I was woken up out of a dead sleep at 4:16 a.m. Saturday.
My mom had died.
I knew the call was coming. I knew it was coming almost a year ago. I knew the time was closer when she was in the hospital for a week last month. And I knew that when I visited her last week, at her bed side, in my parents' living room, under the care of hospice, that she had even less time on this earth than ever.
So, I was ready. But I couldn't stop crying Saturday. Crying while I packed. Crying in the car ride down. Crying anytime the conversation came even remotely near my mom. And I'm not a crier.
My mother was quiet, classy, a pixie spit-fire, gentle, shy, sweet, God-fearin' and healthy as a horse. ALS took all of that away in the past year. It's been a difficult 12 months, not just for my dad and the immediate family, but for every person who came to my parents' house to visit or to treat mom or simply to deliver the mail. They knew she was special. My mom did not deserve this. Nobody does, of course. But if you knew my mom, my goodness, why her?
There is no doubt in my mind that my mom is in heaven. She is the model for any "so you want to get into heaven?" manual. I cannot think of her saying a bad word about anyone.
My mom didn't like baseball. She had no interest in sports at all, and God, just to play with her, gave her three sports-loving boys. We watched and played baseball relentlessly. And my mom couldn't understand it at all, periodically throwing up her hands when the topic turned again -- to baseball.
However, as I've mentioned on the blog a few times, my mom bought me my first packs of baseball cards in 1974.
She bought me the first baseball card I ever saw, which arrived in that first cello pack.
She also bought me the first card I ever received from an antique shop, a story I mentioned last year at this time on Mother's Day, around the time that I began to become concerned for my mom's health.
She didn't make Mother's Day this year, taking her earthly exit one day prior. I avoided the blogs yesterday, for fear of coming across too many mom-centric posts. Twitter, too. Facebook was out of the question.
My blog-posting will be spotty-to-non-existent all week as we honor and remember my mom as she looks down on us from heaven.
And I will wonder during this time: if my mom is in heaven and if heaven is a place devoid of every earthly annoyance and if baseball annoyed/perplexed my mom, doesn't that mean there's no baseball in heaven?
That's mildly concerning.
But that doesn't matter at all now.
Love you mom. Miss you. Thanks for the cards.