|Myself, Lily, Mom, and Bruce a year before she passed.|
When my dad passed away at age 62, it was a quick trauma. One night, he was alive and well. By the next morning, he was dead on the bathroom floor of a heart attack.
It was a shock. The next few days, with the wake and the funeral, passed by in a blur.
And, I have to admit it, it was easier than when my mom died.
Mom took her time about it. She went into the hospital in early summer and didn't come out until late fall. And when she came out it, it was to go into a facility where she'd be made 'comfortable.'
She never got to come home.
Cancer is a horrible thing.
I remember the summer and fall of Mom's passing in 2007 with heartache...and, oddly enough, gratitude.
Gratitude because I got to say goodbye. I didn't get that chance with my dad.
My sisters and I (and a few other kind, compassionate relatives) spent a lot of time with Mom during her long goodbye. We gathered around her bedside and, I believe, made her know just how much she was loved and cared about. That there was no place we'd rather be other than this hospital room.
Funny thing was, while we were making sure she knew she was loved, she was making sure of the same thing for us.
There are many memories from that time and, although they all reek of disinfectant and sorrow, I'll always be glad I was able to be there.
But the one memory that sticks with me is one toward the end, when my my husband (then partner) came up from Miami (where we lived) to be with us all because we feared the "time" was near.
I can still see that bright, sunny hospital room. Mom was lucky enough to have it to herself. And I remember bringing Bruce in to see Mom. I'd been there with her for weeks, watching her slow, sad decline. At this point, she wasn't all too coherent.
But when I brought Bruce into the room and we neared her bed, Mom held out her hands to us. We each took one.
And Mom said, "I like that."
She couldn't say much at that time. Painkillers and other drugs had dulled both mind and tongue, but that simple gesture of reaching out for us with her hands, holding them tight, and saying, "I like that" will always stay with me as one of my most treasured memories.
Mom, if you're listening, we 'liked that' too. And we miss you every day.