DJ Badger:  The News and the Journal

Entry Forty-Nine.
Wednesday, 2007.08.01, 1:23 AM CST.
So long, Mama.

I have terrible news.

At 6:46 PM CST Monday evening, the best friend that I ever had (taking my entire lifetime into consideration) left this world and moved on to be with Jesus Christ in the next one.

My mother has died, following a little under over two weeks of hospitalization.

She was originally admitted to her hometown hospital on Saturday, July 21st, suffering from breathing difficulty.

She was then moved to a larger Tulsa hospital on Wednesday, July 25th, as her situation had gotten worse:  Her lungs had stopped correctly processing oxygen into carbon dioxide, and her blood was filling up with the latter.  Since her admission there, we endured four different points at which we believed the end was going to be immediate, but she pulled through.  At first, she was determined to survive in order to spend more time with X; as she said from her bed, "I've got a grandbaby to take care of!"  However, later on, during one of the darker moments there, she admitted that what she was going through was indeed "a hard row to hoe."  She fought all she could for almost two weeks in that hospital room, but she was just too weak.

Mum was always there for me, ready to help me emotionally or even financially if I needed it.  When I was younger and didn't have many friends at school, she filled that void.  She supported every little hobby I had, no matter how goofy they were in retrospect.  She would sit down and play Atari games with me for hours.  She even helped me start my own DJ business because, as she told me a few days ago, I "needed it."  (After I worked with Mirage Productions and DJ Dave decided to move away, Mum saw that DJing would draw me out of my shell, as I had always been fairly introverted without many social skills.)

Mum was the biggest influence on my mental and creative development when I was a kid.  She did everything she could and made enormous personal sacrifices in her life just so that I, her only child, could be happy and have a better life.  I'll admit that behind the wacky "Badger" persona that I have portrayed online/at open mic night/etc., underneath it all, I was really a big "Mama's boy." I loved her dearly and would have done anything in the world to help her.

Life is going to be excessively difficult without her around. Before she went into the hospital, I tried to never let two days go by without talking to her on the phone at least once, and when she was in the hospital, there wasn't a day that went by during which I didn't visit her at least twice.  I tried to never, ever leave her hospital room without telling her "I love you" right before I walked out, so that if anything suddenly happened, that would have been the last thing she heard from me.

As she lay there in the intensive care unit, usually with the BiPap® machine forcing her to breathe, she talked with me about a number of things over the last 12 days.  We watched TV and movies together from her bed, we talked about precious memories, and we made morbid jokes just like we always did.  The night before she passed away, we got to talk about the beauty of the sunset that we could clearly see through her window.  We both knew that it was the last sunset we would ever share together.

In the days immediately following her admission, Mum showed some positive progress, but her health then began to decline more and more over time.  Essentially, after over 50 years of smoking, her lungs' oxygen receptors had been blown out, and over time, she had been having more and more breathing problems.  Eventually, her system couldn't process the balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide anymore.  In the hospital, there were a few points at which they tried letting her freely breathe regular oxygen, and on rare occasions during the beginning of her stay it actually would work for a while.  During the latter days, though, she was no longer able to do that, and the BiPap® machine basically served to keep her alive.  It became evident to everyone, including herself, that her time had come, and that her body was simply giving out.  Even with the BiPap®, she would only be able to linger on that bed for a while longer, suffering away and being able to talk less and less as the days went on.

Monday morning, by her own decision (and with my full support), the staff began to administer morphine to her system.  We knew that it would take away the pain, but also realized the side effect for people in her situation: It would most likely cause the death process to be hastened.  It was a choice between possibly living for a while in agonizing pain, or possibly living for a shorter while in relative peace and comfort.  I think she made the right decision. Keeping the inevitability of her death in consideration, I was shocked but somewhat relieved when the phone call came from the hospital yesterday evening.  She had stopped "pulling" from the BiPap®, and thus it would no longer work.  So, the staff had removed the BiPap® so that Mum could go ahead and finish the death process in peace.  I ran up to the hospital, and very shortly after that, her nurse informed me that my mother had passed away.

In our last real conversation Monday morning, shortly before the respiratory therapist came in to deliver the first shot of morphine via nebulizer, my mum forced herself to utter these words of comfort to me:

"It'll all be okay.
I won't hurt no more...
I sure love you all."

(Note: I don't know why she used a double negative, as she would usually have avoided such grammatical errors during her better days.)

I cannot properly express in words the coldness and emptiness that I feel inside.  She meant the world to me, and it is difficult to comprehend a world without her.  I continue to experience crying spells at random times, but as time goes by I know that I will grow more at peace with this.  As the tired cliché goes, "She's in a better place."  She's in Heaven now with God, Jesus, Grandpa, Mr. Hayes, and countless other family members and friends who have passed on before her.  She will be safe, happy, and out of pain.

If you have any faith at all, please pray for the peace and comfort of my family, especially my dad.  He's an old, confused man with many more medical issues than Mum ever had, and it will be incredibly difficult for him to go on without her (though Lanna and I are prepared to help him as much as we can).

In one of the most amusing memories I can pull from this entire ordeal, during one of the numerous horrible nights when we mistakenly thought she was just about to pass away, I asked Mum what she would like to have on her tombstone.  She paused for a moment (while I sat there expecting her to say something like "pepperoni").  Then, waved her hand quickly in front of her as if envisioning the text, and happily exclaimed from behind her mask, "SO LONG!" It was cute, and it made me chuckle.  I asked her if she really wanted that on the tombstone, and she confirmed that she did.  Hence, at the bottom of her tombstone, it will actually be inscribed...  "So long!"

So long, Mama.  You will be genuinely, genuinely missed, and I love you very, very much.