The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living--- Cicero
This is a catharsis entry. It will be posted and saved, though I don't know how long it will be visible. I feel the need (selfish, though it may be) to put this out there for other eyes---as a way of getting the words out without actually speaking them. I don't know how ready I am to "talk" about anything.
Just twenty-four hours ago (give or take a couple of hours, because, who can count the seconds when they bleed into days?), my mother passed away.
And, I still can't wrap my head around the truth of it. For several innocent seconds throughout the day, I would forget-- then the shock of it rolled back through me and I found myself saying, however cold and matter-of-fact it sounds in my mind--- 'my mother is dead.'
I think I've been prepared--- as well as one can be prepared--- for this day for the last few months. When it was becoming clearer, with each visit, that she had given up. I knew it was coming. Mentally and emotionally, she was done. She was just waiting for her poor, battered body to catch up.
It has been a long and unendurable 8 months, in hospitals and rehab centers and nursing facilities--surgery complications, infections, and other unpleasant events, all snow-balled into a cataclysmic storm that became her final tipping point.
There would be brief respites where we were encouraged by her turn-around. But, then the light would leave her eyes, and suddenly there was another surgery---and we were back to square one.
I truly began to wonder exactly how much she could endure.
It was obvious that she was in constant pain. Surely, the human body can only stand so much. But, the doctors were always optimistic---in the practiced way they have of consoling a grief-stricken family member when said family member is convinced of their loved one's imminent departure.
So, we continued to wait and visit...and hope.
Then the time came when she was no longer there. Oh, she was conscious. She might answer your question (perhaps not the way you might expect). She might know who you were or she might think you a much younger version of one of her long-deceased brothers.
She wasn't at the "hospital", even though the daily barrage of medical professionals intruding on her sleep should have been a giveaway. No, she was "home" and the antiseptic-tinged linoleum, running the length of the hospital corridor, led to her kitchen--- and "could we get [her] a yogurt from the fridge?" Yes, momma, I'll get you a yogurt. She falls asleep again before she hears the answer to her question.
The human mind is an amazing thing, truly. In as much as she was suffering physically, she was saved the constant fear and crippling uncertainty of mentally knowing where she was and what little future she had...and most importantly, in what sterile place her last few days would be spent.
When she stopped eating, we knew her days were numbered. Food has always been an integral part of our family life, coming from a long-line of passionate cooks and even more passionate eaters---on both sides of the family. So, when she stopped eating, we knew.
Formula-feedings will do nothing to nourish a body that is bereft of its very soul.
The next few days/weeks will be a roller-coaster of emotions as we sort through what to do next.
My mother was a warm and wonderful person who saw the good in all things. And, though she suffered through quite a bit in her 66 years of life, she was still fair-minded and willing to give even the little that she had to someone who needed it. And, I am proud to call myself, her daughter.
|Mom, age-- early to mid-twenties|
|Mom and a very sleepy me|
|Mom entertaining me, the ever-curious...|