My mother died Tuesday morning. My brother and I had traveled to see her and she knew us, beamed when she saw us and throughout the afternoon was able to communicate her needs to us.
Her dementia was far advanced, but my mother was able to say in halting sentences that she had to go and was afraid. Of course we assured her that we would stay by her side. Within 12 hours, Sunday morning, she had started her journey with rapid breathing, finally entering into a semi-conscious state.
Hospice came and started oxygen and wrote up orders for morphine which depresses breathing and of course deals with pain. My brother and I stayed with our mother every moment for the next two days, sleeping in her room and sitting by her side. Often we talked to her to assure her that we were there. Mouth care is important for someone in this condition and we helped with that. The nurses at the senior home came in frequently to check on our mother. Our dear caregiver was also there at her side.
The process was difficult, but eased by the numbers of aids and nurses from her home who knocked gently on the door and came in to say goodbye.
Spring is slowly coming to the midwest. My mother loved flowers and trees and in her last months was cheered by the sight of one bright yellow blossom or a single white rose. New life will come into the world that she loved and we know that her life, so fully lived, will bless us and guide us all the days of our lives.
Writer Christopher Buckley, son of William F. Buckley Jr. and Patricia Buckley wrote The Last Goodbyes, a book about losing his parents. When asked whether that bond ends with death, he said: It never goes away, and they never go away. Your parents are your ultimate protectors, and no matter what difficulties you’re having with them when they’re alive, you can always pick up the phone and hear their voices. They provide a certain level of comfort—just knowing they’re there. They’re like fire extinguishers mounted on the wall behind glass. You know if it really comes to it, you can break the glass. And now they’re gone.
My father-in-law died one spring. I remember thinking, as I was planting my flower garden, that he would be gone even as the tiny plants I was plunging into the earth grew large, produced flowers—still lived. I know now that often when I plant a garden my mother will be there, in my mind, feeling the warm sun as I do and loving the idea of growth and expansion. She was the flower in my life and what she taught me and the power of her love will keep me growing until it’s my time.
Thanks to jainaj and Madame Kno photostreams