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Mom's Last Call

Mark Goulette, North California, USA
June 2000

Iguess I could say it all started late in 1992.

After serving for six years in the Marine Corps, I was due to get discharged at the end of December, 1992. My plans for my life after military service were to go to school, get my degree, and try to make a life for myself. First things first though, I needed to go back home and see my mom and dad again.

Dad was doing ok, but mom wasn't doing good at all. She had been in and out of the hospital on nearly a regular basis for several years now, with respiratory and heart problems, and during the later parts of 1992 I had been home on leave several times because of mom's illness.
I had been stationed in Hawaii the last four years of my service, and when you get ready to get out, they send you to California to complete your processing.

The night before I was to get discharged, I can say, I lived it up. The next morning I got stopped, and spent the morning in jail for a DUI. After I got released, I went and got my final paper work and then went back up to my house that I was staying in in Los Angeles until my scheduled court appointment nearly a month and a half away.
It was about two weeks later that I got a call from my father telling me I needed to come home now, as mom was in the hospital again, and wasn't expected to make it. A quick trip to the courthouse and an explanation of my situation had me on my way the next day for the drive home.

I got home on the 23rd of January, 1993. Mom had been in the hospital for three days now. Much work had to be done as the family needed to be contacted and services and such needed to be arranged. Within only two days, every member from my family was there. That first night I was home I went to see mom, and she didn't look good. She could look at me, and acknowledge me, but couldn't talk or move much. I could see the pain in her eyes.
The afternoon of the fourth day, me and my family went to see mom together, giving her the one wish that she had asked for before her death. That was to see all six of her children together for the very first time. She got her wish.
Later that night my sister Beth went back to the hospital and said that mom looked so much more comfortable and at peace. She was able to write a word on a small white board the hospital had given her before she fell asleep for the night. That word was "rsst". We all knew that was "rest". Beth had said to us later after she returned, that she knew mom had left that night.

At about 4 o'clock the next morning, we got a call from the hospital that mom was fading fast. I held her hand until it was all over, and she was pronounced dead at 8:00 that morning. This was the 25th of January. As all things like this go, the family grieved and mourned about her passing, then everybody began the journey home. As for me, I stayed home with dad, as it was still about a month before I started school, and he needed me there. I got a temporary job to put some cash in my pocket, then headed to school at the end of February.

I got moved into my new apartment and found a new job. Once I got my phone hooked up, I made all the usual calls to let everybody know where I was at, and that everything was going ok for me. My schedule was tough, but I managed. I went to school from 7 in the morning to noon, and worked from 3 in the afternoon to midnight, five days a week. I never got many messages, and was surprised at the ones I did get. I came home one night to find several on my machine, most of them were from family just saying hi. After listening to them, I deleted them all. I stayed up for a while longer watching TV, and got ready to go to bed for the night. The next day was Saturday, so I could sleep in if I wanted too.
Out of pure habit, every time I would walk into my kitchen, I would look at my answering machine to check for messages. I think I got that way just because I never got many calls. I did just that, and got a drink of water. Once again, on leaving the kitchen, I looked at the machine, but this time something was different. According to the machine, there were eight messages on the tape. This was odd because I had gotten no calls, I was sitting next to the phone the whole time, and it was only about a minute since I had looked at it on the way into the kitchen. I thought that maybe something was wrong with the machine, so I pushed play just out of curiosity. What I heard next scared the hell out of me. There was a low mumbling voice on the tape, each message about 15 seconds long. I had no clue as to how this could have happened, so I played them over and over again. After several times, a stark realization came to me. It was a woman's voice, and sounded like someone who wanted to talk, but just couldn't form the words. It was then that I realized that it was my mother's voice on the tape. She had sounded like that when I had seen her in the hospital before she died. I was so freaked out by the whole thing I called my sister to tell her about it. She just listened quietly for me to tell her what had happened, then told me that something had happened to her as well.

She was also up watching TV, and her daughter was laying on the floor between her and the TV. She noticed something in the kitchen of her house, and when she turned to look, she saw mom walk through the living room, between her and her daughter, and disappear. She said she had looked at her and smiled. When I asked her just when this happened, she told me about 10 minutes before I called! That means that both events happened at exactly the same time!

It took me a long time to get over that night. I never got any weird messages again, and my sister never saw mom again either. All I can say is that mom wanted to check up on us one last time before she left for good.

Mark Goulette, North California, USA
00:00 / 01:04
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