Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Party

I backed to the side of the room and sat in a chair alone so I could watch the crowd. Groups of two, three, four and more were clustered together. I smiled to see the gestures, laughs, hugs and excited talking. Mom was missing a fine party.

The first person to arrive was unknown to me -- or so I thought. I went over to introduce myself and she said "Hello, I'm Mrs. B, Ed's mother. I didn't know your mother. I saw the announcement in the newspaper and came to see you."

She is 91 years old and a hoot! At age 84 she had cataract surgery on both eyes so she could continue to drive, which she still does. She remembered things I had long forgotten from the days her son and I had been in the same classes in high school. She told me about her son and I gave her a card with my email address so he can contact me. We haven't seen or heard from one another since June of 1965. Thanks for coming, Mrs. B. You're an inspiration to me.

It was as I was sitting alone that I saw a group of five come in. I looked toward my sister and saw her stand and begin to cry from surprise and gratitude. The five visitors came for her. They were employees from the nursing home and had driven forty or fifty miles for her and for Mom.

The day was filled with surprises brought by family, neighbors, teachers and friends from more than 30 years ago.

I know death is supposed to be sad but I won't remember it this way. I'll remember this as a party and I'll remember the little involuntary laugh that I experienced on Tuesday. We were sitting around the bed watching and listening as each breath became more labored, more shallow and more infrequent. Someone said "she's gone" as my sisters cried quietly. It was then that her chest heaved and she took another and yet another audible breath and I laughed. Mom always was stubborn and pushed back when pressured. Even at the end, she was was going to decide when it was over.

Mom, thanks for the final laugh and for this party. I've added them to other good memories that you gave me.


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Your description of the final breaths is all very familiar. My condolences redgardless.

4/07/2007 05:40:00 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

My father in law waited until his wife left the room to make a cup of tea. I think her presence had been holding him here.

My condolences for you loss. My congratulations for your ability to experience it in such a positive way.

4/07/2007 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger Dragonfly Shaman said...

I am able understand what it feels like to loose a parent. My father passed away last month at the age of 53. I appreciate the words you chose to describe your experience and honor your mother. Thank you.

4/07/2007 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger Alex Pendragon said...

In retrospect I am rather sad that I allowed my Mother to pass away in the hospital, when she could have just as easily did it at home in the company of all who loved her, rather than just me, her only son.

4/07/2007 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger arcolaura said...

Thinking of you. I'm glad that you have a laugh to remember.

4/07/2007 08:00:00 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

bit by bit I realise, Times of sadness i need my mothers eyes

4/13/2007 05:20:00 PM  

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