Last Night with Mom

I am sitting with my mom on video chat. I did not take a picture of her–that would not be fair. She told the family frequently she always took pride in her hair, and the lack of access to a stylist has gotten to her. She is watching the news. I can hear it. I feel better just being with her any way I can.

**Earlier in the evening, we had a video chat with my mom. Me and the grandkids—she had asked the staff to talk for her, and I sent a group text to the family. I wished I thought of it earlier. We have a lovely time chatting and telling stories. A couple of things stand out:

At one point, one of the kids asked, “How are you doing, grandma?” And my mom reached for her mask and pretended to throw it away. She was tired of it. The poor woman had that thing attached to her face breathing for her without food or water for days.  Lauren stopped and said, “I want to try to say this without crying.” Of course, she could not, then proceeded to force the words out through tears, “We will understand if you do want to throw it out, grandma.”

Mom started to fade. She could no longer fight the air and talk. She was tired, but none of us wanted to go, so I suggested we each tell a story of one of the good times we had. Right now, I can only remember one, and even then, we hardly spoke. We all know there were so many fun times. So many, yet at that moment, we all could hardly find the words.

Here’s the one story I recall that Lauren shared, “Grandma and I were swimming in the pool. I was on a floaty, complaining that the sun was in my eyes, so grandma flopped her boobs over my head and said, ‘These are the best sun blockers!’” That is how she was—so fun with the kids, and that is the sort of grandma I hope to be too.

Tyler read for her this note he had written, the audio kept cutting out, but I hope she heard every word:

Death is a seldomly discussed and commonly loathed topic. When it enters a conversation it is done so with hushed tones and quickly pushed aside for the better times. However, death brings great gifts of reflection. Just yesterday I listened to my grandmother on her death bed, surrounded by many teary-eyed loved ones, discourage her family from purchasing any more than the bare essentials for her funeral because from her humble life she has carried many financial worries. My heart understood the gravity of this moment far more quickly than my mind. If wealth was measured in tears of sorrow this woman is one of the richest people I know. For there is seldom a person on this earth that she has come in contact with that does not carry a hardy affection for her. And although it is difficult to say goodbye, I find myself inspired by the onslaught of tears. One day, maybe I too will be able to harbor so much love and compassion.

Alla Nonna con Amore (To Grandmother with Love)

There is much to rejoyous upon and so little to fear. This goodbye may be bitter for the memories are so delicious. If your love has stricken the right chords maybe, I’ll be as rich as my heart can afford.

Goodbye, goodbye

That was the last night we ‘really’ talked with her. The next morning we would all be there with her, but I’m unsure what she might have been aware of—they had medicated her for her passing. At this moment, as I write these words, I wish I could go back and be with her once more. I miss you, mom.

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