One Thing for Friday, September 25th
It was 10 years ago today that my mother died. I always remember the date because it was exactly 3 months before her favorite day of the year. I don’t always mark today as it goes by – most often I remember a few days later – but this year it kind’ve stuck in my head. I guess the round-numberness of the year is what did it. I honestly can’t believe it was 10 years ago. On the one hand it feels so fresh that it couldn’t possibly be that long, while with the other it seems like forever since the day that I blew her a kiss and waved as I walked out of her hospice room, sure that I would be seeing and talking to her in the morning. I did see her the next day, and talk to her, but by then it was too late – she was beyond hearing or talking. That was one of the hardest days of my life, watching and waiting for hours for the now-bloated and nearly unrecognizable form of my mother to finally succumb to her battle with cancer. My wife and brothers were there, and my wife was able to be my rock and actually gave me the ability to help support my brothers. One brother, the eldest, didn’t get in town in time to see her while she was lucid, and that really racked him. The other brother had been in a fight with my mother the last time they talked, something stupid over money, and would never get the chance to exchange another word with her again. That messed him up so much that it pushed him into becoming a born-again Christian. I remember walking out of her hospice room with my brothers and going to the sitting area they had. They had shelves with books and VHS tapes there, and I looked at the Braveheart case. I’d had a conversation with her not long before about how she’d never seen the end of it – she always fell asleep. I smiled as I looked at it and told my brothers about the conversation, and I said that I was glad she never saw the ending – it would have made her sad. For her, William Wallace was forever alive and uncaptured. I’ll never forget that day at Hope Hospice, where I had to say goodbye to my mother. Ten years ago.