~~my journal 2/18/2020 – “death is so sudden, even tho we were waiting. I wish I’d taken time last night – – but no, I just wanted to finish washing dishes and mom is always so needy. I’m glad I checked on her. She said she felt strange and should we worry about it. I said no, we shouldn’t worry about anything. We said goodnight. I patted her hand as she reached for mine. Why couldn’t I have taken a few minutes to sit with her? Why did I not know it would be the last time we’d speak on earth?”
I knew she was gone when I saw her. I’ve seen death enough to know. But it surprised me anyway. Now, for days, a non-stop movie trailer has run thru my mind of all the things I should have said but didn’t. Things I wish I’d never even thought, let alone said. Wishing I wasn’t always in such a stupid hurry to get everything done. Because all the things done don’t matter one bit when your people are gone.
We were different. She raised two girls in a quiet, tastefully decorated home, made us wear dresses, act like ladies and permed our frustratingly straight hair. I raised four boys in a mildly chaotic home where blue jeans and flannel shirts were fine with me and getting out the door without food stuck in someone’s hair was a win. My hair has been perm free my entire adult life. I took mom for her last one a couple months ago.
We were the same. We loved red licorice and peppermint mocha lattes. Shopping for fabric and shoes. Going out for lunch. She taught me to knit and I tried to teach it back to her last year when she forgot how to cast on. She loved watching Bobby Schuller’s Hour of Power on Saturday evening. That was our church together. Then I’d go to my own on Sunday morning, much more my style. I wonder if I’ll be able to watch Home Town on HGTV Monday night without tears? It was our favorite.
She never could stand pain, physical or emotional. She wasn’t a fighter. Ever. And I can’t understand giving in to anything that wants to take you out.
Even her last day I prattled on like an over zealous cheer leader to “fight to stay on your feet, Mom!”. I reminded her of her own father and how he battled till the end, believing “your strength will equal your days”. It says so in Deuteronomy 33:25. He believed that. He lived that.
That last day she did get on her feet. She wanted to look nice for Ian’s visit so I set her hair. Later she asked me to comb it out for her, which she had never, ever done. She looked so pretty.
Maybe that was meant to be our last moment of mother-daughter connection and I just didn’t realize it.
We’ve shared coffee and breakfast every morning here for 5 1/2 years. She’s not on the other side of the table anymore.
But she is on the other side.
The years have not been easy, but I don’t regret a single one. My parents welcomed me to life on my first day. I got to be with each of them on their last. It was a privilege.
At the end of her last day, she climbed into bed one last time and touched my hand one last time.
She closed her eyes on earth and woke up in eternity. She did it with no fanfare, with peace and looking like the lovely lady she always was. I’m proud of my beautiful mother.
And her strength equaled her days.