Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Graciously going out



My mother is dying.

I'm working valiantly on accepting the invitation to stay in the moment with her. These are, after all, the last moments I will share with her forever. And for real this time. I realized that writing would help me in that pursuit, since it is ultimately how I process my life and my thoughts most effectively.
The act of dying is such a mystery to me. Some  of us, like Glenn, complain of nausea and just die without warning, within an hour.  Others, like Momo come up to the precipice so often, and despite numerous health issues, step away from the ledge and continue on with life. That is, until this time. This time she will step over and ascend to a place of glory. It is no longer if, but when. Even she wants to know when.  When? She asks me with her eyes, or occasionally in a whisper. And when is the hardest question. My daughter Emily, used the analogy of watching a pot of water boil. You want those bubbles to appear, but when they do, the shock will still be palpable. Emily wisely told me to try to enjoy the water while waiting. Stay in the moment.

I think however, that my mother is fortunate to be going out more slowly, hard as it is. Hers has been a life well- lived , and an orderly death, of almost 90 years. The tears that have been shed from near and afar are witness to that. There is simply nothing left to say but goodbye.
 And thank you.

The hospice company left a little booklet, with helpful hints I guess, about the end. One thing that it said was to talk about what you will miss most about your loved one. I realized and told her, that I would miss having someone love me so unconditionally. Recently she always greeted me with, " I'm so glad you're here. I just like to look at you." Thank you for loving me so completely Mom, through all the journeys of my life so far. And some of mine haven't always been easy for you, I know.

My mom is one of the most gracious women I've ever known. She has spent her life inviting people into her life, and then treating them with warmth and love. She is going out in the same way she lived her life; graciously. Yesterday, while still verbal, she asked me if I didn't want a glass of wine. I declined for many reasons, not the least of which was that it was 11:00 in the morning. (Snarky friends decline your jokes:))But that is Momo. How can I serve YOU?

My friend Sally just called; of all my Brainerd friends, she knows my mother the best. She said
"Your mother is a grand lady."
Indeed she is. She is very grand.
In the moment. On the journey.