In certainly our saddest moment of the year, we unexpectedly lost Joe's mother (aka: Mom Leone and Grandma Carolyn). On the Thursday before Thanksgiving, we received a call that Grandma Carolyn was quickly slipping and had only days, perhaps hours, to live. Frail at 86, Mom's brief hospitalization that week for diverticulitis complications became her final illness—something we never would have expected.
Joe immediately raced down to Chicago on Thursday afternoon, upon receiving the call. The kids and I followed a couple hours later, after quickly packing some overnight bags. Joe and the kids and I, together with Joe's sister Margaret, were with her at the hospital when she was transferred home by ambulance at 7:00 pm that evening.
Shortly after she arrived home, her priest arrived to give Mom Last Rites. She was right where she wanted to be—tucked in bed, back at home, surrounded by her children and her grandchildren, receiving her final sacrament. Joe and I spent that night with her, holding her hand, praying with her, helping her through the toughest moments. At 10:00 am the next morning, the Friday before Thanksgiving, Joe and I held Mom's hand as she peacefully drew her last breath.
Mom's death was shockingly fast and unexpected. But it was also powerful and moving, and we are so pleased that it was all the way she would have wanted it. I can't think of her last night and her final breaths without getting weepy all over again, but they are tears of joy for a life well-lived and for the hole that her departure leaves for us here on earth.
One of the last things she said to Joe and me, as we told her about all her children and grandchildren who were already in the house or en route from various states to see her, was, "Bless all your souls."
Bless your soul, Mom! We miss you immensely.