I realize some folks may be tired of hearing about my mother, but I can’t help but note that today is the 6th anniversary of her death. I had just walked into my parents’ home in West Virginia after a long day of sitting by Mom’s bedside while listening to Nana grumble ALL DAY LONG about stupid crap like how my brother Danny constantly leaves dirty kitchen towels on the counter instead of hanging from the wooden towel rack beside the sink, and he occasionally had the audacity to drop them on the floor and NOT pick them up. Typical Danny. The laws/rules of man and the universe don’t apply to him, and that includes simple courtesy.
My mother/Nana’s oldest daughter and ONLY living child was DYING, and I had to constantly remind her (Nana) that though Mom was in a coma, she didn’t want to hear about Danny’s slovenliness or how much beer Dad was drinking!
His wife of 48 years was hours away from the END, you old WIND BAG. And we all know/KNEW what a slob Danny was. The solution to that problem would’ve been to kick his sorry ass out the minute he arrived upon Mom and Dad’s doorstep, but I didn’t have any say in that.
So, after all that, I was on my way to take a shower when Danny called from the hospice facility to say that Mom had passed. And he didn’t know what to do. Did he need to stay there and arrange for the transportation of her body? Did he need to collect her things, or could he just go. I told him to ask one of the nurses, and I’d be right there because I knew he was in no condition to drive. Danny’s an asshole, but Mom’s death hit him like a Mack truck falling from outer space.
I remember walking into Mom’s room and seeing Danny sitting there. He was teary-eyed, but he was more in shock, I think. I gave him an awkward hug, and he just continued staring at her.
“I heard her,” he said.
“You heard her what?” I asked, trying not to look at Mom’s ghastly expression. Her mouth was open wide and long as if she were at the dentist, but I knew it was really that she’d been frozen that way attempting to hold onto her last breath, which he confirmed.
“I heard her die, she took a deep breath, a crackly kind of breath,” he sputtered, “And then, she was gone. She was just gone…” he voice was swallowed by a bout of sobbing.
I put my arms around his shoulders briefly, trying not to break down, and said, “Come on. They said they’d take care of everything. We just have to let them know which funeral home.”
Danny nodded, and I took my last look at my mother at 7:38 PM on May 23, 2007 – almost, to the minute, obviously, on this date six years ago.
She was a beautiful woman, a kind woman, and losing her altered my life forever in ways I could never imagine. I love you, Mom, and I feel privileged to have known you, and this is how I’ll always remember you…
Looking happier than I’d seen her in years when I took her to the premiere of We Are Marshall in Huntington, WV, at the Keith Albee theatre about six months before she died…she was already eaten up with cancer, but you’d never know it by the spark in her eye and jump in her step.
Wish you were here, Mom. I know you’d love the new shoes I just bought, and you’d be excited to see how well your grandsons are doing.
So, to all those who haven’t spoken to your Mom in awhile, pick up the phone, hop in the car/get on a plane and go see/talk to her before it’s too late – because you never know which one is going to be the last conversation. The last thing my mother told me before she died was how proud she was of me, and when I’m having a crappy day – that always comes back to me…
~Ciao for now…