After my mother left to dance with the Ancestors amongst the stars, we wept. My sister #2 pressed the call nurse button and informed the staff of our mother’s death. The staff called the mortician who had to get up and dressed since it was in the wee hours of the morning. I was too wrapped up in woe to see her soul leave her cooling body.
We wandered into the hallway and then returned to the room to begin packing her paraphernalia. Mom was in the nursing home for three weeks, probably had a stroke and began to downgrade during the next week. I was not informed since Sister #1 was in town. They moved Mom to the Hospice Residence expecting that she would live for two more weeks. Sister #2 is a professional hospice nurse; she knows the signs of impending transition. The afternoon of the move, our mom declined quickly so that is when I got a call.
Mom couldn’t talk anymore due to extreme dehydration and she didn’t open her eyes. I know that she could hear me because she did respond to my voice. She flashed the “I love you” American Sign Language sign during her final hours. I would always sign it as I departed my parent’s home and drove away. Watching her die was the most horrific experience of my life.
The cordial mortician arrived about an hour after mom “passed” (what a stupid euphemism). He was gentle and explained the process. We said good-bye to Mum and went to my Dad’s house. The body was taken to the mortuary the embalming process was performed. I had to pull over and cry a couple times during the drive. Sat in stunned silence in the living room as people began to fall asleep in their chairs. After an hour, Sister #2 left for home and I went to our cousin’s house. I’ve often stayed at Betty’s home and she is a sweetheart.
I managed to sleep for a couple hours and then returned to Dad’s place. We choked down lunch and then went to the mortuary to make the final arrangements. The obituary was completed and Dad picked out the service cards, burial vault, and signed paperwork. It took about an hour and we returned to the house. Everybody was exhausted and sad. Sisters were polite but cold and I stayed quiet. That evening I went to Betty’s house. I called my friend Roopa, whose dad died a couple weeks ago, and wept. I didn’t intend to burden her with my sorrow but she was sympathetic.
The next morning I got up, had breakfast at Dad’s, and departed for my home. It took all my willpower to not pull over and turn on the waterworks. I kept singing the song, “These are a few of my favorite things.” I was utterly wiped out by the time I arrived at my residence. I began calling friends to let them know about the funeral arrangements. I left a message for my boss. The day was a blur of pain.
I have been vacillating between tears, numb exhaustion, physical pain, and wailing. Grief feels like a heavy lead body suit is pressing down on me. I’m tired but restless. I manage to sleep for about four hours a night. It is difficult to concentrate – not even able to distract myself by reading a book.
She flies on gossamer wings.
Copyright © 2013 by Ima B. Musing; All rights reserved