Just a thought… True love doesn’t mean being inseparable. It means being separated and nothing changes. [Author Unknown]
Well, this is a big day on our family’s calendar: this beautiful woman was born February 4, 1933. He she is at 72. And this is not going to be a sad journal, I promise you!
Mom would have been 86 today; she died in nearby Palm Desert six years ago yesterday. Actually, we’re pretty sure she left us on the evening of February 1st when a brain aneurysm took her down, quickly, at the home she and Dad were renting for the winter. They’d just finished a great day with my sister Cindy and her husband; they’d had dinner while watching a M*A*S*H rerun and she suddenly complained of an awful headache, how hot she felt, and boom. She was on the floor.
The hospital was good enough to keep Mom on life support until three of her four daughters (youngest Leslie didn’t have a current passport at the time) could be there to say our good-byes as they took her off life support. How grateful we were to play soft music and say our goodbyes with six roses in her lovely hands (one for each child, one for her and one for Dad).
I write of Mom’s passing in Mourning Has Broken in terms of having been visited by death before in our lives; the circle of life and the expected passing of a parent is the way things are supposed to go. But it was what happened when she was taken off the breathing apparatus which had sustained those last hours of “life” that was remarkable. Here’s some of that story.
The mechanical clicking that had accompanied her aided breathing had stopped, and all we heard above our sniffles and quiet words to our mother were the slowing beeps as the numbers on a machine registering her heartbeat continued to drop. Aware that the staff was waiting to come in and prepare the private room for another patient, we steeled ourselves for the final goodbyes. Down, down, down the numbers dropped: 98 . . . 82 . . . 60 . . .
When the numbers had gotten down near the teens, my sisters began to gather up their jackets, the speakers, their purses. I sat at the bedside and rubbed mom’s arm, speaking softly to her all the while. As the beeping pattern changed, I looked up.
52 . . . 60 . . . 72 . . . 88 . . . the numbers began to climb! What was thissome kind of miracle? She’s not quite ready to go yet, I said hopefully. But when I stopped rubbing her arm, the numbers and her heart rate slowly began to drop again. Was Mom sending a signal that she knew we were therethat she wasn’t going to be leaving us all?
As lovely as that would have been to believe, I suspect the truth is that she really did go on her way when she fell to the floor in her bathrobe at home. What we were witnessing was some kind of static-electric reaction to me rubbing her skin. Of course that was it . . . wasn’t it?
How I wish that Mom was around to be a part of this book journey that we have undertaken, but I remain grateful (the sentiment of gratitude arises again and again in this book) that she didn’t live to endure the passing of her granddaughter and, one year later, her first grandson. There are always things for which we can be thankful, and certainly that is one.
We’re also grateful that she filled out a book of memories for her grandchildren to cherish. I’m not sure where that book is now, but hope I have it somewhere at home on a bookshelf and that it wasn’t ruined in a flood that hit Lauren and Phil’s home a few months after her passing. I’ll have to look for it. Here’s one of Mom’s humorous entries.
It’s a great thing, writing down some thoughts (including the lighthearted ones) by which your descendants may one day know you. I highly recommend this – just get a pen you like and get writing, or poke someone you love to do this for you and your own children! We were able to use some of mom’s entries for her grandkids to read at her “Momorial.” A wonderful thing, indeed.
Have yourself a gentle Monday and thank you for stopping by. Tomorrow, word of another writing adventure that you might enjoy taking a look at. This time, Rob’s not on the hook to edit; I’m just writing away like a mad fiend! How much fun is this? (Lots!)