A year ago today, I was watching my mother die. The contrast of spring bringing forth new life everywhere outside of our little room of death (I am eternally grateful for hospice) was almost cruel, but at the same time strangely soothing.
My mother had suffered the previous three years from a blood disorder, breast cancer, and the final frosting on the cake of decline, Alzheimer’s Disease.
I can’t tell you how difficult this ending of my mother’s life was for her, myself and my family (she did not “go gently into that good night”) it is almost too painful to recall, yet my mind keeps recalling it, sometimes blind siding me out of nowhere, like when I’m standing in the check out line at the grocery store.
My mom was a strongly opinionated, stubborn, feisty, funny, loving woman and I miss her terribly. When my sis-in-law said goodbye to her for the last time (my mom was barely lucid towards the last) it was with a “See ya later alligator” not expecting a reply, my sis-in-law was a few steps down the hallway when she heard my mom respond with “After awhile crocodile.”
At my mom’s funeral, a fierce, swirling gust of wind arose out of nowhere (it had been a warm day without a breeze just moments before, and returned to such after) it blew the flowers over and surprised us all standing around her grave site. A message from Mom? I don’t know, but It would have been so like her to let us know that she wasn’t too happy about having to go before she was ready.
My mom loved roses and she was always growing and tending to them. She was in a constant battle with the deer in her neighborhood and her rose bushes had wire fencing wrapped around them to keep the critters out , they looked like little rose bush prisoners. When I returned for a visit a few months after mom’s funeral, the cold weather had arrived. The roses were all gone, except one brilliant beautiful flower that had escaped its confines and grown unusually tall. It is tempting to want to see this as a sign from my mom that all was well, a beautiful reminder of a life well lived, free now from the bondage of life’s wire cage….so that is how I choose to see it. So Mom, I love you and I miss you, and I’ll see you….
after awhile crocodile.
If you would like to donate to a worthy cause to help find solutions to Alzheimers: http://www.alz.org/join_the_cause_donate.asp