest Journey of "Letting Go" With Laughter and Love, By Cathy Free

Happy Bright Friday, one and all. Today marks the second anniversary of the day I felt “inspired” to ask a nurse to call a mobile phlebotomist to give my mother, Joy, a blood test when she was near death in a care center’s hospice room. After going outside late on Thanksgiving night 2017 to look at a starry sky, I was overwhelmed with a feeling that my mother was not dying of sepsis as doctors had told me and my siblings. And I was right. The blood panel revealed that she didn’t have sepsis, but critically low potassium. She could have died of heart failure at any moment.

 Today, I know that requesting a blood test and calling an ambulance was the best decision I’ve ever made. Since then, I’ve had an extra two years with my mother, also known to our family as Snowy Owl Woman. That’s 730 days, 17,520 hours or 1,051,200 minutes that I didn’t expect to have. If there is a greater gift, I have yet to find it.

 Although the situation is far from perfect (my mom can’t walk and is now more frail), her mind is still alert and active and she looks forward to regular visits from me and my sister. We take turns visiting her six days a week, and that — more than anything — has kept her in good spirits. An occasional glass of Champagne doesn’t hurt either, so I’ll be taking her a split of her favorite Veuve Cliquot to toast another year of love and laughter.

 This might sound surprising, but I actually see my mother more often now than I did when she was in good health and had her own place. When my parents divorced, I lived with my dad from age 11 onward and I often felt that I’d been robbed of a close relationship with my mother. What a treat, to have a second chance to make up for that lost time. I have learned to forgive and to live in the moment, and I’m grateful for every extra hour, every extra day.

 Here’s to you, our Snowy Owl Woman. Onward to another bright year. We’re delighted and thankful that you’re not yet ready to fly away. ♥️


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