The last few days have been unreal. My Mother is dying. We have been given a private room at the Nursing Home and I have slept on a roll up bed near her for the last two nights. I woke from a fitful and interrupted sleep the first night telling myself I couldn't continue to sleep here. But at 5 am she cried out and my presence made a difference. Then today, although her communication with us and ours to her has been a hundred times 'I love you', she said, "please don't leave me alone." So I'm staying. I am surprised to acknowledge that I consider comforting her a high privilege.
Despite her four children a her good husband traveling on business, my daughter Jessica arrived yesterday and stayed until mid-afternoon today. That's her hand entwined with her grandmother's. We cried so deeply. My Mother is almost 99 but it still feels too soon. We will miss her so much it hurts so much already. I watched Jess caress her and calm her and kiss her and I know yet again that I have raised a wonderful wonderful daughter.
And I'm feeling that my Mother has also raised a wonderful wonderful daughter. I am proud of myself.
The staff here feels that the process of dying will not take a week now. They assure me my Mother will remain peaceful and without pain. This morning, around six am, I put my iPhone to her ear and played Perry Como singing "Till the End of Time" and the soundtrack of "Some Enchanted Evening." And then Bing Crosby's "White Christmas." Her eyes were closed and she didn't move. We held hands and my tears fell. These tears are so much about love I almost welcome them.
My Mother has every reason to be proud of her life and her passage. She spoke my daughter's name. She kissed JB, she told my sister-in-law "I love you four times." She told us she is comfortable.
And me: she struggled but she got it out: "Karen, I've always loved you. I worried about you because I love you so much. I love you. I love you."
There will be heartbreak in this family. But there will be no regrets.
What a blessing.