A Month Without My Mom

It’s been a month since God brought you home. It’s been a month since that deck collapsed while we cried in disbelief over losing you. It’s been a month since your dad died beside me mere hours after you. September 3, 2021 was -without a doubt, the worst day of my life.

Susan Jean Power with her Grandchildren

The circumstances surrounding my mom’s sudden death are strange. The out of ordinary occurrences before and after her passing has compounded my grief and pain. I can’t stop thinking about it all. She’s on my mind constantly. I am baffled by her absence as if I thought I’d have her beside me forever. She was 60 years old. Far too young to die. She was tough, kind, fun, exuberant.

My beautiful mother Susan Jean Power at 18 years old

She went through a hip replacement surgery ten years ago and felt like a new person and “…ready for the next fifty years.” of her life -I remember her saying. Then when she was 55, she overcame throat cancer. She persevered through Chemotherapy. She lost a ton of weight and most of her voice in the process. Removing the tumor during surgery damaged her voice box. This bothered her -she had an unfiltered gift of gab and a way with words throughout her life. She now had to learn to quiet her voice but at least it wasn’t lost forever.

My Mom at 25 years old with her fraternal twins

My mom and grandfather were close. When my grandmother Sandra died, my mom took over the care of her dad Charlie. She moved him in with us right before her throat cancer diagnosis.

He had a dog named Connie and Mom had a dog named Tiffy. The small dogs got along great for the many years they had them. Both of their dogs died weeks apart from each-other. Connie died first; of old age and Tiffy was put to sleep after breaking her neck weeks before my mom passed.

The day mom died was the worst day of my life and it couldn’t get any worse. Until night fell and I was proven wrong. My two brothers and my sister were all standing on the deck of my sister’s house with my grandfather. We got to the house about 4:00 pm – just missing the coroner leaving with my beloved mothers body headed for autopsy. After hours of reminiscing, crying and laughing, we called it a night and at 9:00 pm (five hours of standing around on said deck) we started giving hugs and goodbyes.

I was standing at my twin brothers side watching him lean down talking closely with our grandfather. Before I could hug him one last time, the sound of wood crackling filled my ears and within a blink of an eye, I was on the ground. I screamed in pain, my left hip was under my grandfathers body and both of my legs were under panels of wood and a very large BBQ that fell ten feet down with us. The deck collapsed. I wiggled myself out of the rubble cutting my bare legs in the process.

I looked around and saw everyone was disoriented but conscious. Then I saw my grandfather lying lifeless next to me. I knew he was gone. I froze, in complete shock. My brother reacted quickly, he instructed my sister to hold up my grandfathers head while he performed CPR. He got him breathing before the paramedics arrived (many of whom were at this address earlier in the day tending to my mother). We all went to the Guelph hospital for our somewhat minor injuries. My grandfather was taken to Hamilton hospital.

The Deck Collapsed before the ambulance arrived
Cuts, scars and bone bruises from Deck Collapse accident

My sister broke one of her ribs while my hips and legs were full of cuts and bruises but no fractures or breaks thankfully. We rejoiced in this odd occurrence at the hospital in such a fragile state. We high fived my brother for reviving our grandfather. It was a strange day. We went home and tried to sleep with our battered bodies and broken hearts. We woke up to find out horrible news. Our Pa landed on his head when he fell. At 80 years old, he suffered a catastrophic brain bleed from the impact that it would be unlikely even for a 20 year old to overcome. He also suffered organ damage from the impact of the fall and had ruptured the base of his spine at his neck when he landed. He wouldn’t be pulling through this. No-one could. He would be vegetable. Everything about Charlie that was Charlie would no longer be, even if his body survived miraculously -his brain wouldn’t stop bleeding. A week later, we were at his bedside saying goodbye. He was going with Mom now.

My Grandfather Charlie Gratto

I got a tiny bit of comfort knowing that my grandfather was meant to go with Mom and they are together with my grandmother now but the whole sequence of events will unnerve me for a long time to come. I wonder if they had a pact before this life to leave together. I wonder if Mom brought the deck down knowing we’d all be okay but Pa would land on his head and go with her. I wonder a lot of things.

Rest in Paradise
Susan Jean Power March 8th, 1961 – September 3rd, 2021
Charles Keith Gratto March 23rd 1941 – September 9th, 2021

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