On Monday May 30th, Delta Airlines arranged it so I could fly back from Somerset England that Tuesday. In time for me to drive over the mountain early Wednesday morning. To a critical care unit in the New River Valley of Virginia. So I could be there to hold my Mum’s hand as she let go.
Which she did.
And as she was leaving, I rested my free hand over my Mother’s heart. Just like I did with my Dad, and watched in silence as her fevered face turned to its normal tan colour, and her chest stopped moving.
My Brother Fred was in the room too.
My Brother Joe was on hour 10 of an 11 hour drive, on his way to the hospital.
The other two Brothers were waiting by their phones, both having been at the hospital the week prior, trying for a different outcome.
Oh, we hoped. Me in England. Joe in St. Louis. Drew and Irish Twin north of there. Fred at the house he shared with Mum.
We really really hoped …
This is one of my favourite photographs of my Mom. I believe, taken by my Grandfather Joseph.
A stunning happy confident teenage in Charleston, South Carolina.
After, I spent the last 5 days with my Brothers Fred and Joe up at Mum’s house in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
We did okay. We all agreed on her wishes. Fred, Joe and I went to the funeral home to arrange her ashes and urn. Drew’s doing estate stuff.
I cried the first two days, and slept the first night in her freshly laundered/made bed.
Yesterday I returned to my poor wee cottage. I walked in, put my suitcase down and said: I’m not supposed to be here.
I know I will have something wonderful to write in this blog about my remarkable sassy Lizzie. Something that will speak to her soul and brain, and marvel at all the places she took herself and us, as well as sprinkle in some of the crazy with humour.
She used to read my blog. It was a Google alert in her Inbox, so she never missed a post. Her way of keeping an eye on me since I’m not on Facebook.
I had a thought that I’d ring my Mum today after my first day back at work. And the pause that followed my reality check took my breath away.
What an absolutely gutting time.
It’s all so horrible.
To be honest … I want to run away, far far away. I don’t want to talk to anyone else. I don’t want to deal with “personal possessions,” and legal paperwork, and material things left for us to share amongst ourselves.
Those things. Those things are my Mom’s things. They don’t belong to anyone else.
But I remain grounded so I can deliver to my four brothers and the newspaper an obituary tomorrow about our dear Lizzie. One that will do her proud, and honour our darling Momare, and remind the community that she’s been a huge fan for 27 years.
I have an idea about how I want it to read.
It’s just that … I just don’t want to think that way, summarise that way, about my Mom.
Not right now.
And right now? Not ever.