The end and the beginning

This journey of waiting for my mom’s death is one I’ve never been on before. We learn of the “signs” of impending death, we watch, we reminisce, we wonder. We talk to one another, other family members. We ask ourselves questions – about what we’ve done, what we did not do, and what we want for ourselves in the future. How do we want our lives to end? What is important. This is what death brings the living.

Today, my mother’s suffering ended.

At around 11:20am she took her last breath. I was not there – no one was. The nurse and CNA had just cleaned her up a bit and shifted her in the bed, and when the CNA popped her head in a few minutes later, it was over. I had taken my dad home, since we did not know how long it would take (it could have been the next minute, or later in the day) but we did know it would be soon. It is painful to watch someone breathe their last breaths; at least I found it to be painful. One of my brothers and I and my dad sat by her bed for about an hour. Then my brother had to leave for home and dad was exhausted. It’s been a very long week of waiting and wondering. I was making some iced tea to take back to the home to watch and wait when they called me to let me know mom was gone.

Tomorrow we go to the mortuary to finish the arrangements for the cremation of mom’s body.

After all of the arrangements are made, and the cremation is done… and the memorials are over and only the memories and photographs remain… dad and I will have to start a new routine that does not include feeding mom ice-cream and strawberries for lunch. Life is shifting. An ending, and a beginning. Dad would probably joke that for him it is the beginning of the end, but hopefully we can make his last days, months and years full and happy.


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