This was written very early Tuesday morning.
Tonight I received a phone call. I dropped everything and time stood still. I started planning in my head and talking really fast to my husband as I threw on my clothes. I wasn’t really paying attention during the phone call I guess, because I had to call my mom back and ask her to repeat what she had said.
Again I talked fast and the thoughts just whirled around in my head. I called my dad. I called my aunt who had called my husband who had told me to call my mom. I know, it’s confusing. That is how it happened. I thought about calling my sister, but she has little ones and the phone would wake them. She will get the phone call in the morning, but so will everyone else.
Yesterday I went to the care home to visit my nana, but I never guessed it would be the last time that I saw her breathe. I never guessed that I wouldn’t hear her speak again. I never guessed a lot of things. The time between yesterday and this evening feels like an eternity. When I think about today and everything in it, all the little stresses and the big stresses and all that was held in between. None of it matters. Everything has changed. In one moment.
One frantic moment. Through tears. Put on your brave face. Catch your breath. The car ride was full of tears and surprise that the call came so soon. We thought we had more time. One more moment.
I stroked her hair and wiped away the tears yesterday and today her tears are no more. It’s funny because I have been waiting for this call. For months. We all have. Wondering if each phone call will be “the one”. And this caught me. I knew, but I didn’t really.
I had already decided we would spend this week as a family just hanging out (don’t expect a lot of posts) because I expected that it would be soon and we would need to be there for each other.
There were tears in the car and lots of questions. Why so soon? Why so quickly? Was it peaceful? Where did she go? How do we know for sure? I don’t have all the answers, but I gave what I had. Which, for now, seemed to be enough.
The nurses were waiting. Whatever you need, anything, let us know. Well, what could we need? I didn’t even know what I would ask for if I could. The nurse pulled the curtain back. She looked so peaceful. He skin looked wonderful. My mom burst into tears. It was so final. I kept waiting for her chest to rise and fall with breath. It didn’t. She looked relaxed. More so than the last time I visited her, which was only yesterday.
A million years have passed since yesterday. Well, maybe not quite that many, but life happened. Over and over again. It feels like forever since I saw her, when it was only a few short hours ago.
It is bitter sweet. Sometimes she wasn’t very nice, but the last several months she was a different person. We think they gave her nice pills. If they did, they were working. My mom got to see a different side of her, with the old side poking through every once in awhile just to keep you on your toes.
We sat. We chatted. It felt good. It felt kind of weird, but mostly good. Mom cried. Then she cried some more. She spent most of today crying, earlier. She wasn’t there because she was at home resting because she had a headache from crying. But it’s okay. It really is okay.
It was time to go. No one told us to, but it was time. Then came the search for the teeth. The ones that weren’t on the night stand or in the bathroom or in the drawer of the nightstand. One last look through the curtain. You want to hold that thought in your memory.
Now, off to find the teeth. The nurse didn’t know where the teeth were, but she would look. She would send them with her. It’s funny what you latch on to and what is important in those moments. It’s not really funny.
When it comes to the end, nothing else matters and you just want to go home.
As mom was dropping me off, I noticed a small bouquet of flowers attached to the top of our garbage bin. Now who would leave a perfectly good bouquet of deep red carnations still wrapped in the plastic sleeve? I brought the flowers inside and put them in some water.
Shortly after I arrived home to the quiet house, I started writing out my thoughts (these ones you are reading). Then twins woke and needed to nurse. They nestled in to nurse, while I thought about life and death and the questions my mom asked that went unanswered.
How does the spirit get out? Is she floating in the air somewhere? I was reminded of the scripture, “to be absent with the body is to be present with the Lord” and it comes from 2 Corinthians 5:8 (King James Version).
My nana passed between 11pm and 12am on Monday night.
Please allow me to share my reflections with you as our family goes through this grieving process.