August 8, 1999, was a Sunday. I remember because I was planning to go to church. I was startled by the phone ringing and wondered, "Who would be calling so early in the morning?". I never thought that that phone call would lead to the two worst days of my life.
My mom was rushed to Northwest Hospital. I remember, within my soul (closest, direct connection to our Lord God in Heaven), I was begging and pleading, "Please!?! Please!?! Please!?!", as I calmly, and quietly, got ready and made my way from Renton to Northgate (35 minute drive). I couldn't speak. I couldn't think. I didn't want to think, as if that would stop the worst from happening. The drive seemed to take forever. When I finally arrived, most of my family was already in the waiting room - dad, sister, aunties, uncles, cousins. Dad took me in to see mom. She was curled into a fetal position, moaning. She was not coherent and under heavy sedation. I bent over, close to her ear, and let her know that I was at her bedside. I gently held her hand, and she seemed to gently squeeze mine in return. I confidently told her that she'd pull out of this and that she'd be better soon ....... That was the last time I saw her move. During the next twenty-four hours, our family held a constant vigil, sending forth our quiet prayers and pleas toward Heaven above. As we spent many of those long hours, caressing her arm, caressing her face, I felt that I had the power to bring her back. Somehow, I mustered enough calm, trying to harness the required spiritual energy needed to heal my mom. I had intended to do this through my gift of song. My mom was my biggest fan, after all. Mom was not moving. She hadn't moved since I had seen her last. Once she heard me singing, I thought, she would wake. She had to wake. I started to sing. First, I sang "Return to Pooh Corner". She loved how I sang all the time. When I lived with mom, dad, and Kristine, I would spend hours in my room, singing everything under the sun. I knew that my mom was listening. I knew how she loved it so. She was MY GREATEST FAN. She didn't move. I went right into "Rainbow Connection". She had to start humming with my singing. She knew this one. She didn't move. Okay, I thought, she had to respond to Dan Fogelberg. I spent so many nights playing my 33 rpm LPs of The Innocent Age, singing every word, to every song, on four sides, of that double disc album set. I had the feeling that she would give me some sign with "Run For the Roses". But, mom ... didn't ... move. (I already posted the next few sentences as a comment for the first video I had dedicated to my mom, "Return to Pooh Corner" (4th video post). I'm adding those sentences here ...) When I was singing to my mom at her bedside, I really believed that my singing was going to bring her back, that she'd hear my voice and return. I really believed that she was going to open her eyes and smile and tell me that she was okay. I was devastated when she wouldn't move. I was nearly broken.
Thus, my mom began her journey into our Lord God's Kingdom in Heaven, on August 9, 1999. It was a Monday. I will never forget that Monday.
I'm sorry. I can't go into all of the details. Those memories are just too painful to relive, for all of us, who clawed through the anguish, that was the last few hours for my mom, on this earth. I remember, and still wish that those memories were just from a horrific nightmare, from which I could wake. But, those memories are real.
My dad has hosted a Memorial Service at St. Mark's Catholic Church in Shoreline, Washington, every year. This will be the eleventh year. Our prayer service is always followed by a grand feast. I've sung at every memorial for my mom. And, since 2008, I started a new tradition by singing Josh Groban's "To Where You Are" a capella, during the prayer service. I sing it as my dad's voice, for mom. Now, in honor of the 11th Memorial for my mom passing into our Lord God's Kingdom in Heaven, I present my version of "To Where You Are" on YouTube. I still believe that my songs reach my mom. I always will.
"To Where You Are" is a song by American singer Josh Groban that appears on his 2001 debut album. It was written by Richard Marx and Linda Thompson and produced by David Foster.
When released as a single in 2002, the song "bubbled under" the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at #116 in September of that year. It was more successful on the Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart, where it entered the chart in April 2002 and eventually spent two weeks atop the listing in August. It remained on this chart for 36 weeks. In August 2008, the song spent a week on the UK Singles Chart at #94.
I still believe that my songs reach my mom.