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.