One year ago tonight, my mother died.
It feels like many times longer than that; the only reason I’m certain it was only a year is by checking the death certificate.
This last year has been so absolutely brim full of business that I feel like I haven’t caught my breath but once or twice since she passed away.
365 days ago at this moment, I was sitting in a dark room, watching a heart monitor slow; waiting.
THe lead up to that night was an un-believable up curve of stress, as I watched my mother decline. I spent those last few weeks fighting with Kaiser to have them take her condition seriously, and tryinb to figure out how the fuck to get my mother into a nursing home without wiping out her small savings.
As it turned out, when a doctor at Kaiser finally took the time to look, that my mother was barely hanging on. Her lungs where shot to hell by a lifetime of smoking, and everything in her was only weeks away from shutdown, starving for oxygen, poisoned by the C02 she couldn’t fully exhale.
When we took her off CPAP machines are artificial respiration, and dialed the morphine up, it was the first time in three years that she didn’t look afraid.
“I’m so happy,” she said, almost her last words, as a high dose of morphine freed her from pain or care.
I watched her breathing slow, and resolved to stay til the end. But I didn’t make it.
She died around 6am Sunday, NOvember 9. 2008.
I don’t really know, even now, how I dealt with it. People kept tilling me it would hit me; but it didn’t, not in any huge way. There were tears, and sadness. But there was massive relief, a pressure and worry I’d carried for years, alone.
It’s only in the last few weeks I’ve been able to miss her; only as the last few items of estate business have gotten resolved that I’ve been able to think of my mother, the person, rather than my mother, the burden.
Missing her feels better than worrying; I welcome it.