There's No Place Like Home

jan

There's No Place Like Home

jan
I'm not sure when my mother died in her mind, but her body died on August 10, 2015, with my sister at her side after 24-hour hospice care for three days.

She was a living breathing advertisement for the benefits of Fosamax, passing from this life without a single broken bone at age 85, and her rugged little heart kept her going long after she and Elvis had left the building.

I was not there to experience that closure and I will have to imagine the scene for the rest of my life. After living with her almost every day for over two years, I was in Ohio with my husband that day, and she was in a temporary facility in Florida. I have yet to see her embalmed body, and I wonder what my reaction will be then? I had said good-bye to her so many times; stood in her doorway in the morning and watched for her breathing, the wiggle of a toe, a wheeze. Every time she faked me out ("Just kidding!") and stuck around another day.

I can't put my finger on when the scales tipped and she became less present than more, less my mother and more this weird littler woman I took care of. She seemed to decline sharply after our plane trip home from Ohio to Florida last October, as if by being in the clouds and so near to my dad and our dog, Sandy, she left the last functioning parts in Heaven and I got the remaining bits to deal with.

I had seen her pathetic physical and mental state for so long, so unlike her in her great years, so out of control, so self-absorbed and I prayed that it would be over. She would never have clung to this life, in this way. And now it's over, and today there is no part of me, not one buzzing atom, that is sad or sorry she is gone.

Yesterday my sister and I met with the funeral director to work on the arrangements and provide her clothes. I brought my mom's red shoes. No one will ever know she is wearing them except my sister and I and the funeral home staff. I want her to make the physical journey in the style she was accustomed to, and enjoy every minute in the place she came from, and now returns.

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