Rebecca and Iona Jones

Photograph of Rebecca and Iona Jones.

Rebecca and Iona Jones about 2000 in Kenner, Louisiana.

The Web

I know everybody dies. I guess I never came to the conclusion that she was part of everybody. I still can't believe it happened. It was my worst nightmare come true.

Last Christmas I was planning on buying mom and dad a DVD player. But then chucky broke both his arms. So I said to myself I'll get it for mother's day and that little voice said you can't keep putting off presents, they won't live forever. But I did put it off. My dad bought her a DVD player after Christmas and by Mother's Day I don't think she knew what a DVD player was. I prayed everyday all the time, begging God to make her better. I guess he never heard me or just didn't care. She suffered so much. Why did he do that to my mom? Why did he take her from us? I never seen someone in so much pain and never complain about it. She was the strongest person I knew. Only one time did I hear her say it hurt. My Dad and I were trying to get her back on the sofa and we couldn't get her sitting back far enough, so we had to keep picking her up and putting her down and I said "Dad, I think we are hurting her." And Mom said "You're hurting me, you're hurting me" and that was the only time she ever said anything negative in front of me. I can't believe God put her through that. They say she is in a better place now, but I know if she had the choice of being there and being here with us, she would choose us. One of the things she taught me was, family is the most important thing.

I didn't realize that my mom was sick until January. She started to wear sweaters and always covering up with a blanket. Then I started to notice how thin she was. I started begging her to go to the doctor. But as always she didn't want to go to the doctors. One day I was talking to her on the phone and I was asking her to please go to the doctor and I told her maybe all you need are vitamins (Brenda came up with that one). Then she said, "I don't need to go to the doctor. I already know what's wrong." And I said, "Well, what's wrong?" And she goes, "It's a secret and if I told you it wouldn't be a secret anymore." After some pleading with her she told me she believed it was emphysema. And I started crying and I told her, "I don't want you to be sick, Mom." And she said she didn't want to be sick either, but there was nothing she could do about it. So that day at work I searched the internet to find out about it and what treatments they had. Printed it up and brought it home to her. I really didn't think she would read it, but she did. Well finally she made an appointment to see the doctor.

When she went to the doctor they had to admit her right away. On Thursday (doctors' appointment day) they said yes she did have it. Well on Friday they found a tumor. I couldn't believe it. I just wanted to scream at God. I didn't want it to be true. It felt like a nightmare, like my whole world was coming to an end. It was horrible. Six months to live.

Why would God do this to my mom? She is a wonderful person. She didn't deserve this. She is beautiful and smart. She'd do anything for you, always there when you needed her. Not only did she raise her five kids, but also some of her grandkids. Why? I didn't think I would be able to handle watching my Mom fade away and I didn't think I would be able to help her in anyway. I proved myself wrong. Whether it was helping her change her clothes or holding her hand while watching TV or while she took her oxygen, I'm glad I was there for her. At times she would do strange things, like always trying to fix the napkins or trying to drown the big ice cubes in the glass cause she thought that they were eating the little ice cubes (the little ones were actually melting). Hospice gave us this booklet to read, it read like instructions, death instructions. My Mom followed it to a tee. One of the instructions was that your loved one would withdraw from everyone, and she did. My Mom stopped talking with us and she would sit on the sofa and pick at her nightgown. I wanted so badly to talk to her and I could think of nothing to say, everything seemed so unimportant. I wish I knew what she was thinking and if she was scared. She completed the instruction list, except the last one where it says your loved one will come back at the end to say goodbye. She never did that.

On Thursday night, I hugged my mom, and she held me and I just started crying and I could stop and she was hugging me and patting me on the back. My poor mom is dying and she is comforting me, like letting me know everything will be alright. I just wanted her to get better. Later on I had gone in my room and I heard her go to bed. I didn't tell my mom goodnight or I love you. I wanted to go in her room so bad and tell her but she hadn't been sleeping well so I just prayed she would make it through the night. I was so thankful when I woke up and she was still here. I got ready for work, and then I kiss her and told her I love you and then went to work. At around three-thirty pm my cell phone rang. I don't normally answer my phone at work and I figured it was Chucky (the only time the phone rings is when he calls). I turned around and picked up the phone and started to shut it off, when I noticed the Caller ID said "Mom". So I answered the phone and it was Brenda. She said, "Becky, you need to come home now". I told her I'm on my way. I didn't know if my mom was still here or not. I sped all the way home. It seemed like it took forever. When I did get there the drive was full of cars, I just parked in the street right in front the house next to Summer's car. I ran to the front door and when I opened the door I heard Brenda say, "Mom, Becky's here." I threw my stuff on the floor and ran to my mom's side. She was really bad off. I took her hand and told her "I love you", I don't know how many times. I told her she is a wonderful mother, the best mom, I couldn't ask for better. And that I would miss her so much. I would rub my hand across her hair. I just kept crying I think it was Brenda who came and rubbed my back to console me.

