Today marks a hard anniversary to remember
Posted: Friday, May 7, 2010 8:01 pm
Even though it’s been eight years, I still remember it as if it were yesterday. My husband, sister, brother-in-law and I had taken a family vacation to St. Louis with our children. We had visited the St. Louis Zoo and stopped in Wynnburg on the way home on that Thursday to visit with our grandmother, Naomi Cole. It was she who informed us mother had been put in the hospital for dehydration.
Mother was a long-time diabetic and over those last few years had suffered from breaking both of her legs (in separate incidents) and from kidney failure. It was the peritoneal dialysis that finally brought her down. While in the hospital, she developed an infection that went undetected until it was too late.
I visited her in the hospital that Thursday evening and we talked about the vacation and all the fun the children had seeing the animals and the other sights in St. Louis. We spoke again on the phone that Friday and Saturday. It was on that Saturday that she was taken to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville after she found the infection in her peritoneal bag. She died the following Tuesday. The infection had made its way to her brain and there was nothing the doctors could do.
I remember getting the call from Father while at work. It was an election day. I drove to Lake County to get Grandmother and by the time I could get the children out of daycare and my husband out of work, it was later than I had wished. Getting to Vanderbilt Hospital was a challenge and I wish now that I had had a GPS system.
We were too late to speak to her again and, when we finally arrived, Father informed us she was being kept alive with life support. We made a family decision that she would not want to be kept alive this way and the doctors soon disconnected the tubes. It seemed like it took only a few minutes before the nurse informed us she was gone.
There is not a day goes by that I don’t think about her or wish I could pick up the phone and ask her about a recipe or how long to cook something. She taught me how to sew, cook and drive. She supported my decision to pursue photography and purchased my first Pentax K-1000 while I was only in the eighth grade.
When my sisters and I decided to join the Obion County 4-H Honor Club, she was behind us 100 percent. She encouraged us in each of our endeavors and became a mother figure to many in the Obion County 4-H Club. She was affectionately called “Mama Lovett” by many, including 4-H leader Tim Smith. She was there when called upon, whether it was to transport 4-Hers to contests or to fill in as a leader at 4-H camp in the boys’ cabins.
Mother took on many leadership roles in the county’s homemaker’s clubs and she served on the Obion County Fair Board, where she was secretary.
For many years, Mother organized bike-a-thons for cystic fibrosis and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. She also collected funds for the American Diabetes Association.
She led a busy and active life.
She encouraged each of her children to go to college, even if it was for only one year. Of the five, two have master’s degrees (one from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and the other from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville) and two have bachelor’s degrees (one from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville and the other from the University of Tennessee at Martin.)
She readily accepted my choice for a husband and traveled to Clarksville when I had my first child, even though she was wheelchair bound. And, when it came time for me to make a decision on whether to stay in Ashland City, where I was the editor of the weekly newspaper, The Ashland City Times, or to come to Union City to become a member of the newsroom staff at The Messenger, she was a good sounding board without pressing her wishes upon me.
I’m glad I decided to come home. I was able to spend precious time with her and she was able to see her grandchildren on a weekly, if not daily, basis.
As we celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday, I will remember mine for the kindness she showed to others, the impact she had on our lives and her devotion to her children and grandchildren and the organizations she was involved with.
Don’t miss this opportunity to send your mother a card and flowers, give her a call, take her out to dinner — show her in some way that you remember all she has done for you and that you love her and always will.
Published in The Messenger 5.7.10