Loved ones we’ve lost

The past week has been an emotional rollercoaster for me. December has been traditionally been a difficult month for me. Yesterday I made several rash decisions that could have a negative impact on my role as a writer. Today I am trying to take those decisions back. Those decisions spawn from the woman pictured below. That’s my mother and yes, the blonde haired stern child is me. For those that have asked if I have always been so serious the photo proves that.

My mother and I.

Today, December 2nd, marks what would’ve been my mother’s 70th birthday were she alive today. She passed away March 6, 2004 from diabetes related heart disease. Her name was Linda and she was 62 years old.

I was dressing for my second job at our local library when I received the call that she was in the hospital and that she wasn’t expected to make it.

The hospital she was in was five minutes away and as I drove to her side, I was convinced that everything would be okay. I was wrong. I went to the desk and asked what room she was in. The nurse working the station called for the head nurse and even then I had no idea how bad it was. Right from the off the head nurse took my hand in both of hers and expressed her sympathy for my loss. I didn’t understand what she was telling me at the time and I was certain that she had the wrong McKinney.

Even when the nurse led me into the room I couldn’t believe what my eyes were telling me. She had passed away two hours before I arrived. I never got the chance to tell my mother that I love her and to say I’m sorry for all the things I put her through. I wasn’t a rotten son but I was in and out of trouble more than we both would’ve liked. Even to this day I lament the fact that I never called her as much as I should have or spent more time with her. I stupidly assumed that she would always be there. In a way, she still is but it’s not the same. What would you do for just one more moment? Personally, I’d give almost anything for just five minutes with her, just to say, “I love you, Mom” and to hug her.

She wasn’t a saint by any stretch of the imagination. We left a lot of unanswered questions between us and that’s something I’m still dealing with. She made a lot of hard choices in her life, choices that only a few parents have had to make. Still, I miss her.

My father-in-law Gerald with our son Chris

Another reason December is a difficult month for my family is because on December 15, 2007 we lost Tabitha’s father, Gerald Ramsey, to Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. He was 82 years old. Tabitha was very close to her father and really tried to make the most of the time she had with him.

Progressive Supranuclear Palsy was described as the brain shutting down piece by piece. The effects of it are difficult to watch in someone you don’t know go through and excruciating to witness happen to someone you love.

In the end of Gerald’s life he was not able to do most things and would hold extended conversations with people we couldn’t see. For us the other end of the discussion was nonexistent but to him they were as really as the keyboard I type on, but at least he still knew where he was and who we were. His last two weeks were spent in a coma slowly slipping to the other side. Those of you that have read Dog World have met Gerald. He was the reporter in the middle of the Battle of Huxton, Colorado and like his character, he would push forward even in the worst circumstances.

No daughter loved a father as much as Tab did him and as hard as it was to hold his hand as he passed away, she’s grateful to have done that when it happened. Gerald’s last week of life was spent in a coma and it was the most painful first hand experience I’ve ever witnessed people go through.

We miss them both very much and not a day goes by that we don’t think of them. We remember them, more so in this month of joyous celebration. We try to stay focused on the love, warmth, and happiness they gave us though we end up missing them more often than not.

Hug your loved ones today, if you haven’t already. Call them up and just say those three words or visit them and let them know how much you care. Every moment is precious and irreplaceable.

About Jason McKinney

I'm a word slinging, werewolf loving, zombie wrangling, scare master author, husband and father of three. When I'm not writing, I'm blathering nonsense to the world or taking orders from the family. You have my thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the madness and mayhem! Stay delicious, my living peeps!
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11 Responses to Loved ones we’ve lost

  1. Jason, my thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. I know what it feels like to lose a loved one during the joyous time of the Christmas season. I lost my brother on Dec. 12, 1999 when he was only 30 years old. I miss him very much, but I too try to think of all the good times I spent with him. I also think about him every day.

    Hang in there, my friend!

  2. Thank you, Rob. Tab and I appreciate it. I’m sorry about your brother as well. 30 is such a young age. It’s difficult, isn’t it, but we move forward and keep them in our hearts at all times. We’re richer for the good times, and the bad, too, that they gave us.

  3. Thanks so much for writing about this.
    I lost so many people so young.
    It is rough and it changes us forever.
    Please know there are people out there that will support you and help get you through tough times.
    It was great to see you writing today, even though it was about a tough subject. 🙂

  4. T.K. Millin says:

    Jason, my sympathy to you and your wife. Death is such a painful experience for those left behind and thankfully the pain subsides with time, leaving only cherished memories. I wrote my first novel while grieving over the death of my mother and grand-mother who both died less than 12 hours apart. It was therapy and I have to say some of the best work I’ve done. May you find comfort in your memories of the good times. God Bless-

    • Thank you, TK. I can’t imagine loosing two loved ones in less than a day. I’m sorry that you lost both mother and grandmother like that. Writing is great therapy for loss and grief gives us good focus. God Bless you, too, TK and thank you for sharing with us.

  5. Tim Ward says:

    Thanks for the reminder. I’m sorry to hear about the tough times you’ve gone through, and how they’re affecting you right now. Keep focusing on the smiling memories and look for more with those you have now. I’m glad to hear you may be taking back your decision from yesterday’s post, though I did not read past the email portion. I’d enjoy hearing more if or when you’re up to it, especially as you come out the other side. God bless you both.

    • Thanks, Tim. I’m doing better today and the other day had to be one of the stupidest moves I’ve made to date. The holidays make it tough as a lot of us know. Sometimes it gets to blinding that we can lose our way but finding the way back is what matters most. On behalf of Tab and I, thank you so much, Tim and God bless you and yours this Christmas season.

  6. Lacey Wallace says:

    So sorry for the tough time you are going through. I really wish you all the best and hope that you this song “Jealous of the Angels” by the amazingly talented Jenn Bostic will touch you the way it has touched my life, as well as many others.

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