My mother died at my feet.
Her ruined heart was somehow still beating, but there was no brain activity.
Despite CPR and an ambulance arriving quickly, the woman my sister and I saw later in the hospital was not really Mom.
So three days later, absolutely assured that her state was irreversible, Kristi and I made the decision that no children should ever have to face.
Turn off the machines.
As sad as that sounds, though, I know that Momís last conscious thought was a good one.
It was mid-December, and we were heading out to pick up a Christmas tree. Mom joked about getting some pink thing ó which she wouldnít have done in a million years.
We laughed about shocking the neighbors.
I had moved back home and was writing magazine material, because Kris was married and now a couple of hours away, Mom was alone and her eyesight had begun to fail.
Still, we had a lot of fun ó my mother was keen and sharp-witted. Great company, always great company.
Anyway, the day of the Christmas tree...
My room was downstairs and I had to go change for our search.
A few minutes later, I was back. And found her lying on the floor of the bedroom.
EACH YEAR when Motherís Day comes around, I recall both of my parents.
They were completely different, but everything about me clearly came from one or the other.
Looking back, their combined DNA almost had to produce a writer and journalist, a sometimes irresponsible dreamer, and a guy with passions for sports and travel.
My dad grew up as a street kid in San Francisco, an only child who had to take care of his own mom because his father died before my dad was a year old.
Dad was the most likeable person Iíve ever known ó which didnít stop him paying his way through accounting school by shooting pool in a dicey neighborhood.
He wanted better for me, but ...
During what were supposed to be my serious college years, I made a living playing liarís dice in some of the same saloons my dad had frequented.
Hey, he was my hero.
Meantime, my mom emigrated at age 10 from Scotland, one of eight children in a devout Catholic family.
Kristi and I wound up with a clever but strict mother (who couldnít cook) and a twinkling, streetwise father (who not only could cook, but beat you at anything), and that crazy combination clicked ó with just a few bumps for us kids.
Our folks wanted great grades, so we spent endless hours in our rooms, ordered to do homework until our eyes watered.
To say that our parents set the bar high for our future achievements would be a laughable understatement.
And yet ...
Lord, it was a wonderful household ó because both my parents had fantastic senses of humor, and as a group of four we could laugh at just about anything.
I lost my dad to complications from a car accident when I was 26, and my mom collapsed in search of that Christmas tree right after my 38th birthday.
I still share private jokes with both.
It always happens on Motherís Day, which will make my dad laugh once again.
He gets it.
Letís see if itís the same this Sunday.
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Steve Cameron is a columnist for The Press. A Brand New Day appears Wednesday through Saturday each week.