Requiescat In Pace
It's been several months now since I put pen to paper - so to speak.
On May 2nd of this year, at about 10 past 2 in the afternoon, my mother drew her last slow, agonized breath and died. It was warm and breezy outside.
Good, bad and at times indifferent... she was the only mother I ever knew, and though we often got along like oil and water, we loved each other deeply.
I fell apart several days later. I think I stayed in bed for almost a month.
I believe that Nature in her wisdom prepares us as we mature to lose our parents when they get very, very old - that is the natural order of things. Yet some part of me always thought that she'd never die - or that I would die first. I remember when I was 10 years old, then 20, 30 and even still at 40, not being able to imagine what my life would be like without her.
How could she die? How could she?
Oh, yeah - she was 92 years old.
She wasn't really living anymore. She stopped living quite some time ago. Years. Maybe three years... maybe five... maybe more; it's hard to say. The stroke she suffered eight years ago made Swiss cheese of her brain, leaving her with aphasia and apraxia - unable to find the proper words with which to communicate. She tried so hard, as was her way, for a couple of years to beat back the damage and repair what had been destroyed. But - she also had some kind of dementia, most probably related to the stroke, or perhaps she'd had other, smaller strokes later that demented her. After a couple of years of seeming to improve, the wind shifted and slowly she got worse and worse.
She wanted to die. She said so, often, especially in the last two years. (Well, her actual words one time were, "Make me dead." But other times she did manage to find the right words and would say, "Let me die.")
She was so, so tired. In January of this year, she somehow took matters into her own hands and began to will herself to die - she curled up into the fetal position, refusing to make eye contact, refusing to allow any physical contact, refusing sustenance. Refusing, quite simply, very purposefully and very explicitly, not to go on existing any more and to leave this mortal coil forever.
My portion of her ashes rest in a sundial (there's an urn in the column) in my back garden. Sometimes I say "Hi, Mom!" and "Bye, Mom..." as I pass by... it is, in some small way, a comfort.
She has not come to me in dreams the way my father did when he died and I have a feeling that she won't. I have a feeling that she was so ready for whatever comes after death that there will be no dreams. My father was not ready to die at all - he fought hard for his life, flat-lining once and coming back before losing the battle.
May they rest in peace.