Tuesday, September 18, 2012
MY MAMA, ISOLINA (LINA) CLARA SAINATI MCDONALD, OCTOBER 18, 1919 - SEPTEMBER 18, 2012 (REQUIESCAT IN PACE)
My mom died on Tuesday, September 18, 2012, one month shy of her 93 birthday on October 18 at about 4:50 PM with my sister Elizabeth and me at her bedside something I had dreaded for my entire life. It was a two week roller coaster. On Saturday, September 1st, my sister noticed my mother's breathing was labored and there had been a great deal of fluid buildup. Home health care came and recommended she be brought to the hospital. Up until that my mom had been living on her own in her townhouse and with her monster cat, Kitty, himself about 16 years old. She moved into her townhouse in July of 1991. This was her last day there and the last time she saw her beloved cat.
At the hospital she was in good spirits and was released on Wednesday, September 5th to go to a nursing home rehab center where we had hoped she would then return home. But on Thursday morning, we could not awake her and her breathing became more distressed and so she was sent to the hospital again. Once in the emergency room, she awoke and was very alert, talkative and with her normal sense of humor. She stayed awake until well past 10:00 PM when she got a room at the hospital.
She continued to have the deep sleep problems but moments of great alertness and never lost her appetite when awake! Thursday, September 13 she was sent back to the rehab center, but again on Friday, September 14 she was non-responsive. In the evening we kept a "death watch" as it appeared close. However at about 9:00 PM she unexpectedly awoke, was alert, and ate two small pudding cups and drank water. On Saturday morning, she was sitting up eating on her own a large breakfast of eggs, bacon, grits, bread, orange juice and coffee. She was alert all day. The next day, Sunday, September 16, she remained alert had visitors and her great grandchild, 2 year old Bailey Jo McDonald visiting and great pictures were taken late Saturday, September 15:
I came back from Macon, on Sunday night and went immediately to see Mama. She was awake, alert and fighting with her nurse whom she felt wasn't quick enough in getting her to the bathroom, but the nurse had gotten her out of bed and to the toilet and back to bed and she felt better. I gave her what would be her Last Holy Communion, Viatcum for the arduous journey from death to eternal life although I didn't realize that it would be her Last Holy Communion! I kissed her good night and she told me to feed her cat!
On Monday, September 17, she could not be aroused and by the late afternoon it was obvious she was in a semi-conscious state, occasionally but briefly opening her eyes and acknowledging me and then out again.
Monday evening the doctor told us that she was very critical.
Tuesday, September 18th, we remained all day with Mama. Her breathing was only labored once but then remained consistently shallow but steady. My sister, her husband and two children and two of her grandson's wives were present a good part of the day. Most departed around 4:00 PM except for me and my sister. Earlier I had offered my mom the "Last Rites."
The nurses came in to give my mom something for a fever that had developed and then turned her to her side and that was all it took, she took her last breath! My sister and I couldn't believe it had come to such a relatively easy passage although it was unexpected at that particular moment. I think both of us really thought she would come to again and we would eventually get her home again, but exceedingly sadly it was not to be. This was about 4:50 PM, Tuesday, September 18, 2012, born to eternal life.
Loosing your mom, especially your Italian mom, is a hard one. Italian sons and mothers are an interesting study in family life and cultural expectations! I won't be posting any new posts for a while and may be a bit slow in posting comments, but keep them coming! God bless.
The following obituary is in our The Augusta Chronicle and Macon Telegraph this morning:
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Entered into rest Tuesday, September 18, 2012, Mrs. Isolina (Lina) Clara Sainati McDonald, 92, loving wife of 45 years to the late Donald Joseph McDonald. Mrs. McDonald was a native of Livorno, Italy but then moved to Georgia from Italy in July of 1956 with her husband and three children. She was a member of the Church of the Most Holy Trinity. Mrs. McDonald worked for the Richmond County School System and was a volunteer for St. Joseph Hospice. Family members include daughter: Mary Elizabeth McDonald Smith and husband Robert G. III; sons: Johnny McDonald and wife Deborah, Fr. Allan Joseph McDonald; grandchildren: David Joseph Smith and wife Jennifer, Rebecca Ann Smith, Johnny McDonald, Jr. and wife Patty, Scott McDonald, Lauren McDonald; great grandchildren: Maxwell Smith, Nicholas Smith, and Bailey Jo McDonald and her cat, Kitty. A Funeral Mass will be held Friday, September 21, 2012 at 12:15 P.M. at the Church of the Most Holy Trinity with Fr. Allan McDonald and Fr. Jacek Szuster celebrants. Burial will follow in Westover Memorial Park. Memorial contributions may be made to Church of the Most Holy Trinity, 720 Telfair St., Augusta, GA 30901. A vigil service will be Thursday evening beginning at 6:00 P.M. and the family will receive friends until 8:00 P.M. at Thomas Poteet & Son Funeral Directors, 214 Davis Rd., Augusta, GA 30907 (706) 364-8484. Please sign the guestbook at www.thomaspoteet.com
Published in The Augusta Chronicle on September 20, 2012