I just realized it's been 24 hours since Mother died and I haven't had a moment until now to sit down although I've been checking my comments all day long and if I don't have the sweetest and best community in the world here, I don't know who does.
Thank you all. I mean it. You've all given me something in your own way that I have taken to my heart and cherished. God damn. I mean it.
Sorry. I seem to have become incredibly profane in the last 24 hours and perhaps that's because my mother is dead so who cares?
You'll have to forgive me. I'm somewhat exhausted and as you know if you've gone through a death, the mind gets a bit...spacey.
What happened was that yesterday Mother was actually in PT and collapsed. She was not responsive and had only a very thready, weak pulse. Now my mother, as we all know, has been begging and demanding to die for quite some time and she has been adamantly vocal about not being coded or resuscitated in just such an event and both of the charge nurses at the Assisted Living and I had discussed this issue IN DEPTH and yet, somehow, Mother's cherished DNR form was not with the rest of her papers in the health center but were still somewhere in another building and so legally, of course, they had to call a code which they did and the ambulance was called and they did all the fancy stuff, meanwhile calling me to tell me what was going on.
You with me?
They're coding my mother and there's not one damn thing I can do about it and so Mr. Moon and I raced to the hospital and before we got there I spoke to the ER charge nurse and gave her the story and she said to get there as soon as possible because as soon as I could vocally tell them to stop, they would.
And they did.
And they pulled all the tubes and unhooked all the monitors and we went in and it was quite obvious that my mother was essentially dead (once you've seen death's mask you will recognize it anywhere) even though she was breathing.
I'd called Chuck, my brother who lives in town, and he was on his way so I held my mother's hand and stroked her hair and I told her that she'd done a good job, I was proud of her and I listed the names of all her children and grandchildren and great grandchildren and I told her that we all loved her and that she would live on in us and that it was okay to go on.
Which was pretty unnecessary at that point but you know- you have to do these things. It's your job, it's your responsibility. I did not tell her to go to the light because, well, that sounded ridiculous.
Chuck got there and he had his moments with her and then he and Mr. Moon left the room and I stayed with her until her breathing well and truly stopped and it was fine, I wasn't freaked in the least, death isn't nearly as weird as you think it will be but it is emotional and I swear that at one point I could almost see and definitely feel the swirl of it all as the world rearranged itself as it has to do when a life comes or a life goes. It is a tiny thing but it is very real.
I observed that and then when I was sure she was gone in all ways, I called in the nurse and she checked and then she called in the doctor and he checked and he gave a time of death and that was that.
I'm sure there's more I'm not remembering but that is the essence of it all.
I called my brother who lives in Washington and told him and I called Hank and he called his siblings and then because life is too strange to believe, the Canadians were due to land in an hour and a half. So. Mr. Moon took me to Lily's house and Hank and May came too and he dropped me off and went and picked up the visitors and took them to dinner while we played with the boys and drank beer and ate pizza and watched Gibson dance and got as many hugs and kisses as the law allows and held each other and thank god for my family. We felt so bad that Jessie wasn't there because she loved her Granny so and her Granny loved her too but she's in Asheville with her man and she'll be down soon and then we'll all be together. My brother Russell is coming up from Central Florida on Monday and I will be so glad to see him.
The Canadians did spend the night and I would be lying if I told you that wasn't a bit bizarre. But the Dog Island trip was canceled and they took off today in the vehicle that Mr. Moon had bought them and we drove to town to go through Mother's papers to look and see if there was a prepaid funeral home plan because I had a vague memory that there was and yes, she had made one a long time ago so with two phone calls we got that process going and her body released from the hospital. It felt so odd and wrong to leave her body there last night but...this is how we do it these days.
Last night when we finally went to bed I could not sleep and so I got up and got my journal that I just started writing in and I took up a pen and I sat down and wrote for pages and pages, just complete uncensored everything and after I was done with that, I went back to bed and slept. I don't know what I would have done if I couldn't have written it all out. It soothed the images and thoughts in my head. But one of the things I wrote was that I can't even imagine how many bodies have been laid out in the parlor of this house, whatever room the parlor used to be, and there was a goodness and a rightness in that way of doing things. People would come by and visit and bring food and although I have no desire for that, not really, and who wants to look at a dead body? I've never understood the open casket thing but there should be some ritual. Sitting Shiva. Maybe that. I don't know.
Well, we're not doing that. We are not wailing or covering mirrors or gnashing our teeth. We are going through files and looking for burial plans (or cremation plans, in Mother's case) and the will. The will. Trying to remember if there is a safe deposit box and if so, where is the key? and I think I have it somewhere and Lily went with us today for all of that and we went to lunch at a Mexican restaurant and the salsa was terrific.
We went by Mother's room tonight and I got her jewelry out of there. We'll have to deal with all of those things. The last of the last of her possessions. I want none of it except for perhaps some of the earrings I gave her and the one thing in the room that makes my heart happy which is a picture of sunflowers with smiling faces painted by Frank Baisden, an artist I've discussed here before and which has always, always hung in my mother's room. He gave it to her when we moved to Roseland as a housewarming present.
The rest of it- well, we have to go through it and we will, and maybe this child will want this and that child will want that and that is as it should be. And the grandchildren, of course. She loved her grandchildren.
It rained last night. It started coming down when we were all sitting on the porch and for a moment we all grew quiet and it was perhaps the absolute most beautiful, holy sound I'd ever heard. I was grateful for that. That sound of rain falling on earth.
And today the wind has whipped and it is growing cold again and these early buds are going to be nipped but as I have pointed out, I have no control over any of that.
I can only accept and I do. I am trying to accept all that happened not only yesterday but every day that came before in my life and the way it all was and every feeling that comes up in my heart and in my mind, I am trying to just feel and not judge or put it away somewhere where it will grow and come back to bite me. Trying. It's a confusing, emotional time, to say the least, and as I told Mother before she quit breathing, I am very sorry that our relationship was so hard and so complex but it was and it would be a fool's errand to try and deny that so I acknowledge it and I acknowledged it to her because it was the truth and she knew it and I will always be sorry it was so.
But I did what I could and she did not die alone or with strangers and it was fitting somehow, that it all happened as it did although I will always be pissed about that missing DNR form. Always. But I have to come to terms with that, too, if not peace.
My mother is dead and therefore my world is different and we shall see what that's like.
I bought a cherry pie at Publix tonight and I am going to eat some. That is my plan for now. My mother is dead but I am not and I am going to eat some pie.
We go on until, as I say, we do not.
Yours truly and so much love...Ms. Moon