I wasn't going to write my mom's origin story I had spent a summer blogging about our family and trying to make Barstool fans laugh. I had no more stories left in me.
But one day, I had a spark of inspiration and the words started to pour out of my keyboard faster than Doug Wanoy composing a Tweet about trans athletes.
When I was finished, I sat down next to her and let her read it for approval. She read it twice and we laughed and laughed together.
"Do you think people will like it, Lauren?"
"Will they laugh?"
Please read her origin story first in order to understand her death story.
In early 2023, my husband and I announced that we would be adopting a baby.
One would think that that event would epitomize the year as the “biggest thing to happen” in the Bauer-Barrett family.
But, alas, it just wasn’t so.
For my mother, Jonette Bauer, although a true momager, was about to depart this earth in what is now dubbed the Coma Incident and which officially cemented its place as the “Biggest Thing to EVER Happen” to our family.
I’ll never forget that day. It was a glorious summer day. I was still reveling in the bliss of summer break when we decided to take a family trip to a cabin in the mountains with friends to celebrate the end of summer and my birthday.
I was deliciously sipping on a glass of Rosé, my first glass of the day in the hot tub overlooking the mountains, wistfully discussing our upcoming adoption and baby. Soaking it all in figuratively and literally.
Suddenly the vibrations of my IPhone rattled me out of my dreamlike state.
It was my father.
“Lauren. It's your mother. Please pray for her,” he said.
My Mom's End Story
*Some events in this story have been exaggerated or slightly altered for dramatic effect.*
My mom, although very active and healthy (She had worked out religiously and had eaten her oatmeal and fruit salad every day), had always been lackluster in the genetics and luck departments.
While that might sound harsh to you, when you come from or marry into a family who is constantly boasting the best traps at the body bar, never missing a day of work because Doug has willed away every sickness and cold he's ever had, or surviving brain aneurysm surgery like I did 4 years ago, lack of luck with your health will get you ridiculed.
And my poor mom was no exception. When we would all pull up our health charts to review with one another, we would scoff at her long list of procedures and surgeries that oozed with her trying to be unlucky and unhealthy like her breast cancer, skin cancer, three brain aneurysms, potential risk for dementia, fractured shoulders, broken wrists, and osteoporosis compared to one of our “Going to The Hospital for Taking Too Many Weed Gummies” or "Going to the Hospital Because She Couldn't Sleep for One Night" in a game of Who Has the Best Medical Records.
“I wonder who is going to die first?” we would say dripping with sarcasm.
HOWEVER, before you start to pity poor Mrs. Bauer, know this, my mother would not be deterred and was tenacious in her own sense, especially when it came to her precious family.
Despite her lack of ability in both genetics and luck she made up for that in her desire to always do what was best for us even if it was a tad bit extreme.
She would come to every cross country meet of mine in college and insist that I bring my dirty laundry, so she could wash, fold, and iron it and give it back a week later at the next meet. So I would have to lug my dirty laundry bag onto the bus and embarrassingly hand it over to my mommy.
She called every apartment complex in New York City to make sure Kyle had a place to live after he "forgot" that he had to be out of his apartment in two days.
She meticulously would iron and set out my dad's clothes everyday because he's colorblind.
She would bemoan all her prayers and worries about us to God as He tried to inject quips that we were all doing all right.
"I know your son tried cocaine once but at least he's 'no Cain.' Ha Ha. Get it? Cain killed Abel out of jealousy. Did you find that funny, Jonette? Jonette? You still there?"
But God's comment was brushed away only to be reminded that Kyle might have denounced Him, the Holy Father, once on the Yak (he didn't).
For she was our biggest cheerleader and ultimately the most selfless person to us at that time.
And like any good Mom who loves their family, there bounds to come a time when she has a killer idea (pun intended) that would literally kill her.
And for our mother that time was the Coma Incident.
My Mom Has to Have Brain Aneurysm Surgery
My mom found out she had a third brain aneurysm in the spring of 2023, and no one in the family, including her, thought anything of it.
And, little did they know, they also began to live and breath like she was dying over the next few months.
"Lauren, we just scheduled our Bucket List trip to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons with my friends for June. Lauren, Kyle's girlfriend just texted me. I think she really likes me. I like her too. I'm so glad we are all going to be together in New Jersey in July. This is all the best news.."
"Mom, I just told you that we are adopting. Can we speak about this later? I need to finalize the papers."
But as March turned into April and April into May and June, my mom began to pivot. If you know my mom, you know that she can pivot better than any Olympic figure skater.
"I'm worried that if I don't schedule this brain aneurysm soon then I won't be able to help Kyle with his move to Chicago"
"I'm concerned that your in-laws are going to have to watch your son while I recover from the surgery. I need to schedule it before you go back to work full time, so I'm not a burden to them."
"Lauren, I scheduled the surgery for August 18. It's your birthday weekend, but we will do something when I get home from the hospital...."
