I remember running into the entrance of the Kaiser Hospital on the night of October 2nd. A security guard stopped me half way up the stairs. I turned around, not knowing what to do until my uncle walked in and told her our situation. We ran to the elevator and went up to the 3rd floor. We got off and told the security guard in front what room we were headed to, and ran into my mother’s room: 309. I saw her lying in there with the nurse next to her. Her heart rate was reading lower than what it should be. I stood next to my mom’s bed and tears started to form. My uncle was teary eyed as he put a hand on my shoulder while he watched his oldest sister lying on the hospital bed. Like this afternoon, one by one the family members filed in. My aunts and uncles began to fill the room along with my grandparents and brother.
At the age of 15 I was hit with many things that happened around the same time. It felt as if my world was crumbing around me all in one day. My father left with another woman on September of 2007 and this was when I began to realize that I really had to start doing things around the house and really grow up. At that time, my brother had just finished high school and was not sure about what he wanted to do. He would spend countless hours with his girlfriend when we needed him at home the most. This was also the time my mother had taken up a third job at night working as a waitress in a Japanese restaurant. We barely got to see her during this time because after her 7 – 5 job at the dental office she went straight to the restaurant. While she was at work, I was at home making sure my sister finished her homework and was in bed early. Though there were some nights where we would get home late, I made sure once we stepped into the house my sister or mother went straight for the shower. During that time, I would be doing dishes that needed to be done or finishing up homework.
My mother didn’t work at the restaurant long before her muscles began to hurt and joint pains began to develop. She started taking days off work because of all the pains and it wasn’t before long that she was laid off from the office job. She began to work slower. Her hands and feet would swell up in the morning or every time it was cold and multiple wounds opened up on her skin. We all had no clue of her problems or what was happening until later on. I tried helping to aid my mother back to better health. I was still making sure my sister did well in school and stayed out of trouble. I made sure my mother took the right medication at the right time, and went with her to the doctors, as well as assisting her with anything else she needed. For myself, I made sure my grades didn’t drop during the time I was taking care of my mom. I felt tired and annoyed day after day as this was going on. But I knew that this was my family, and as much as I disliked it, I knew that I needed to stay strong for my younger sister.
I was shocked and scared to find out what happened when my uncle got the call from the hospital that night. I felt empty as my uncle told me to get dressed. I couldn’t comprehend the words that were said over the phone, as I stood in the hall way listening to my uncle on the phone, I felt my face turn hard and pale at the same time. I didn’t know what was happening since we were just at the hospital earlier that day, because my mother’s heart stopped. The doctors got her heart to beat again. I remember walking in earlier that day and saw that she had blood covering her gown. The nurse said that the blood was a result of her internal bleeding.
Slowly one by one each family member came in and in no time I had all my aunts and uncles in the room joining me watching over my mother. It hurt me to see my younger cousin cry as they stood in the room not knowing that something bad was coming. Tears came down faster as I hugged my younger cousin. We watched her until her condition stabilized that afternoon. We all went outside of the room and waited in the lobby. Later on that day we all had a meeting with her team of doctors. They told us that we could decide to keep her on life support or take her off because if her heart was to stop again, then they would not be able to bring her back. We decided that it was best to keep her on life support. We stayed a bit longer in the lobby before leaving to go home. We got to my grandparent’s house to wait incase there would be another emergency with my mom. My uncle, aunt, and I left around 9 but it wasn’t long before we got the call and went back to Oakland.
There were people inside and outside her room as we tried to make sure that everything was okay. Then it happened, my mother’s heart beat for the last time, as it stopped and the alarm on the 3rd flood sounded. The doctors and nurses came in and lead us outside her room as they performed compression on her to make her heart beat again. As I remember this moment, I see us scattered around the front of the hospital room. I am on the side looking in through the window into the room watching as the strangers, doctors and nurses, compresses her fragile body trying to get her heart to beat again. I wanted her to come back. I kept telling myself that everything was going to be okay. My vision blurs as I continue to watch the image in front of me. I have only the memories that my mother has left me with. I know that she will never come back even though sometimes after school I remind myself to go see her in the hospital, and then remembering again that she is no longer there. Even after her death I would still need to be reminded of this.
I am beginning to look back on my life after the death of my mom and see the many memories that she left me with. I remember the day when she was laid out on the bed, wide awake unable to sleep, and I sat on the floor, legs crossed. She asked me to get her money out to count and I did, along with mine. She knew that I would be going to Great America with friends in a couple of days and she asked if I could count how much she had. She told me to put aside four hundred dollars for my grandparents and told me to take a hundred. She mistook some of my money as hers as we go back and forth laughing about who took what and how much. I remember this day as one of my happiest day with my mom while she was sick.
Today, my mother’s memories still stay with me. I discovered that I the joy I get in helping others after my mother’s death and began volunteering at a local recreation center in Oakland, where my sister goes as one of their students. Next year I am entering college and ready to face the challenges that are set for me once I get there. I entered high school as an immature teenager, joking and laughing with a group of friends during lunch. Even though I feel scared of what the future holds for me, I know that this day was going to come faster than I thought it would. Now I am ready to enter a new world, the real world. I am entering this world with the support of my family but without the financial support of my parents. I am ready to face what colleges have in store for me, and the opportunity to have a brighter future for me and my younger sister.
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