The Story of the Traveling Lap Robe

My mother was so excited! She called to tell me about a special gift that she had just been given.  I could hear the excitement in her voice. She asked me if I was coming up to her apartment and although I had visited her the day before, her voice told me she wanted to share this special gift with me. As soon as I hung up, I grabbed my keys and headed up to my dear sweet Mom’s apartment to check out what all the excitement was about.

As soon as I turned the doorknob, I heard Mom yell out,” Is that you, Cindy?”  Of course, I answered yes, as I walked the short distance from her  apartment door to the living room. She was snuggled comfortably in Dad’s brown recliner. I sat on her love seat when she asked it I noticed anything new.  I had but, liked to tease her as I glanced around the room, naming things that were always there right in the place they always had been. Mom gave me one of her looks and pointed to her lap. I smiled a Cheshire cat smile, then walked over to take a closer look.  It was beautiful. It was colorful with shades of bright red, blue, green yellow, tan, brown, orange and ivory. Although it was not overly large it was a perfect size for her small frame. Mom shared that it was made by one of her friends who lived on the third floor of the same apartment building. I knew she liked it! Her sparkling  blues eyes, her windows to her soul, beamed with a happiness that radiated throughout the room. This belated birthday gift meant a lot to Mom who celebrated her eighty- sixth birthday just two months earlier. Little did I know how important this gift would be in the months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds leading up to the day that changed my family’s lives forever……..

It was mid to late September 2013, when I received a call from the manager of my mother’s apartment building. She said that Mom was not feeling well, that she was concerned, that I should come as soon as possible. I hung up the phone and called my sister and told her to get ready; I would explain . She was ready when I got to her house and as we started our short journey, I shared the conversation I had with the manager.  With all of Mom’s health issues, we did not know  what to expect, we only knew that we had to get there as soon as possible.

Mom was sitting in her favorite chair, our dad’s chair, one we had all sat on over the years. Her coloring was not good. Both my sister and I listened as Mom told us about not being able to pass her water. She looked swollen and very uncomfortable, so we got her dressed, then headed down to the hospital .   We had been there more than a few times, so we had the routine down to a science.

They took good care of Mom at the hospital.  The  doctor and nurses did what they had to do to help Mom with this little setback.  It was decided that Mom would be admitted because of some abnormalities in her bloodwork. We did not know that this was the start of a more serious health issue that was just starting to spiral downhill.

Mom did not have much of an appetite in the days that followed and spent more and more time in the bathroom. It was decided that she would have a cat scan of her stomach. It was the cat scan that found a mass at the bottom of her stomach and the beginning of her small intestine. I could not believe my ears. Mom just had a cat scan at the end of June and it only showed some diverticulosis.  When I shared this information with the doctor, he was anxious to see the test results from the previous scan.  I contacted the hospital where Mom had the test and was able to get a cd of the cat scan.

My heart broke when he said the scan showed no sign of any mass. He concluded that it was a very fast growing mass. Because of my mother’s age and other pertinent health issues, she would not be able to have surgery to verify if it was cancer or not. There were four broken hearts the day the doctor told us that our precious Mom would only have a few months if that to live.   The broken hearts continued as we, her children told our families and friends the sad news.

Mom came to live with me. She brought her pillow, her police scanner, her pink, yellow and wite crocheted afghan and her newest gift, her brightly colored lap robe. Hospice set up my front room with everything Mom needed.

When she first came, it was as if she were healed. She ate, watched tv, and listened daily to her police scanner. Each day Mom would sit on the loveseat and I would cover her legs with her lap robe. Daily, she told me the story about it. At night, she would ask me to put the robe over her feet, and sometimes tell me the story once again.

As the weeks started and ended like a quick flash of lightening, the lap robe became more important to Mom. She wanted it over her legs as she sat at the table,and when she took a nap. One day, when I was washing dishes, I heard her talking to someone. I went into the room and found my cat, Ethel sitting by her on a small piece of the robe.  It should be noted that Miss Ethel never came out to anyone until my mother came to stay. Ethel sat with Mom everyday on a small piece of the robe with her head on Mom’s knee. It was such a precious sight.

Our beautiful Mom, passed away early in the morning on December 13, 2013, with her brightly colored lap robe over her legs and feet. It brought her comfort in her last days as it did from the day she recieved it.

The traveling brightly colored lap robe….

My mother’s lap robe traveled to my home where it still remains.  During the fall, winter and early spring, it covers my legs as it once did Mom’s.  I often find myself picking up the robe and putting it around my shoulders like a shawl, saying a prayer for a loved one or telling my mother how much I miss her.  The brightly colored lap robe rests on the top of my brown reclining chair where everyone can see it. Sometimes my grandchildren will run their hands over it in memory of their grandmother. Sometimes, Ethel will jump up and snooze the afternoon away, content, purring like she did when she sat with Mom.

In January, the brightly colored robe will travel to a local hospital, where my sister, Donna will be having a hip replacement. When she wakes the robe will  gently be across her legs and feet.  It is important to me that my sweet sister knows that Mom is with her on that day. The robe will follow my sister to her home where it will warm her as she recouperates.  When she is completly healed, the robe will return to the top of the chair and wait until it is needed to warm my sister, Emma or my brother, Lee.

My heartfelt thought……..

I symbloize the brightly colored lap robe with love; my mother’s warm love.  Her memory lives on with our memories of her life, her smile, her sparkly blue eyes and the lap robe that brought her so much happiness. So dear readers, cherish your parents, family and friends. Keep them close to your heart, tell them you love them, make memories, and do little things to show them how important they are.

Cynthia

6 Comments »

  1. How blessed, Cynthia, you were able to have your mom near and to help her in her last days. An ocean lies between me and my parents. And it is so very sad for me not to be able to stay near and help them in their last years. You have a truly blessed memory to treasure. A great gift, and I’m happy for you!

    Like

  2. What a beautiful story. I gave my mom a prayer blanket. She kept it on her lap and around her shoulders. It put a smile on her face and I believe that prayer blanket helped in having mom with us for a little longer.
    I now have the blanket and when I see it I think of all the great memories i have

    Like

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