The Coma Incident
Well, as the story goes, my mom did, in fact, have brain aneurysm surgery on August 18.
Things went well from the start for our precious mom. She was on the phone with Gap before the surgery trying to get them to let her purchase something on sale before the doctor came in. She had the surgery and came out of it. She sent my dad home and told him to have fun but not too much fun.
But once again my mom pivoted faster than my husband running into Sophia Rosing at the University of Kentucky.
Mom: "What's this? Where am I?"
God: "You're in a coma. Something happened after the surgery. This is the place between life and death that you read about when people have near-death experiences."
Mom: "It's so peaceful here. Ohh...can you tell me things about my family?"
God: "Yes, I can show you some things."
God's visions were pinging my mom's dopamine levels and making her say "I'm dead" more than...well, she was actually about to be.
But then I got The Call on August 18 and she performed better than Ding Ning at the 2016 Summer Olympics with the way she was pinging and ponging back and forth.
“Lauren. It's your mother. Please pray for her,”
My wine hazed brain wasn't going to fall for this again. "What's going on? Did she relapse again and start listening to ANUS?"
Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that my mom was in a coma as we spoke and that she might not come out of it.
Meanwhile back at the hospital:
Mom: "So, how are my son, daughter, and husband in the next few months? I constantly pray for them."
God: "Well, there will be some news about Obama that is going to come out soon that might get your husband who goes by Doug on Twitter into a little bit of trouble. He's looking at a potential racism and homophobic felony."
Mom: "Oh dear. And my daughter? She's going back to school soon. I don't want her to relapse."
God: "Relapse on what?"
Mom: "Well, she tries to do too much at the start of the school year. The last few years she has had some health issues at the start of the school year. Teaching. Coaching. Now, she's adopting. Is she going to be stressed?"
God: "She'll get stressed out. But...."
Mom: "I won't have that. What about my son?"
God: "Ohh...good. He goes to this guy named Stu's house next week and takes off his shirt. People go WILD."
Mom: "WHAT! That's unacceptable. What did I tell him about staying humble and kind? That's it. I'm going to have to die. My daughter will get to take some time off work, and she can use my death to help raise money for her adoption. My husband will take a break from Tweeting, and my son won't go to Stu's house and maybe he'll go back to church. Perfect. This settles it. I'm dying, God."
God: "Whoa, there. That's extreme. You must REALLY love your family."
It didn't make sense, but it should come as no surprise to me that out of all unlucky, unhealthy factors that people have to endure (*Side note* I do know that people suffer a lot worse), of course, my mom would be the one to have this happen.
"So, they're saying that the surgery went fine and then something happened and now she might not live?"
"That's what they're saying. But I don't know what to believe."
"Get my aunt on the phone. She goads. Plain and simple. She'll get them to talk. "
Just then Drake's God's Plan blasted from the speakers of the IPhone playing our cabin weekend playlist.
Meanwhile back at the hospital:
Mom: "What's that loud noise? I just heard my daughter speaking. Goads plain. Goads plan. God's plan. Of course, God's plan! You're right. It's your plan. Not mine. Who was I kidding? My family would be so sad if I die, and my grandson won't understand."
We got the news shortly before midnight that she was stable and in no immediate danger. She wasn't going to die! What a relief.
Meanwhile back at the hospital:
God: "Well, remember when you all were at the beach last week and your grandson kept asking you out of the blue, "Grandma, are you in pain?"
Mom: "Yeah, we thought it was funny. He kept asking. We didn't know why.
God: "Do you remember what you said?"
Mom: "Yeah...I said, 'No, silly, I'm not in pain.' "
God: "You were indirectly letting him know that you were going to be okay. And he'll have a childlike understanding that will help him deal with what happens."
Mom: "Wow. What about the rest of my family?"
God: "They will be in deep pain for a while. They will always miss you so much, but I'll be with them along the way, and you will too. They'll always sense your presence and love. We'll send them signs. We will work through your grandson too. He'll say and do miraculous things that will help ease their grief. They'll learn to grow around their pain and one day, they will start thriving again. But they will carry you with them forever."
Mom: "Thank you. I think I'm ready. I feel so at peace."
God: "You have free will, but there are a few more things that I need to reveal to you before we move forward."
God here shows my mom why she has to die.
Mom: "Yes, you're right. I see it all clearly now. I'm going to have to die. But can I wait for them to all get here?"
God: "Of course."
Mom: "And one more thing. Can I die before my daughter's birthday?"
God: "We can make that happen. Here, take my hand. Be not afraid. I go before you always. Come follow me, and I will give you rest."
And the rest, as they say, is history...
Thank you for allowing me to write something that was funny, dark, sad, spiritual, and philosophical.
I will never stop talking and writing about my mom..
She had an impactful influence on my life, and I'll always share about her when given the opportunity and the words come pouring out.
Buy me a coffee if you liked this blog.
And if you're a parent, check out my parenting guide Now What? Mindful Parenting Checklists for Life’s Hard Moments.