This morning, Facebook reminded me that six years ago today, I was called home because Mom went in for emergency surgery and no one thought she would survive it. That was not the first time I was called home, nor the last, but it was probably the worst. I was in Michigan, I was literally in the middle of a take-home final, and I couldn't afford a last minute flight, so I had a 10 hour drive ahead of me before I could be there in person. Mom didn't die at that point, but she was sick enough that neither she nor Dad made it to graduation, even though they'd been looking forward to it from pretty much the moment I moved to Michigan for law school.
Thanks for the memories, Facebook!
Two other times I was called home stand out. One was in either 2005 or 2006, and I wasn't so much called home, because I'd already moved back to my hometown to be closer to my family, but called out of work to the hospital a couple hours away where she was receiving special treatment. Pretty much all the siblings came home for that. We took over a section of the ICU waiting room (we are legion), said our good-byes, and waited. It was terrible. It was, perhaps surprisingly, wonderful, too. We don't get a lot of time to be all together like that, even back then, and sitting and waiting gave us a lot of time to talk. My sister, Kris, tried to teach us to knit. My youngest brother renamed "knit" and "purl" to "neal" and "diamond." I failed miserably at everything about knitting. Youngest brother turned out to be a fast learned. We sat, and we talked, and we brought in food, and we were together. It was terrible. It was wonderful.
The other time that stands out is in 2012. I was called home, had to leave work in the middle of the day. I was working on office action responses for a trademark client. I'd been called home so many times I didn't even pack funeral clothes, just threw a pair of jeans into the car and a couple shirts. Figured I'd be back at work by Monday. It's just about a four hour drive between Kansas City and my hometown. I did it in less than three. I avoided the interstate, took roads that twisted and curved and forced me to pay attention to my driving, didn't give me much time to think. I made it home. Not everyone did. Mom's birthday was the week before. She'd been at home for it. Had a steak dinner with Dad. I went home. She was unconscious. I went home, held my father's hand. She couldn't hear us. I went home, listened hard, caught her last breath. I went home. It was terrible.
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