As the first anniversary of our mother’s death approaches, my sister Abby and I have mixed feelings about the event. I am grateful that Mother had a peaceful transition, for her sake as well as ours. We were at her bedside which is what she wanted. One minute she was breathing and the next minute it was eerily quiet. She truly did slip away, which was so unlike her.
Mother loved to make an entrance and we were prepared for a dramatic and traumatic exit. The fact she left this earth so peacefully while we were there was a real gift to us. We did not have to witness a horrible good-bye. In fact, Abby made several trips to Mother’s bedside to thank her for teaching us some valuable life lessons. The fact Mother did this without knowing the outcome was not important. My sister felt better telling her something positive and kept asking me if I had anything I needed to say. I had already told Mother that Abby and I would be fine and it was OK for her to go. Apparently she took me at my word and that was the end.
The staff at the home was shocked by our calm demeanor. It had been quite a journey and we were able to say our goodbyes knowing we had helped provide her with a safe environment and lots of help as she entered the final phase of her life. Dad taught us that no matter that she had been difficult and hard for us to handle, she was our mother and deserved some bit of respect.
Abby and I were fortunate that we were able to be with our Dad when he passed from this life and flew right up to Heaven. The fact we were also with Mother was the right place for us to be as she transitioned from this life. The moments after her passing found us exhausted but relieved. Our parents had both passed but our reaction to each was different. Dad was our rock and Mother was rocky. The quality of parenting was as different as night and day. Dad was hands on and Mother was hands on but in a very different manner. She enjoyed putting her hands on us in a less than positive way. You could count on Dad always. Mother you could count out, whether passed out or emotionally unavailable.
As always, my sister and I feel blessed. We have handled these deaths with grace and humor and we always know, no matter the distance, our hearts are with each other.