Last Monday, Elizabeth Ross Lidberg, my Mother, passed away in the ICU at Tempe St. Luke's Hospital, surrounded by her family. All four of her children were there. She'd be been admitted early in the morning on 7/31 after calling 9-1-1. They found her, performed CPR, and rushed her to the hospital. She did not reawaken before she passed.
She was my biggest fan, my most ardent supporter, and often my harshest critic. No matter what was happening at this end, she was always there for me. She tried to help me see a way out of or around any problems, and never let me give up. And she did this despite her own problems which were not insignificant. Between a series of health issues including Pulmonary Fibrosis and Breast Cancer, her health had been in a steady downward slide for several years. She was on constant oxygen and couldn't walk more than 10 feet without getting winded.
The most important part of her, though, was her mind. It was always sharp, all the way to the end. The last time I spoke with her, I helped her research who ran her apartment complex because she felt they were treating her unfairly (which they were). She never wanted a handout, she just wanted to be treated fairly.
She was very proud and never like to ask for help. She was embarrassed when others had to help her with simple things like taking out the garbage or getting groceries. Sometimes her embarrassment would come out in strange ways, and she came across as being a cranky old lady.
My siblings deserve a lot of credit for helping her where I couldn't (I'm in Texas while they are all in Arizona where she was). Annmarie and her fiance Jason were there as much as they could, helping her in any way possible. Chris drove up from Tucson as often as he could and gave her non-judgmental assistance as well. And Mike stepped up to help, too. Thank you all for your part in making her life as comfortable as possible.
I am proud of my father, who despite having been divorced from my Mom for several years, stepped up to help with rides to the doctor and the store. Toward the end, it appeared that the animosity between them had faded considerably, and I was very happy to see that.
My Aunt Mary (Dr. Mary Ross Collis, to be technical...:D), Mom's sister, also went above and beyond. I know she appreciated everything you did Mary...I know it.
My Uncle Allan (Dr. Allan Ross, an anesthesiologist), her Brother, offered medical advice and other support to Mom as well. His knowledge in medicine is profound, and the whole family appreciates the help he gave Mom as well as to us when we were trying to understand over the weekend what had happened and where it was likely to go. She loved you a lot, Allan.
My role the last few years was to act as sounding board and moral support. Whatever she wanted to talk about, whenever she needed it, I was there. Long phone calls on all kinds of subjects. Times when she just wanted to complain about her health, other people, things, whatever she needed to. I didn't judge, and offered as much support as I could.
She was always a reader, and over the last few years she and I had found several genres we mutually liked. I was able to turn her on to Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, and a few others. We had long talks about the books, the characters, and the authors. That is a sharing I will deeply miss.
Over the last few years, she apparently shifted her politics based on what she saw happening. I remember when I was still at home that she told me she attended a rally for Jesse Jackson at ASU once afternoon. This is in sharp contrast with the opinion I know she held about Barack Obama and his cast of cronies. My Mom was also a Bush supporter, and had developed very real conservative viewpoints on many topics. Good to see you found the right side, Mom...:D
One of the things that I know brought her joy and excitement were her granddaughters, my daughters Jordan (11) and Dorothy (4). Jordan recently received the President's Award for Academic Excellence (GPA 90% or higher and 90% or higher on standardized tests) and the school's Award for Academic Excellence (for highest GPA in the school!) and she was very proud of her.
Mom, I miss you all the time. I keep catching myself thinking I need to call you about something, or to check on you, or let you know how this or that situation has resolved itself. You were a big part of my life, and I want you to know how much that means to me.
I know the last few years were hard for you. It was painful, and you were always sick with something. I remember when you told me you had gotten to 5 years cancer free, and how excited you were. I remember how they told you (more than 6 years ago) you had 3-5 years with the Pulmonary Fibrosis left, and how proud I was that you showed them they were wrong. You are in a better place now, without pain, without medicines, without needing oxygen tanks and a scooter, and surrounded by people that love you. Grandma and Grandpa I'm sure were there to welcome you with open arms. Time to rest - you deserve it.
I love you...