The Long Goodbye
I am writing the blog post I have been dreading. Dreading it even though it has been 10 years in the making.
My Mother passed away on January 19th, 2015. She left us peacefully with my Dad at her side, exactly where he had been for their 63 years of marriage. He was not scheduled to visit her at her nursing home until that night as my sister and I were going to visit Mum on that particular Monday afternoon. But, he put his coat on that morning and told my sister he was going to see her. I got the call from my sister an hour later that she was gone. A friend told me my Dad knew because their hearts were talking to each other. I believe that is true.
In February 2004, my Mother had a massive stroke that robbed her of her speech and left her partially paralyzed. I often wondered why God let her survive so many years in a nursing home. Surely it would have been kinder to let her go to heaven immediately after the stroke. For me, the long goodbye was kinder.
We spent countless hours with her at the nursing home but since her stroke she was never the same. She wasn't the same person to me although she still had her stubbornness, flair for the dramatic, and sense of humor. How devastating it would have been for me to lose her 10 years ago when she was able to walk, talk, and go shopping with me.
I did not deliver a eulogy at her funeral but if I had I would have mentioned some favorite memories. At first, it was difficult to think of anything more than her illness. It had changed all of our lives for so long but recently more memories are breaking through. Happy memories or at least something more than the stroke and her years at the nursing home. Here are a few memories:
She was the worst photographer in the world. She once cut me completely out of my prom picture.
She let me stay up until 8:00 when I was in first grade. Batman was on and she let me stay up to watch it. I was the only kid in my class who could stay up to watch it.
We used to go shopping every Saturday afternoon but first we went to Brigham's and consumed grilled cheese sandwiches and hot fudge sundaes with coffee ice cream.
She and I used to love to watch spy shows together. Probably why I am addicted to them now.
She let me drink coffee at age 9. She used to add lots of milk and sugar to it but it made me feel all grown up.
She loved animals her entire life. We bought a puppy in the parking lot of a shopping mall from a woman who had a basket of puppies.. We named him Murphy. We already had a cat at home which had arrived via the pro shop of my Dad's golf course. My Dad brought the cat home as a kitten for us to play with thinking it would go back to the pro shop in a few hours. My Mother told him he couldn't let us play with it and then take it away. The kitten was with us for 9 happy years.
She was the most stylish woman I know as evidenced by the old photos we picked out for the slideshow at her wake. I may post some of them later. Both of my parents were so elegant and well dressed.
Anyway, I know my Mum is heaven now. She can walk and talk and she is with her mom and her dad and her friends. As my sister's friend said, "Her entrance into Heaven is joyfully anticipated". I find comfort in that.
We've received such support from family and friends it has blown me away. I want to thank all those angels on earth who have made a difficult time easier. There are too many to name.
I am back to work and will soon return to blogging about my New England adventures. I hope you will come along for the ride.