30 November 2012

The End

Mom died last Friday night, surrounded by family and friends. We had 38 people at the house for Thanksgiving--Mom's sister, her nieces, their families, her children, and grandchildren. She got to visit with everyone and even sample some of the food, which had become a difficult task in the last days.

The next morning she told me and my sister Kate she wasn't frightened and didn't want to fight anymore. We gathered everyone and stayed with her as she drifted in and out of consciousness. My father-in-law is a deacon, so we called him back from work to lead us in the prayer for the dying. Later in the day, she had a resurgence and sat up and visited with my stepsisters. It is the only part of the day I regret. I knew that it meant the end was near, because it is common for the dying to have a period of alertness before they pass. I should have been more selfish and stayed in the room with her, but I felt like I'd already had so much time living with her that I let others have their time, too. I came in and said, "Hi, Mom!" and she looked at me, clear-eyed and present and said, "Hi, Meg," and I let her enjoy her foot massage.

I was so tired I laid down for about forty-five minutes. My alarm went off just as the Captain came in to tell me he thought she was dying. Everyone came back into the room, including Two's friends Six, Seven, and Eight who had come as soon as he called because she was their Mom Mom, too. She didn't struggle, for which we are forever grateful. Her breathing slowed and then stopped. I whispered, "Say hi to Daddy for me," and kissed her. We prayed and cried.

We're now at the end of what feels like the longest week ever. We had the wake on Tuesday and were truly touched to see so many people from all the different parts of her life who came to pay their respects. The funeral service was lovely because Mom had planned it, right down to the readings and music. Today I said good-bye to my uncle, my cousin, and Kate and her family. Tomorrow, Erin's husband and her girls will leave as well. Erin will stay longer to help me put things back in order, even though things will never truly be right again.

The Captain and I traded nap times today. When I went to wake him I climbed under the covers to lay in the crook of his arm. "Everyone says the service was lovely," he said, "and that's important. But really, at the end of the day, it's just so profoundly sad."

I have been moving forward, not crying, bolstering my family and my mother's friends, speaking clearly as I eulogized, thanking everyone for their support. But tonight as I sharpened a pencil for Five, I realized my mother will never again sharpen two more so we can work on the crossword puzzle together.

I am profoundly sad.


  1. So very sorry for your loss. I am glad you got to share some precious moments like that and were unselfish enough to share her with others. It sounds like she knew she was loved and what great faith and pure example to tell she was not frightened.
    I know it hurts and I wish I could take that away but know that others care. I would hug you if I could(even though we are virtually strangers).
    Feel the pain, let it take its course. You are right, things will never be the same. Welcome to the "New Normal." It stinks and will be different but there are still people to love and life to experience.
    Take care! <3

  2. I'm so, so sorry for your loss.

  3. We've already discussed this, so I'm just going to say that I'm sending love,
    to all of you.

  4. I am so sorry. I cannot imagine what you're going through.

    How amazing though, that her spirit and love pulled so many to her at the end.

    The only thing I can share, since I am lucky enough not to have to face this yet myself, is that I had a little boy in my class years ago whose mom died and he was stone silent and staring. When it came time for PE one day he wouldn't go so I kept him in with me and talked at him until he admitted he was afraid she was haunting him as a ghost. I told him that would be so cool because she loved him so much and wanted to make sure he was okay and that if he thought he saw or heard her he should say hi and tell her about his day. She can hear you, I told him. He actually cracked a smile.
    Two years later his family looked me up to say that I changed his life when I told him that. That they had been afraid he was going under. And here I had thought I was just a well meaning amateur potentially messing with his head since I'm not a grief counselor. What I'm saying, Megan, is she can hear you. So tell her.

    Also, that clear eyed moment when your mom said Hi, Meg...didn't that look tell you everything?

    Love and hugs and my cell # if you want it (email me)

  5. I know there's nothing I can say right now to make anything better, so I'll just offer love and hugs and the other end of the telephone should you need it. <3

  6. Oh baby, of course you're sad. Please do allow yourself to grieve - to cry, to scream, to be angry, whatever the emotion is you are feeling. It's really okay and necessary. I'm so very, very sorry. Hugs and love.

  7. I'm so sorry, Megan. Love and hugs to all of you.

  8. Oh Megan, I'm so sorry. I know how hard this is and it was so generous of you to give others time with her at the end. Unlike Lora (and Julie), I don't know if they are here and can hear us, but I talk to my mom anyway. It seems to help.

    I want you to know that I am here for you and if you want to call me, or want me to call you because that's easier, let me know. Sometimes it's easier to cry to someone else who's gone thru it. And don't be afraid to cry or even sob hard. You may need it to free yourself some. It is very sad.

    Love to you and your family.

  9. Hugs, Megan. Big giant hugs. I wish I was there so you could rest your head on my shoulder and cry. You've kept it all together for so many, for so long, let that release come and just think of all of the wonderful times shared and then smile through your tears and tell your mother again how much you love and miss her. She will always be with you.

  10. Anonymous30.11.12

    I am so very, very sorry for your loss. I could only repeat what the other commenters have already said, so I will only add that you are in my prayers. {hugs}

  11. Cathy M30.11.12

    Megan, I'm so very sorry for your loss. Your mother must have been an exceptional woman whose light drew others to her as evidenced by the people gathered around her at the end of this phase of her existence. I hope you and your family continue to feel her love as time passes.

  12. Thinking of you, sweetie. Everyone else has been so eloquent, just wanted you to know you're in my prayers.

  13. Miss Megan,
    Consider for a moment, yeah, that you can be strong AND cry? Let yourself grieve and let yourself rest.
    Prayers and hugs and all the love,

  14. Megan, I'm so sorry for your loss. My mother died more than 12 years ago and she was thousands of miles away, so I didn't get the chance to say good-bye. It's hard, but it gets better. Instead of thinking about not getting to do more crosswords with her, remember the times you completed them.

    And remember to take care of yourself, which is easy to forget when you're busy taking care of others

  15. So sorry for your loss. So glad you were in a position to take care of her and spend time with her at the end.

  16. I'm so sorry. I have no words. Be kind to yourself.

  17. WEBS. Lots of love and hugs and sympathy. And some more hugs, just because.

    I was so sorry to hear about your mom passing, but I honestly can't think of a better way to go. She was surrounded by those who love her and it sounds like she was at peace. And you got to be there to say goodbye. Many, many blessings there, although none of it makes up for the loss.

    Call me if you need me, or email and we can always chat or Skype. Love you lots,

  18. You are and were an exceptional daughter..evidenced by your selfless,loving care of her..no one could have asked for more. How you opened your home and caring arms for all of us...to come and go as we could,not to mention feeding us. Knowing she would die, never prepares us for the awful VOID when that finally happens. Yeah, we're grateful for her peaceful passing, but our suffering continues. A bright light has gone out.
    Aunt Bette

  19. I'm sorry for your loss, but this post was a lovely tribute.

  20. I'm so sorry for your loss and so thankful you had time together. A wonderful post in honour of your mother. Much love and strength to you.


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