Mother: Requiem

My mother died on Monday the 19th of July.

She had not moved at all since at least Saturday (17), when she squeezed my cousin’s hand.

On Wednesday, the 14th, she kissed my dad back. He had been kissing her on the cheek and forehead as he anxiously paced the whole house. That time he ducked for a kiss on her lips and she kissed him back.

On Tuesday, the 13th, we brought her home from the hospital with hospice.

What were her final minutes like?

My father was asleep in bed. All four of us kids were around her. She had been stopping breathing and then starting again after a long interval.

Then she sang four notes, like a little kid sings, off key and long. She was already in heaven singing and her body hadn’t got the message to quit.

Chris told Mom that her singing was normally beautiful, but that not so much.

I think it woke up Dad.

He asked me to get him some banana pudding. I think the girls knew it would be any minute, so they told him Dorinda could get it. She did and she fixed it like he liked it. She left the room again.

Chris did “This little piggy” on her toes. One little piggy was going to heaven.

Then Mom quit breathing. Chris said, “It’s been two minutes.” Julie said, “Not yet.” Chris moved from her feet to her head. “Five minutes.” Julie nodded. Steph started crying. Chris did too. Chris looked for tissues.

Dad said, “What are you doing?”

Chris said he was crying. “I’m gonna miss my momma.”

Dad said, “But she’s still all right? She’s still alive.”

The girls and I looked at each other. One of us said, “I don’t think so, Dad.”

Her lips lost all their color.

Julie called the hospice. Dad cried. We all cried.

An hour later hospice arrived. Janet said she would set the time of death for when she saw Mother, over an hour after she died.

Then she called the police.

Six ended up coming in total.

My mother died.

While I know it was good for her, it has been a week and I miss her. I cry at the weirdest times.

Daddy is doing very well considering, but it is hard for him.

He was so sure he would go first.