Where Have You Been?
It’s been a week since my mom passed quietly from this earth. The last few months have been awful. Those last few weeks had been agonizing. Those last three days, nothing short of torture. For me, at least. Mom was surrounded by some of the most compassionate caregivers I could have wished for. I cannot say enough wonderful things about the staff of Evergreen Personal Care Home and Bethany Hospice. I watched you treat my mom with dignity and respect, love and honor in her final days.
And you held me together too.
My mom was tough.
She was also chronically late.
In the last few weeks and days, we wondered how she managed to hang on. There couldn’t be much keeping her alive. A couple of times, she seemed to be looking at something/someone over in the corner of the room. My dad, I’m sure. Once while I was sitting alone with her, I had a little talk with Dad, pleading with him to take her and end her suffering here.
Then I remembered something. I flashed back to the many times Dad would be ready to go somewhere, shoes and coat on, tapping an impatient foot and looking at his watch. Mom would be taking her own sweet time getting ready. Mom was never one to be rushed. Dad was convinced—even then—that Helen Riggle would be late to her own funeral.
The memory made me laugh. And cry.
Dad also used to be impatient when Mom and I went somewhere without him and didn’t get home when he expected us. “Where have you been?” he would demand when we walked through the door.
Last Wednesday morning, I sat at Mom’s side and watched her take her last breath. I watched the flicker of her carotid pulse slow and fade. And I sobbed.
But I’m convinced, somewhere, Dad was watching Mom come through the door and demanding to know, “Where have you been?”