Tomorrow (7/15)


Tomorrow morning I will go to the cemetery with my husband and my son and we will bury my mother's ashes.  There will be others there too: my in-laws an aunt, a cousin, some friends...a friend who is ordained will preside over a brief service.  I have a remembrance (and yes, it will pop up here eventually) and maybe my son and/or husband will say something too.  I'm sure it will be hot (it is after all mid-July).  We will place the ashes in the ground and go home.  We will have some friends over.  We will have some refreshments.  We will remember my mother.

But I keep forgetting.

I think I should tell her something.  But she's not there to tell.  I think of picking up the phone, but there is no number to call.

I know my mother is dead.  I was there that last day.  I saw her stop breathing.  And then start again.  Then stop.  Then start.  I thought about getting someone, a nurse, but what was the point?  So I stayed.  And when she finally stopped breathing and did not start again, I stood there and waited.  Because I wasn't sure.  Even though I knew; I wasn't sure.  So I waited a few minutes.  Then I pushed the nurse call button and put everything in motion.

But I waited.  Nothing had changed, other than her breathing.  Did I expect a change?  Some sign?  There was no sign. Just the ceasing of breathing.

The nursing staff came in.  They were kind.  (The hospice and palliative staff were the best people I encountered at the hospital.  I wish everyone had their compassion and kindness.)  I was shaky, but okay.  Unsure exactly what to do.

Who did I call first?  My father?  My husband?  The funeral home?  I called all three in that order.  I don't know what I said, but I tried to be gentle.  I tried to provide a sense of calm.

I tried to listen to the funeral director, but by that time I was rather shaken and when he asked me to send him an email that would let the staff know that I had authorized him to pick up my mother's body, I wrote his email address down incorrectly.  I tried to think of the correct wording; something that was professional and clear.    Was this good enough? “As the daughter of E F, I am authorizing you to handle the funeral arrangements for my mother. . . As per our discussion, the deceased is currently at HMOU Medical Center in... I am entrusting you to all arrangements that need to be made to transport her from the hospital back to the funeral home.  I hope I have provided all the information you need in order to do this.  If you need anything further, please call me.  Thank you."

I drove home to my father.  I did what needed to be done.  I went home to my family the next day.  I made all the arrangements for tomorrow and most of the arrangements for the memorial service down at the shore on Tuesday.

I know my mother is no longer here.  But I forget.

And that's hard.  It's weird; how I keep forgetting.  Or maybe that is not the right way to look at it.  My habits are ingrained to pick up the phone and call her.  I am used to doing so and I have to stop myself.  I have to think.  I have to remember that there is no phone call to make.

I suppose I can always talk to her though.  Tomorrow at the cemetery.  Tuesday at the church.  Or wherever or whenever.  I just won't get a response.  And that hurts.  I suspect it will for a long time.


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