22: The Full Moon

22: The Full Moon

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Best Mom Ever!

The Full Moon

We are always together even though we are apart. Though distance may be between us, we are never separate in heart.

~Ethel GG Kent

I had just fallen asleep when the phone rang. I looked at the clock on the nightstand; it was 2:30 in the morning. The past three days had been intense, emotional, and heartwrenching. My mother was very ill and we were told she could pass away at any time. Her doctor had suggested we call in hospice to help us through the final days.

I struggled to wake up as I answered the phone. “Hello?”

The voice on the other end said, “Hello, may I speak to Sandy?”

“This is Sandy.” I could feel the tears starting to build up and my heart beat faster.

“Sandy, this is Kim from the nursing home. You should come as soon as you can. Time is growing near for your mother.”

“Alright, thank you Kim. I will be there as soon as possible.”

“I already called your sister; she is on her way,” Kim added before I hung up.

“What’s going on, honey?” my husband asked as he turned on the lamp by the side of the bed. I struggled to keep my voice from sounding shaky. “That was Kim. It’s time, so I’m going to get dressed and head out for the nursing home.”

“I’m going with you,” he said, and started to get up.

“No, that’s okay. I’ll go by myself. You have to go to work in the morning. I’ll be fine. I’m going to call Gabriella. She’ll go with me and I’ll call you as soon as I get there. Go back to sleep.” I went to his side of the bed and hugged him.

I knew my husband really wasn’t prepared to deal with my mom’s passing. He had a hard enough time dealing with what Alzheimer’s had done to her. I got dressed in a hurry and called my niece Gabriella. She lived down the road so I would pick her up on the way to the nursing home, which was twelve miles away.

I noticed I was shaking as I put the keys in the ignition. I sat for a moment and told myself to calm down and think about what she was like before Alzheimer’s. It was then that I noticed there was a full moon. It was big and bright, and as I pulled out of the driveway on to the road I remembered something from years before.

I was a senior in high school and graduation was just a few days away. I had just come home from a friend’s house and I wanted to say goodnight to my mom if she was still awake. I tried not to make any noise as I walked down the hallway to her bedroom, and I caught her unaware that I was there, sitting on the edge of her bed looking out the window. There was a full moon and its light was so intense I could see her face clearly.

I stood in the doorway for a few seconds watching her. She was looking up longingly as though she was watching for someone or something. Then she looked over at me and motioned for me to sit next to her.

I sat down and put my arm around her, because for some reason I felt the need to comfort her. In a quiet, loving voice she said, “Isn’t it beautiful?”

I nodded my head in agreement, for I had always loved a full moon, and then I asked, “Is everything okay, Mom? You look a little sad.”

She smiled and hugged me and said, “Yes, I’m fine. I was just sitting here thinking about your brothers and sisters. I always do that when the moon is full. I hope that they are looking at it too, and it gives me a sense of connection. I started doing this when your oldest sister got married and moved away, and I have been doing it as each of my children has left home.”

I could see tears in her eyes and for the first time I was aware of how much she missed her children. I hadn’t realized how lonely she was and how much she needed that connection as each of us grew up and moved away. She placed my hands between her two work-worn hands and rubbed them lovingly. I always loved how warm and comforting her hands felt. They were strong, hard-working hands that made meals, did laundry, and soothed me when I was sick. I felt a lump starting to form in my throat and I knew this would be a moment I would remember for the rest of my life.

We sat there together enjoying the moon, and I wondered if any of my siblings knew about our mother’s moonlight connection. After a while Mom broke the silence. She looked into my eyes and said, “You’ll be leaving for Hawaii in a few days to help your sister after her surgery. I’m glad I could share this moment with you. You are my last baby to leave home, and I want you to remember I will always be sitting here by this window when the moon is full. And I hope no matter where you live you will watch the moon, knowing that I’m here doing the same thing. It will be a connection that we’ll always share.” Her face was expressing all the love she had in her heart for me.

That intense love has given me strength so many times over the years when life has gotten difficult. It helped me then in the car as I drove to the nursing home to say my final goodbyes.

By the time my niece and I arrived, my mother had already passed away. I walked into her room and one look at her told me she was finally at peace, free from the ravages of the disease that had taken so much of her away from us already. My sister and nephew had been with her and they confirmed she went peacefully in her sleep. I bent down to kiss her cheek one last time and whispered to her, “Mom, there is a full moon tonight. Don’t forget to watch it from wherever you are. I’ll be doing the same.” As I walked out of the nursing home that morning, I looked up at the moon and knew she was watching and thinking of all her children.

To this day, each time the moon is full, I sit and admire it, sometimes for hours, and I always remember that night sitting with my mom and being surrounded by her love.

~Sandra Plawski

More stories from our partners