Slumber party

My sister and I took advantage of Mom’s 90 minutes of post-bath wakefulness and awareness on Saturday night — and it ended up being truly one of the best nights of my life. She clearly understood what we were saying. She would squeeze our hands in response to things we said or asked her. She smiled and raised her eyebrows. She even semi-laughed a couple times. We reminisced. We laughed. We showed her pictures and videos of our families on our phones. We talked about serious stuff. We asked her if she was in any pain or discomfort. And once again, as we’d done several times in the preceding days, we gave her “permission” to die: We told her that we’d be okay, and that we’d take care of each other and take care of Dad.

But most of all, we told her that we loved her. Over and over and over. And we hugged and kissed her endlessly. Even though this was happening late at night and I was tired, I would have stayed up all night if it meant additional moments with her. We occasionally asked her if she wanted us to keep talking or if she wanted to rest, and usually she wanted us to continue, but she finally indicated to us that she was ready to go to sleep around 2:15 a.m. after an hour and a half of communicating with us one last time.

I was on a bit of a high once we got ready for bed, and not surprisingly I had trouble falling asleep. I was laying in the not-very-comfortable sleeper chair next to her bed, holding her hand and watching her as she rested and then tried to go to sleep. I could tell it was a meaningful night for her too. I could see her laying there with her eyes open for quite a while, then finally she closed them to sleep, and she just looked so incredibly peaceful and happy and content — enough that I thought for sure she would die probably sometime that night or in the morning. It just seemed like a fitting end.

And in that moment, I realized that any of the issues we had between us? They didn’t MATTER anymore. It came down to the fact that she loved me, and I loved her. She took care of me and made sure I knew I was loved, and it was my turn to take care of her and assure her of the same thing. Letting go of my anger and bitterness in regard to her last year helped me reach that point, and I’m so glad that was the case, as it allowed for an amazing experience at the end of her life — definitely for me and hopefully for her too. I can’t put into words how much it meant to me, truly.

On Sunday, my mom was still hanging on, and she had her eyes open some in the morning and she smiled when my dad walked into the room, squeezing my hand. Not that long after, she went to sleep for what eventually turned out to be the last time. My sister had to leave to return home that day, as they couldn’t keep my niece out of school indefinitely, and we started Mom on morphine drip on Monday, knowing at this point, with a heavy heart, that she was not going to wake up again….


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