I was finishing drying my hair when the call came on Friday, Feb. 10, at 8:34 a.m. Mom passed away peacefully at 8:30 a.m.
I was expecting to get the call on my cell phone. It came on our land line. As my husband handed me the phone he said it was hospice. I was told she quietly passed after her vitals were taken when drew her last breath. Through my tears I cried, “But I wasn’t there!” I was assured she wasn’t alone and went very peacefully.
I quickly finished getting dressed, called my brother. M. called the kids and T. I drove as carefully as I could under the circumstances. I called my cousin H. in Poughkeepsie to give him the news. He and mom were very close, like the brother and sister neither had. He calmed me down but also choked up a bit as well.
I walked quickly into the facility. The curtains to mom’s room were drawn. As I walked through them there she lie.
It was very difficult to look at her head on but I did only once. This is not how I wanted to remember my beautiful mother. Just the day before I asked the aide if she would turn her the other way from me during her re-positioning because I just couldn’t look at her that way. She understood.
I started sobbing as I sat down on her bed. I put my face next to hers and felt the coldness. I kissed her. I stroked her cheek. I laid down next to her for a couple of minutes hugging her closer to me. I noticed she was still wearing the “Loved” bracelet given to her by her beloved T., which she had never taken off. I gently slipped it off her wrist and put it on mine where it will now remain.
I didn’t want to let her go but it was time and there was lots to do and to prepare for.
I went to the nurses station and told them I was ready for them to call the funeral home in charge of her arrangements. I asked them to tell me again the sequence of events. I needed reassurance. I spoke to the chaplain as well.
I said my thanks and left.
T., along with the rest of us knew this day was coming yet when it comes you realize you are just not ready. My husband told me T. was naturally upset, broke down a little and asked him to recite the Shema three times with him, which he did.
My brother was catching an early Saturday morning flight. The funeral took place on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 12. It was the coldest day we’ve had thus far and my mom hated the cold. The irony.