The afternoon is quiet. Mom is in deep sleep. Dad’s had a nap. Kate is working on a puzzle that Laura bought this morning at Bartell’s. We set up a card table in the middle of the room and we’ve settled in. Except that now I am writing this post and Kate is on her own with the puzzle.
We are keeping watch and keeping Dad company. And every so often I break into stories from long ago about the great aunts in Lisbon, the enthusiasms of Gramma T, Christmas time in Aruba, whatever comes up as we sit here listening to Mom’s breathing. Which is changing, Kate notes. Longer deeper breaths with greater time in between them. That’s a sign.
Kate says, “It takes a long time, doesn’t it?”
When Caroline arrived this morning, Mom’s eyes were open and she’d begun to call out for help, for her mama, mama. Kate and I would alternately take her hands and look into her eyes. She seemed to see us. She was agitated, kept looking over my shoulder – at something or someone? – and then she’d look back to me, asking for help in that kind of almost incoherent voice that is language, but could slip into sounds.
Caroline says she heard Mom call me by time twice. Mary Margaret. Mary Margaret. How did I miss hearing her words at the moment when I was holding her hands, looking into her eyes and quietly saying, “It’s OK. Yes. Yes.” I am crestfallen. She recognized Kate too and called, “Kitty.”
Kate says folks rally for a bit. More and more agitated and we called for the nurse to ascertain if Mom needed a bit more morphine. She’s not taken real sustanance since the hospital and that is days ago.
Caroline left after noon to let a plumber in to repair an overloaded non-functioning toilet, Laura left soon after to see a friend. Dad is scanning today’s New York Times. Kate is working on the puzzle Laura bought for us this morning at Bartell’s. Mom is asleep and peaceful. I find I am not terrific with puzzles though it’s a great thing to do in these circumstances. The sun is shining out of doors. Out of doors is the world. This room is a world too.