i had 3 more days by momma's side.
on the 4th i would not make it in time. she even warned me. i'm so glad i was listening.
it is not fun to watch someone struggle for every breath. you find yourself breathing for her, but she does not improve & you become exhausted. so much so that you might even press your head against the metal bedrail just to feel something solid & real, something to carry your weight for a moment.
when someone tells you she is dying, she is. it's that simple. you've no room for doubt in your mind or in your time. momma told me she was dying in the same tone that she would have told me her best friend was coming to dinner or she needed to pay the phone bill...like it was on her "to do" list.
she died while i was attending to her broken furnace, surrounded by the chaos of a move & remnants of my childhood. the house was colder than the outside november air. my cell phone had no service. we were hours late leaving for the hospital on this errand she had requested, waiting for the service person, fearing pipes would freeze.
i opened the car door in the hospital parking garage to the sound of the 5pm angelus bells.
when they chimed their 5 rings of the hour, i told myself she was gone. i could feel the yet unfamiliar flutter of her soul nearby. every cell in my being knew her weighty absence & had yet to learn her new airy presence.
i turned through the familiar corridors with a purpose. stepping from the elevator, i was greeted with that look that i had once delivered to patients' families. no words could ever suffice.
arms all around me & finally i was alone with momma.
i did not find this unbelievable.
i combed her messy hair.
i found the spot where her skin was still warm (her mid shoulder area which my children still call the place of angel wings & i remembered this dearness)...& i held on for a very long time.
i lifted one eyelid to see her pretty green iris one last time but recoiled at the vacant stare returned to me.
i told her things i thought she should know.
i don't remember if i kissed her goodbye.
i called Brad & asked, "remember what we did for daddy's funeral 4 days ago?" he did. i replied, "please come get momma & do every bit the same in 3 more days."
& then i left the hospital for the last time.