Susan Patricia McKenna: 1950-2007

Today is the anniversary of my mother’s death. I wrote a post on the day that she died.

Mom passed away this morning.

Ironically, I spent last night in ICU with her watching an episode of Little House on the Prairie, a show that we watched together while I was growing up. Mom never regained consciousness after entering the hospital four days ago, so Elysha and I did more watching than she did, but it was still nice.

It brought back a lot of memories. Good ones. And who knows? Maybe she was listening a bit. I hope so.

Mom once worked in that same hospital while I was growing up. She was a pharmacist until the day she slipped a disc in her back while pushing a drug cart. One disc led to another and to another until she could no longer sit or stand for prolonged periods of time. Trying to avoid paying her workman’s compensation, the hospital put her to work as a security guard for a year, hoping that she would quit.

Just imagine my mother, whose weight exceeded 100 pounds just once in her life (while pregnant with me), working security. In the dead of winter, management had her patrolling the grounds outside the building. She wore socks equipped with batteries in order to stay warm but still could not.

I hated those people who ran the hospital, even though I have never met them. It was the first time I can remember wanting to punch someone in the head and knock their teeth out.

But mom stuck it out a year and the hospital finally relented, allowing Mom to retire on disability.

But this week she returned to the hospital for one more visit. She died in the same building where she once cared for and protected patients.

My mom
My mom

I wish that I could've spoken to Mom just one more time before she died, but just being there by her bedside, letting her know that things would be alright, and telling her how much I appreciated the job she did as my mom might have been good enough. The last time we spoke was on Christmas Eve, after spending the day with family.

I never suspected that we were saying our final goodbye that day.

I wish I could remember the last words she spoke to me as I kissed her goodbye, but I can’t.

I thought we had so much more time together.