8:32 am 7/11/17
Yesterday I wrote, “…I don’t know when soon is. The nurses have been saying for days that my mom will die soon. But this soon concept seems to be a bit elusive. Is soon days? Is it weeks? It can’t be months, can it?”
This morning “soon” is defined. My mom passed away yesterday, 6 hours after I wrote those sentiments. It was a bit of surprise as I thought we were looking at days, and I feared we were looking at weeks, but it wasn’t meant to be. Soon came at approximately 6:00 pm, while Dennis and I were driving to see her on the same roads I wrote about yesterday, which is the perfect ending to a very long story. As a writer I couldn’t have scripted it better.
Yesterday morning when I went to see Mom, she was adamant that I not return in the evening. She truly wanted me to go about with my day-to-day life and not “run back and forth” to see her as she put it.
I told her I would be back, because I wanted to check in and make sure that she was okay and didn’t need anything. She regained enough consciousness and energy to tell me that I was so stubborn, and I always had been. I never would listen to she her.
I told her not to scold me as I was just trying to look out for her. She said she’d scold me if she wanted because she was still my mother. She even laughed. So did I. For a few moments we felt normal again.
It was a good-natured scolding, but it also had a strong vein of truth running through it. I am stubborn and so was she. We are cut from the same cloth, as the cliche’ says, and ours has been a challenging relationship throughout my life. I didn’t appreciate her trying to control my life from time I was about 16, and she didn’t appreciate me trying control hers after my father died and she needed help. We loved eachother, but we challenged each other, too, in ways no other human being on this earth could do.
I laughed at her comments, and I agreed with her that I was stubborn. I told her that I would still see her again that night.
But I didn’t.
This morning it occurred to me that she found one last way to get her way. The irony of her passing while I was literally driving to see her isn’t lost on me.
If she’s in a place where she’s aware of what is going on down here on earth, I know she’s chuckling at getting her own way one last time.
I am sad at her passing, of course. And it will take me awhile to process this new world without parents that I’m now living in.
Most of all, though, there is an immense sense of relief and of peace. Our final journey, hers and mine, the one that started almost a month ago when she became sick, the most difficult journey, I think, of either of our lives, is over.
Mom is no longer suffering, physically or emotionally. My responsibility and the dread of not knowing if I was doing the right things for her, is done. For the first time since I was 25 and I had my son, I’m not responsible for another human being. That’s going to take some getting used to.
I went out Chinese food for lunch yesterday. This was the fortune that I received in my fortune cookie. I thought it was very appropriate given the past few weeks.
And so, as my next journey begins in this new phase of life, I think I will start it by doing just that. Taking a good long rest. It’s been a long summer.
9:33 am 7/11/17