The end was rough, my friends. Her breathing became labored and raspy, and then gurgly as her lungs shut down and filled with fluid. Her body was working so hard to keep going. Near the end, I begged her to let go. I turned to all corners of the room and looked up in the ceiling and told her that it was okay to go, that this was too hard and that it had to be better on the other side.
I quoted some poetry and prose that seemed meaningful to me and that I knew she liked. I held her hand. I stroked her brow. I kissed her. I promised her that we would never forget her and that we would love her forever.
I gave her the liquid morphine. My pop asked me to do all the medicating. He called the hospice people and got instructions from them regarding the morphine and the atropine. We gave her the extra morphine. They upped the dose. We gave her yet more.
My pop and I were both there most of the time, but taking turns going to the bathroom or making a cup of tea. I went to the kitchen for my tea run. I sat down at the dining room table and put my head down. I may have been out of the room for three or four minutes. Then my pop came down the hall and called to me. I went into the bedroom with him. She was gone. He said that her breathing slowed down and became uneven. She took a couple of breaths and then a long pause. Another breath. And then no more. I wonder if she was waiting for me to be out of the room when she finally gave up the bodily life.
He wanted me to check to see if I could find a pulse. I couldn't. Not in her wrist or neck or axially. Her eyes were vacant. We sat with her for several minutes. Then Pop said that he had to go get my brother. He walked over to my brother's house (it's only 7 blocks) and back. While he was gone I kept checking for a pulse even knowing that she was gone. I held her hand. I told her how much I love her, even though she already knew that.
Pop and I dressed her in her favorite pajamas and put her favorite slippers on her feet. I crossed her legs. She looked relaxed and stylish. While we were waiting for the undertakers (or whatever they are called) I sat on the bed with her and read. I stroked her forehead and gave her the occasional kiss and told her, again, how much I love her and how much I'll miss her. The undertakers came and took the empty shell of my mother away. The three of us stood on the front porch and waved until the van turned the corner.
It doesn't seem possible that she's gone. Her vivid presence, her intelligence, wit, warmth and love can't be gone from this world. My mum was the heart of our family. And the reigning matriarch of our extended family. I know with my bodily senses that her corporeal self is gone, but her spirit, her essence, the vibration of her can't be gone from this world. At least, not as long as those of us who knew and loved her are still living.
Not sure what to do now. I'm not really taking it in yet. I guess that happens over time.
Thanks for all of your love and support during this time, dear blog friends. I haven't shared this much of the journey with anyone else.