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A motherless daughter and phone calls to heaven

Posted on February 24, 2015, 5:00 AM

Nicholette, brother and mother
Nicholette and her brother with their mom Terri when she was sick.

Cancer—a word that brings so much fear, representing a widely known disease. A disease that does not care about your age, if you have small children, if you have yet to walk your daughter down the aisle or how much money you have in the bank. I never realized this word would become such a big part of my vocabulary, much less a part of my life.‬

July 21, 2011 is the day my world froze; the day it forever stood still. I vividly recall the sounds all around me in my office as I stood at my desk. I remember the smells and the details of the doctor’s voice over the phone saying “Mrs. Pennington, she never arrived, we lost her on the way here.” My legs felt like Jello, wanting to give out underneath me. “I don’t understand what you mean? She was on the helicopter, how could you have lost her?”  Deep down I knew he meant she had passed away. I dropped the phone and fell to the floor in the middle of my office. Co-workers flooded in, but, I didn’t even I have the energy to tell them—I was left without an ounce.

The amount of hurt my heart was feeling still didn’t register on my drive home. I stared at the clouds wondering where she was. How could she have just disappeared? Been there one minute and gone the next? Didn’t God understand that was my mom, I needed her and she needed me, more importantly her grandchildren needed her.

Arriving home, I rushed to call her cell phone. I needed to make sure there was not some sort of mistake. No answer. I called the hospital and asked to speak with her. The sweet nurse gave me the same answer—we lost her. She was gone. I wanted to hug her one last time. All of memories—big and small—and our long talks about nothing flowed through my mind quickly. She was my rock.

Days went by where I would find myself going to my car on my lunch break to call her. I would pick up the phone to share stories about my boys only to realize it was impossible. There is not a single long distance phone plan that will reach Heaven.

I am adjusting to life without a mom—and at times that still feels impossible.. I talk to her often, cry when I feel like crying, laugh when I think of a funny memory, and I talk about her bravery and strength while facing terminal brain cancer. Cancer may have taken my mother way too soon; it may have even taken her voice, but I’ll share her story of courage for as long as I can.

Nicholette, center, at a walk for brain cancer.

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