Monday, October 28, 2013

A Post I Don't Know How To Write

First Jack-O-Lantern of the season.  A family effort, carved with love.

When I held her hand and tried to feel her energy two days ago, it buzzed in my bones.

Last night, stillness.

My mother is gone.

I was holding her hand, and singing Iris Dement's Let The Mystery Be when she stopped breathing. When I finished that, not ready to let go of that moment, I sang Butch Hancock's If You Were A Bluebird one more time.  When I got to the line "you'd be flying home," she took one last breath.

And then she was gone.

She slipped away peacefully, just as she had wanted.  The struggling sounds she had been making with each breath earlier in the day had quieted when I began to sing.  I'd gone through many songs before I noticed her breaths slowing. As understanding settled in, my phone buzzed in my lap... my dad sent a picture of Mom's beloved critters, Pepper and Jewels. Kelly responded to his text uncharacteristically quickly...all of their presences were had come together in that moment, and I knew this was her moment.  And she took it.

My friend Liz called just then, too -though I didn't answer for obvious reasons... Liz and I have now unwittingly contacted each other during two births and a death-and not nearly enough in between.

There was a relief in her passing, to be honest.  Relief in the form of devastation.  She had been totally lucid the day before, moreso than she had in a long while, and during that time she made it clear that she was ready.  Then she went to sleep, and if she woke, it wasn't to this plane.  I was scared because she didn't rouse to swallow the pills that would hold her pain at bay.  I was scared because there was a clerical error that meant we had no liquid morphine to ease her suffering.  I was scared because the nurse we called to rectify the situation was harsh and insinuated that she was in pain and would be for days on end. I was scared because I didn't know if mom was trapped, or merely loosening her grip on her physical being.  So while Kelly had dashed to get the medicine to provide her with comfort, I sat with her, and held her, and sang.  I was relieved to see her muscles relax.  I was relieved to see her begin to calm, and I was devastated, and relieved, to see her letting go, escaping the cage her body had become.

The last thing she did before she closed her eyes was to laugh with her oldest friend, her daughters, and to hug each of her grandchildren.

I found this on the living room floor after she had left us.

I cannot begin to describe the deep, primal despair that has taken up residence in my heart.  My brain won't let me touch it yet.  I know it is there, I can feel it, and I know its gonna hit me like a tidal wave and paralyze me...but for now I'm sitting in a clearing, listening to the stillness, trying to breath through the surreality I've landed in before the storm of grief fully hits.