April 12, 2007

Going gently into that good night.

Only a few days left. I remember those last few days.

We brought her home for the end. After days of visitors, worship, joy, laughter, tears, poems and goodbyes, Mom faded into a husk, unmoving on the bed except for sudden, startling breaths. Each one a shock. Each pause after a breath, a waiting. Was that it? The last one? I couldn't breathe until I heard her shuddering intake.

My husband arrived after she'd lost consciousness. One of the kindest things he's ever done for me or for my family was sitting that final vigil. Those last couple days it was too hard to be in the same room with Mom. He remained. Often alone in the room, with her. Waiting. Patient. Quiet. Unafraid.

After two long days of this, my Mom's mom came with a few of the sisters. Saturday, September 27, 2007. When her mom came in the room and spoke, my Mom stirred on the bed for the first time in days. It was just a stirring. Her eyes never opened, she didn't speak. But her mother's voice reached her on that final journey.

Eventually we all gathered downstairs while Jrex and Aunt Bird sat vigil in my parents' room. They chatted quietly about all sorts of things. Aunt Bird was talking while Jrex counted. After three-minutes had passed he quietly interrupted to say, "She's gone."

4 comments:

Mama Nabi said...

The final vigil is the hardest... I've never been brave enough. Hugs to you as you remember your mom's last moments and pray for your grandmother...

(BTW, those gifts you and JRex exchanged... totally O'Henry's The Gift of the Magi... way cool.)

Lori said...

I haven't had to go through those final days yet...but I'm especially moved by your description of JRex keeping vigil for you. I've been thinking of you since I read that your grandmother passed as well...

It's heartbreaking what Snickollet is going through right now. It's a hard world sometimes.

Rachel said...

What a sweet, moving post. I think even in that state they understand so much of what is going on.

The waiting is really hard. I've been remembering my FIL's final days.

Wistful one said...

I started reading Snickollet's blog after you mentioned her in your post a week or so ago. I cried at work yesterday -- strange how it feels like i know her and GH. I'm mourning the loss of someone I've never met. Reading your account of your mother's last days has the same effect -- it breaks my heart to think of it, to picture the scene, to see JRex patiently and calmly waiting, keeping watch, loving you so much. How is it that life's most excrutiating moments are somehow also the most beautiful and exquisite?