Friday, September 21, 2012

A whole new place

Everyone has gone home and back to work now. The flurry of embraces and greetings and visiting and drinking and eating with long lost family and friends has settled down. I leave in an hour, and Daddy will try to get back in his routine–PrimeTimers today, Farmers Market tomorrow, church on Sunday, Sevy's on Monday…

Like everyone who has heard the news of Mother's death, Isabel cried when when she came to clean house this morning. It doesn't surprise me but it continues to amaze me how many people's lives Mother touched so deeply. From Joe who delivers the dry cleaning to Father Huddleston who delivered the homily at her memorial service, her loss has brought everyone to tears.

And her absence leaves a gaping hole in this apartment. I'm so glad Daddy has a full calendar.

This blog will continue, but we've reached the end of one chapter. I just want to say thanks to my sibs for keeping me in touch with Mother's condition, helping me feel I was not so far away. I love you so much!

And I want to say thanks to the people at Faith Hospice, our guides and counsellors during this sad time. Jeanne-Aimee, Mother's primary nurse, brought comfort every time she visited. A remarkably patient listener, she heard all our anecdotes and answered all our questions fully and directly and with compassion. Ardis was our rock, steadily attending Mother while hordes of friends and relatives came and went and laughed and cried and drank champagne. We all leaned on his intelligence and his perspective on Mother's changing condition. At times throughout the days, each of us would stop by his usual place at the dining room table for a personal conference and hour by hour prognosis. Diana, the night nurse, was expert and loving. Both these people became members of our family instantly, and seemed to love Mother's quirks, bossiness and high standards as much as her kindness.

Jeanne-Aimee, Ardis and, to me, especially, Diana, became our guides through the process of dying, which I knew nothing about, and didn't even recognize as a process until they taught me that the human body goes through a series of changes when dying as it does when giving birth.

On Mother's last night, this knowledge and guidance allowed her death to be as serene as it could possibly be. Diana was able to notice each tiny change in Mother's respiration and color, and very quietly coached us so we were all around her, holding her hands and talking to her and stroking and kissing her face, when she breathed her last. It was as good a death as there can be, and exactly the way Mother had wanted, and planned, for it to be.

Once again, she taught us all the best way to do something.

I'm at the airport now and when I come back, Texas will be a whole different place.


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  2. Nicely expressed. Life was very different after mom died. In fact, I felt, as I do now, that I'm somewhat a different person myself now after Polly has gone. Time to re-tweak that self-assessment again.