Last night, after four days of sleep deprivation, as well as physical and emotional fatigue, Hospice supplied us with “crisis care” for the twelve hours beginning at eight last evening. My mother’s sisters all returned to their homes after four days camped beside Mom. Yesterday was one of the worst days of my life…and in relation to the last six months in particular, that’s no small proclamation. It was 2:00 Tuesday morning when we awoke to what we thought was “the end”. I will save her some dignity by keeping the details elusive, but coffee was brewed and we began our day with about ninety minutes of sleep to our credit.
She seemed more lucid yesterday than all the days since she’s been home. She was responsive. The cadence of “I love you” was echoed. Our eyes met and I knew she was seeing me, not merely looking through me. It tugged at the binds of hope, this reemergence of the woman I know…but I know it isn’t in the cards. The hope hurts. She’s been adamant from the beginning that she doesn’t want people around here at the end. Last night, as her loving family relaxed into slumber, Mom slipped into a coma. No witnesses. Just as she wanted it to be.
She looks so lovely, so precious, as I gaze at her dear face. There is no pain etched there today. I nuzzled her nose with mine and shared her pillow while I cried. I wrapped my arms around her and held her close, embracing her body with life, maybe hoping I could daisy chain her to my own vitality. I was given a kingly gift in Mom…few have such fortune with their allotment of guardians. My mother and I live within one another. A part of her will always live in me…just as a part of me is dying right now. I cupped her head gently to my chest as I swayed to and fro. The ache made the air thick, the room blurry, and out of the silence, without plan, I sang. It was the song she sang to me as I fed on the nourishment of her love while I was so new and unfamiliar with this thing called life. The first two lines seemed to complete the circle of our relationship, and I will look for her waiting for me just inside the gates of Heaven.
Where are you going, my baby, my own?
And now, we wait for the angels.