My mom is dying. My mother is dying. Mom is dying. How many ways can I say this? I'll never have another conversation with her again. She'll never again tell me how proud she is of me, how proud she is of all three of her children. She'll never again say when I leave, "Don't let anyone grab you." Mom, I'm not going to let anyone grab me. When I call, she'll never again say in that lilting voice, "Well, HI, Mary Margaret," like she's really happy to hear from me. I haven't even begun to think of all the things that will never 'be' again.
I flew to Seattle this afternoon. Suddenly decided it was time at 3:00 p.m. after talking with both Kate and John. So I packed and we left at 4:00 and I was on the plane 15 minutes before take-off time at 5:25 p.m. Kate's been carrying the whole load for these last weeks. It was Kate who got Mom to the hospital a week ago Sunday evening after she'd cried out with great agitation for two days, "Mama, mama. Papa, papa. I want to go home." Kate said to me yesterday, "She's gone to the other side."
Mom was in the hospital for just over a week and then Mom's doctors (including Kate - how must that have been? Hard.) decided that there was nothing they could do for her medically. Hospice was called in and Mom is back at the adult family home. This is it.
And then there is Dad, bearing up, forlorn and vulnerable. He waited up for me tonight, though I didn't arrive until nearly 9:00 p.m. I'll get myself back there tomorrow morning to be with him. Kate's gone on to bed. She thinks Mom will make it through the night.
So what can I say right now? Very little. Mom is dying. She's really already gone from us. When will the memories flood in? What will we say at her memorial service? Who among us will recount her accomplishments, speak of her beauty and talents and occasions like her 'Monday lunches' in Houston when the extended family gathered at her table. I could always count on seeing my siblings and eating well at Monday lunches. Those lunches went on for years. Something we counted on.
Mom, this is hard. Though I'm kind of glad you're off at last with one foot in another place. These last few years have not been easy on you. When you couldn't finish a sentence, a thought and were so frustrated. Couldn't read a newspaper, but put a piece of junk mail in and out of the pocket of your walker a dozen times in half an hour because that was all you could think of to do.
Several years ago, I remember you and Dad saying, "We never thought it would come to this." And then it did.
That photo at the top of this post is of Mom at our family picnic in Discovery Park over Labor Day weekend. Just a month ago. She wasn't quite with it, but when I asked her if she was enjoying the picnic, the outdoors and all her great grandchildren running to and fro with kites and parasols, she assured me she was.