Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Bye Mom.

Peggy Lewis Page
December 29, 1942 - April 25, 2014

My loving mother
I'm at work typing this now. I can't be sad, at least not yet because looking at that picture always has and continues to make me smile. She really was awesome, in the truest sense of that word.
I think I was seven and I wanted my hair like that!

Baby Peggy
Her death was brought on by advanced COPD. She had bacterial pneumonia and ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome). She was on a ventilator and within a few days the doctor said that it was basically doing all her breathing for her, that she was unable to breathe on her own. As her healthcare power of attorney, I was given an option to subject her to a tracheostomy and peg tube. She's had those before, when she was fourteen years younger and the COPD was less advanced. She was able to get off of both within a three-week time frame. But this time around, ARDS was now present, and both the trach and the peg tube would have been permanent. She would have been unable to talk or eat. Walking had become laborious, and without a second carpal tunnel surgery, she was facing the loss of the use of her dominant hand. She would have been placed in a nursing facility that was equipped to care for trach patients, as she would not have been able to live in a residential environment any longer. She was already on four liters of oxygen. 
Crowned Miss Junior at Bluefield State College

As her daughter, I knew the choice I was going to make before the doctor finished explaining everything. My mother and I had this conversation many times. She also spoke about this with her sisters, so I had the full support of my family when I told them to take her off the ventilator. I'd be lying if I said that was a hard decision; it wasn't. I was simply doing what my mother told me to do. Once I made the decision, the doctor, who had been extremely objective throughout the consult, breathed a sigh of relief. He said he felt that was the best decision and that he would not have subjected his own mother to that type of existence, with her myriad conditions. Besides, I've always been slightly afraid of my diminutive mother. She never raised a hand to me, but I know she would have tried everything she could have to kick my ass if I subjected her to that treatment. 
Hot Momma!

She never really regained consciousness. She was mildly sedated due to the ventilator, so every now and then, she'd wake up and try to talk and gesture. She made faces and shook her head. Before we knew the full extent of her condition, my aunt told her she was getting better, mostly we knew aside from the respiratory condition, that nothing else was life threatening. My mother shook her head no. She tried to say my daughter's name, or at least that's what we've decided she was trying to say. She mouthed the word home to me. I repeated it back to her and she shook her head yes. I don't know if she's home, but I do believe she is at peace. Love you Momma.

She loved teaching.
Peggy was born on December 29, 1942 in Blacksburg, VA, to John and Lucille Page, the youngest of three girls. Peggy graduated from Park Central High School in 1960. She moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where she attended Apex Beauty School. She worked there for a year before deciding to return to her hometown of Bluefield, West Virginia, where she enrolled at Bluefield State College. During her college years she was very active in civil rights and public service. She was initiated into the Beta Pi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority in 1964. Upon receiving her degree in 1966, she moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where she began teaching elementary school with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. She married Valmore Samuel Jr. in 1967 and welcomed their daughter that following year.
Mom & Dad in happier times.

Peggy spent many years working in public service. She actively supported the civil rights movement by participating in sit-ins and boycotts as a college student and as a member of the local NAACP chapter of Bluefield, WVA. She was a member and officer in the Cleveland Chapter of the Junior Women’s Civic League. She also served in many positions as a member of Mt. Nebo Baptist Church, including children’s choir co-director.
My 31st Birthday. She rarely took photos after that.

Peggy retired from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District in 1997, where she taught as a first grade teacher for 30 years. She had a passion for the creative arts and was a talented painter and crocheter. She was an avid bowler and a voracious reader and loved crossword puzzles. 
My first birthday.

Her parents preceded her in death. Peggy is survived by her daughter Valerie Rebecca Samuel (Beckie); granddaughter Hailey Carter and grandson Zachary Brooks; sisters Lois Page Roberts (LeRoy-deceased) and Betty Page Miller (Moreno); niece Monica Reese (William); nephews Carl Bradford, Mark Bradford and Scott Salaam; grandniece Lauren Reese. She is fondly remembered by a host of friends and extended family.