She had been given 2 months to live. They discovered a grapefruit-sized tumor on her bladder, inoperable.
Two years later, after multiple sessions of chemo and radiation, and a few experimental drug therapies, she was still with us.
My mother, aged 53.
The 3 youngest siblings still lived at home. We 3 oldest were scattered. One in Atlantic City, one at college and myself, in Michigan, 14 hours away.
Over the course of those 2 turbulent years, I had made many emergency trips back to Pennsylvania.
“This is it”, my family would announce.
I would drop everything and go home. Employers understood; my husband, always supportive.
Somehow, each and every time, she would show improvement. I’d go back to my life and wait for the next call.
This time, something was different. My youngest brother had assured me by phone, she was back in the hospital, but doing well.
I was relieved, but failed to reach Mom at the hospital. I’d try again the next day.
I was awakened in the middle of the night in a complete sweat, trembling nervously. I woke up my husband with 2 simple words.
It was a busy time of my life. I was deeply involved in a new job. I was scheduled to speak at a banquet for 200 the following night. We had a pending offer on a new house.
No matter. I had to go home.
I scheduled the earliest flight, convinced there was no time to drive.
The family was shocked by the surprise visit. They were even more surprised when the other two sisters arrived, unannounced, later in the day.
After all, the doctors said Mom was doing okay.
Our mother was not surprised. She had summoned us, without saying a word.
She died 2 days later. April 30, 1980.
Goosebumps. Still. Thirty five years later.
** We never talked about why we all showed up that day. A few years later, I came across an article that discussed the phenomena that folks who are about to die sometimes send out spiritual messages to loved ones. I believe.