The Elephant in the Room
Let’s start by dealing with the elephant in the room — namely death. In the case of my mother, death was both peaceful and merciful. Thankfully, she passed in her sleep, early one morning. That’s the type of exit from this world that so many of us can only dream of, as we shuffle off this mortal coil. Merciful, I say, because even though she was receiving fantastic care, her quality of life had dwindled to the point where I literally mourned for her on a daily basis. I mourned for my mother daily, for years.
She had a couple of lucid days before she passed away, and we spent them together, talking about our relationship, life, and a lot of other things. Deep down, I think we both knew that the time was growing short. We talked a lot about the endgame, fears, and her wishes. She point blankly told me that she was not afraid of death and that she was very tired. We spoke in lowered voices about how things would be OK, and that I had a support system in my life to help me manage the grief. Even as death approached, her largest concern was that she did not want to inflict such pain on me without assurance I would survive. We took a last photo together (the one above), all smiles, on the last day when she was fully lucid.
In the days that followed, my mother became a shadow of herself. In the few lucid moments, we were able to share, she was morose, exhausted, and disappointed in her failing mind and body. But she told me she loved me and that she was proud of me. Though she was sad that I had to leave for the day, I told her that I would come back tomorrow. By tomorrow, though, she was gone.
Losing My Last Parent
I am a man of many fathers, but blessed with two mothers. My father figures are all gone from this world. I had known loss before, watched as the most important men in my life were slowly taken from me by Cancer. I knew at a young age about the agony of a slow, monstrous death. Another of my father figures went suddenly, unexpectedly, and death robbed me of my last male connection to my family. He and I also spent thousands of hours together, father figure, yes, but among the closest friendships, I’ve had in this life.
My “vice-mom”, an aunt that acted as a second mother for my entire life, passed away…