My mom was the greatest person I ever known. Nothing seemed real until I could share it with her. Everyday I would come home and she would ask me how work was and we'd sit there and talk while I ate my dinner. Any time I had a question I knew to ask her because of how smart she was. If she didn't know the answer she would have you go get the dictionary or encyclopedia, and have you read to her the answer, that way you both learned. I always thought that to be so intelligent. We used to play Scrabble a lot, it took me forever to finally be able to beat her. Out of the hundreds times we have played, I probably only won five times. She was the best person you could have ever known. Mom would always say when someone would say how beautiful her children were, "Thank you, they take after me." She was a lot of fun to be around, when we were kids and we would start barking like a dog, my Mom would join in and start barking, too.

I miss her more and more every day I just want her to come home.

She used to try and each me this dance called the Charleston. I could never get it. I couldn't get my ankles to move fast enough. But it sure was a cool dance to see her do. Some time when I would ask her to do it and she would say she too old, but I would tell her she wasn't and she would get up and boogie down. Now old people can't move like that, she's thirty six years my senior and I can't even move like that. I remember one time we went to L.J.'s New Years Eve party. And my mom asked me to dance, it was so great, that’s a memory I will treasure forever. Another time when we were bringing my grandma to W.V. we had stopped at a gas station and I told mom I was thirsty and she bought me lemonade in a can. Well, after she got in the car she asks me for a sip and when she took the can she said, "You sure were thirsty". I had drunk half the can in a matter of minutes. And usually it would have taken about an hour or more for me to finish.

She used to tell me she felt bad because she was so much older than me. She said that it was unfair to me because she didn't understand what I was going though because times were so much different when she was growing up. But like I would tell her, I disagree and I couldn't have asked for a better mom. I was truly blessed when it came to parents, I couldn't have been loved more. I remember growing up Mom would tell me not to carry the puppy or kitten around to much because I would give it worms. Well, one day Laura was carrying around her puppy or kitten and I told her she was going to give it worms. Brenda told me not to lie to her, that it wasn't true. So I told her to ask mom. Well, to my shocking surprise Mom said it wasn't true. And I said well, why did you always tell me that when I was growing up, and she said cause I carried them around too much and they needed a break. When I started getting older and going out. I would be wearing a pair of jeans, with a giant t-shirt, and a even bigger flannel over that and I would ask my Mom every time before I went out how I looked and she would always say I looked beautiful. I used to call home pretty much everyday from work just to tell her hi. I would ask her how my animals were doing and she would tell me what the dog and cats were up to. And she would then say if she had been in to see Toby Keith (the iguana), and if she had I would ask her “well, what is he doing?” and she would tell me “he’s in there playing his little guitar and singing". That is why I know have a picture of my lizard wearing a cowboy hat with a little guitar propped up beside him, cause of what my Mom used to say.

One of my biggest hobbies is gardening. My earliest memory of gardening is planting seeds in the front garden with Mom. By the time I was 15 or 16 years old, I was doing the gardening by myself. After I had worked all day in the yard, she and I would walk around the yard so she could see what I had done. She would always tell me what a good job I had done and how pretty everything looked. After she died, I didn't garden as much, it didn't seem important anymore since she wasn't there to enjoy it. After two years, I'm starting to get back into it. I know she wouldn't want me to stop because of her.

I remember one time I had this bad dream about mom and dad. All of a sudden dad was trying to kill me and so I ran to the phone to call the police and mom walk in and told me everything was alright so I hung up the phone. And then mom turn evil and started beating me with a Mardi gras bead (you know the long one). (Remember this is a dream. I woke up and I was so messed up by this I couldn't go to sleep. So I got up and told mom about this dream. And then I laid my head on her lap and she stroked my hair till I feel asleep. I was probably between 18 and 19 years old at this time. I have always felt like a little girl, never really a woman around her. I know I am 30 and a lot of things should be different in my life that aren't, but what a lot of people don't understand is I really like living with my parents, sure I could get an apartment, I make good money for working with a credit union, but I love living here. To me, this is home. And I always felt that if I did get an apartment mom would tell me get rid of it. Because of the fact I still would have been over there all the time. I loved going home and even though everybody else ate dinner, mom would sit at table with me and ask me how my day went. When she got sick and we knew about, she started going in the living room when I got home from work, I always took it as she was prepared me for how it was going to be. That one day I would come home and she wouldn't be there and she would never come back, and then I would eat alone, without her there to ask me how my day was. And now like the last time I got promoted it was like no big deal because she wasn't there for me to share it with, no one to say they are proud of me. Mom was my confidant she was my friend I discussed this things with her and now all I do is just hold it in. I just want her back.

Written by Rebecca Jones Doster in Kenner, Louisiana, 2005.