Someone’s crying

On Thursday night I heard my mother stir and I rose from my bed on the floor in the corner of her room and hurried to her side.

“What’s wrong?” she asked as she roused from the deep sleep she had been in all day.

“Nothing’s wrong, Mom.”

“Someone’s crying,” she said.

In my mom’s 78 years on this planet, I imagine she heard and answered a lot of someones crying.  In the 1950s through the 1970s she was raising five children who had been born within six years, including my sister Annie who was extremely disabled.  I suspect there were a lot of times someone was crying.

Even as we grew older we were sometimes crying: me coming home from college carrying a basket of laundry when a relationship ended; a long-distance phone call to speak of a loved one who died; a conversation about one thing or the other around the kitchen table.  I know I did my fair share of crying on her shoulder.  In fact after we were shocked by the revelation of her cancer in early December, I’d wake in the morning crying, and I’d think ‘I need to tell Mom about this terrible thing that is happening.’ Then I’d wake fully and realize that the terrible thing was happening to Mom.

Although I have only a few memories of my father crying before his illness, the Alzheimer’s had the unfortunate effect of causing him to become very tearful. For quite some time, every morning Mom would have to face his tears as she rose to get him up and out of bed because Dad started most days crying.

So, yes, there have been a lot of someones crying. And Mom wiped, or talked, away many, many tears.

The nurse practitioner at Hospice where Mom spent nearly two weeks in the last month said, “Your mother is a caregiver. Often caregivers have a hard time letting go. They need to know everyone is going to be okay.”

I told my siblings and we all reassured Mom in our own way that we, and Dad, were going to be all right. I don’t know if that gave her peace in the end, or if this fight was simply too big for the fighter.

On Thursday when Mom said, “Someone’s crying,” even though my heart was breaking, I answered, “No, Mom. No one’s crying. We’re all okay. Everybody is going to be okay.”


On Saturday morning, January 12th, at 11:45, my sister, husband, and I watched my mother take her last breath, six short weeks after her pancreatic cancer was discovered. I am grateful that we, along with Hospice of Dayton, were able to give her the loving care she not only deserved, but earned each and every day of her life.

She had a joyful spirit and a compassionate soul. I will miss her dearly.

Mary K. Smith – January 3, 2013

32 thoughts on “Someone’s crying”

  1. I am so sorry. I hope you will both find peace. Thank you for sharing this painful journey with us. You have helped others (me) much more than you know.

    Jeavonna Chapman


  2. oh Christine, what a wrenching time this has been for you. You will miss her so much. I’m sure Annie danced over to welcome her with a huge smile and open arms. I am holding you and your family in my heart and prayers. May God’s grace wash over you and grant you peace and strength of heart.

  3. Prayers and blessings to you and your family. You have touched many hearts tonight as well as the tomorrows. The love will go on..

  4. Oh, I know you will miss her, Christine. She wore the name tag “Caregiver” almost all her life. It is time for her to rest. May you find peace in that. Hugs and prayers to you and your family at this time. Share your happy memories of her with each other, and celebrate her life.

  5. Damn… Reading this brought memories of my father who died over 2 years ago… He had similar thing, lung cancer that has metastasized to the brain…
    I know how you feel, as he died while my mother held his hand…
    But don’t be sad, she is at better place now!

  6. Christine, I’m so sorry for your loss. Matt and I have been thinking of you every day. I’m sending a big hug to you via him this week.

  7. Dear Christine … I am so sorry for you – but feel you were all ready … and I’m certain she will be at peace, as you will be that she didn’t have time to suffer much. I can believe that you will have many days and times when ‘stories’ of all sorts will pop into you mind to discuss with your mother … my thoughts.

    Those are lovely words to read … your post as well as those last few words … “She had a joyful spirit and a compassionate soul. I will miss her dearly” ….

    Her spirit will remain with you …. she’ll be with you – and you’ve done all that you possibly could for the family, for your mother and father … these coming days will be desperately sad – but you have done so much, and have those happy memories to fall back on in the months and years ahead …. I’ll be thinking of you this week – with many hugs Hilary

  8. Dear friend, so sorry to hear about this. I have been thinking about you a few times in the past month but haven’t been over to visit. Blessings to you and your mother and your family. Honoring the tears that reveal how much you loved her…and how much she’ll be missed.

  9. Cherish the many memories. They will be with you forever. Stay strong. btw I and my computer have both been receiving care and attention and I am pleased to say I can now read and comment again. Long may it last…….

  10. I am so sorry Christine. Lots of hugs to you. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

    When my mother died a few years ago, a stranger left a message for me that I will copy here. I found some comfort in it. I hope it brings you some peace too.

    May you be free.
    May you be peaceful.
    May you be happy.
    May you be safe.
    May you awaken to the light of your true nature.

    May your Mum be free.
    May your Mum be peaceful.
    May your Mum be happy.
    May your Mum be safe.
    May your Mum awaken to the light of her true nature.

    May your family be free.
    May your family be peaceful.
    May your family be happy.
    May your family be safe.
    May your family awaken to the light of their true nature.

  11. My heart goes out to you and your family. On January 17th it was five years to the day that my own mother passed and I always remember. Blessings to you and your family.

  12. Reblogged this on Random thoughts from midlife and commented:

    Three years ago today, I held my mother’s hand as she took her last breath. This is the post I wrote the day after. Today I am remembering a moment towards the end of her days when she was at Hospice. I never had a lot of time to have the heart to heart conversation with her that I yearned for. Things were moving too fast and she was too sick. But on this afternoon, for the minutes she was awake, I leaned over her bed and said, “I’m going to have to find a way to talk to you.” She said, “Yes, you will.” Then I cried the tears I tried so hard to hide from her. She reached up with both of her arms and cupped my face between her two hands, giving me a lifetime of gratitude and love, a million words of good-bye, in one moment I will cherish forever.

  13. I thankful I had a sister like Mary and she had a family like she had. It’s all good. She lives on in your love.


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