Monday, July 6, 2009

Kara Hubbard, 1932-2009

Late last week, my mom Kara Hubbard slipped into a coma. She had not been well for many years and had a caretaker 40 hours a week. The caretaker Esme called my sister Karla and my brother Michael, and they began to take care of her in what would be her last days. Mom had trouble with her kidneys and fibromyalgia, so making sure she had pain management even in a comatose state was a challenge, but my siblings figured out the best way to manage it. I should also here give credit to Karla's husband Tino, who is soon to complete his training as a nurse, and Michael's wife Janelle, who had helped take care of her own mother Verna for many years until she passed away in 2007. Also assisting with the vigil of this weekend were Karla's son Eli, and my niece Holly and her betrothed Cleavon traveled up from Oakland to pay their last respects. My sister Jenny, who lives out of state, was part of the phone circle keeping folks up to date and making sure we were okay.

It was a great blessing for my mom to move up to Santa Rosa at the end of last year, because Michael and Karla and their families could help give her much more care than I ever could. Still, I missed the regular visits with her a few times a month that were easy for me to do when she lived in Alameda, just a ride on BART and bike from where I lived. Without a car, Santa Rosa was a tough trip for me to manage, but I did go up to visit a few times this year, either renting a car or bumming a ride from a family member.

I'm in the middle of the summer term right now, a very busy time, and I didn't know if I'd be able to visit my mom this weekend. My dad told me he would be going up on Sunday afternoon, so I got all the grading and prep work out of the way that I could join him. Yesterday, I went up to Santa Rosa with my dad and his happy puppy Bailey to spend time with my mom and Karla and Tino and Eli. Karla and Michael were working in shifts, so I didn't get a chance to catch up with my big brother.

I held my mom's hand. I listened to her breathe and placed my hand on her forehead to see if she was too warm or just right. I didn't say much. I really couldn't think of anything important to tell her. I figured she could feel the pressure on her forehead and the feel of my hand in hers and know that someone who loved her was nearby.

This morning at about nine, my mom Kara Hubbard stopped breathing. The troubles of this world are over for her and no one knows for sure what comes next.

I know I miss her now and I will for as long as I live. She sent me many e-mails this year from Santa Rosa, telling me how much she enjoyed reading my blog every morning, that it was almost like having me visit. She liked the silly stuff I wrote, whether I was trying to be funny or trying to be clever.

Right now, I don't feel very funny or very clever. I did well enough teaching today, able to hold it together. But teaching is performance, and writing is rumination. There's only the one thing I can find to ruminate about right now, so I'm going to take a little break and see if I feel funny or clever some time in the hopefully near future.

My mom liked the lolz cats, so I hope she'll forgive me for expressing this sentiment in this particular way.

I has a sad and it gets in the way.


Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Dude, I am so sorry you lost her. She's no longer suffering or in pain and that's good. You kept her entertained through your blog and you were with her near the end and that's good. She'll live on as long as you miss and love her.

Rest in peace Mrs. Hubbard, rest in peace.

Debbie S said...

I'm so sorry Matthew and Karlacita and Jennifer and Michael and Bud. My thoughts are with you. Very sad news.

Anonymous said...

How sad. Our prayers are with you Matty and your family.

FranIAm said...

Oh my dear Matty, I am so sorry for your loss.

Your mom sounds like she was pretty wonderful and I used to think about how she was reading your blog if I left an unseemly comment.

May she rest in peace, free now from pain.

My heart and prayers really go out to you as you navigate feelings and experiences of sadness and loss.

As Dr. Monkey says, she lives in on your love.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

Matty Boy--I am so sorry to hear of your mom's passing. I'm glad you had a good relationship with her and that you got to be with her at the end. I hope your good memories will comfort you in the days to come.


dguzman said...

I'm sorry for your loss, Matty Boy.

Emphyrio said...

My condolences as well...

Margaret Benbow said...

Matty Boy, I'm so sorry to hear of your mother's passing. But it sounds as though she was a good and loving mom, and you'll have many good memories to hold tight.

CDP said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I loved hearing that your mom read my blog sometimes, and everything you've written about her tells me that she was a lovely and graceful person. I'm glad you got to visit and say goodbye.

Abu Scooter said...

When I lived in the Bay Area, I remember joining you on many of your visits with your mom. She was one of the smartest and kindest people I ever had the privilege to me. I am so sorry to hear of this.

Godspeed, Kara Hubbard,

sfmike said...

You look like her, and I envy you the uncomplicated, loving relationship you had with your mother. Good to hear she got out of pain.

The sadness of losing your mom, however, is intense. Good luck getting through the other side.

namastenancy said...

Dear Matty Boy - I am so sorry for your loss. She raised a wonderful family who were able to give back the love and that's no small thing. I'm glad that she's no longer suffering but I am sorry, so sorry for your sorrow.

Lockwood said...

So sorry to hear about your loss... even when you know or think you know it's coming, there's no way to prepare for the pain of the event. I hope you can take this in the way it's intended, but the best thing I was told after the unexpected death of my younger brother a year and a half ago, was "The pain and anger won't go away. They won't even diminish. But they won't bother you as much after a while." Somehow, that seemed both honest and comforting to me. Best wishes.

47th Problem of Euclid said...

Hi Matt:

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss.


Matty Boy said...

I want to thank all the people who have sent their condolences, here in the comments, by e-mail and by phone. It means a lot to me. Having family members around to talk to who are feeling the same things I'm feeling helps a lot, and the experiences of folks who have been through the same kind of loss also make the emptiness easier to bear.

Again, my thanks.

Karen Zipdrive said...

Oh Matty,
I lost my beloved old Mom two years ago and I can feel everything you're feeling, I promise.
She will send you miracles, look for them. I promise that, too.

Big hugs,

Tara Mobley said...

I am so sorry. I just found out today after returning home from being in the mountains with Padre Mickey and The Lovely Mona, so forgive me for just now sending you my sympathy. Kara Hubbard sounds like she was a wonderful woman. I'm glad you got to see her one last time before the end, and I hope that you take your time to mourn.

Many hugs,

trinket999 said...

Hey Matty, I'm terribly sorry for your loss. Even though we've never met and only know each other through online writing, maybe it's because you write so intimately and well that I feel like we almost have. I wish to extend to you my deepest sympathies.

Distributorcap said...


i am so sorry for your loss, i know during this time words can do little to comfort - but please know there are a lot of people thinking of you and wishing all the good they possibly can - may the lolz cats keep your mom smiling forever - she will always be smiling at you



Anonymous said...

It's been several years since I lived in the SF Bay area, but while I lived there, I spent a fair amount of time around Matt and his family members. I shared more than a couple of holiday dinners with them and a few other family get-togethers. Even though I was just another of countless techie immigrants to the Golden State, the Hubbards always welcomed me in as if I were a stray member of the tribe. Living a few thousand miles from home can sometimes be stressful, but spending time with Matt and his kin was always easy and natural. Matt's mom always struck me as a very independent and intrepid soul who instilled the value of intellectual pursuits in her offspring. And once I had spent enough time around this group and got to know them, it was easy to see why this family was comprised of so many quality individuals. They were all cut from exceptional cloth. All my best to Matt and his siblings during this difficult time,

Alan P in SB

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

So sorry for your loss. May your mother rest in Peace and rise in Glory!

Undersquid said...

I'm very sorry, Matty.