Home > Death, Family, Grief, Love > Lifted into the light

Lifted into the light

“How do we get the medicine on her?” Rache asked after we received it.

Our mom didn’t want medicine as she died. She’d cut herself in younger days; the physical pain felt more real, more justifiable, than her emotional pain. In her final days, I think it felt like a reminder she was still alive, still strong enough to endure any pain short of death.

None of us doubted her strength. We’d witnessed it firsthand for decades. Mom’s pain was evident, and excruciating, and we chose to ease it.

“I’ll ask if she wants to watch me nurse D,” I said. “She loves that. With Mom focused on that, you can give her a back rub and slip on the patch.”

That’s what we did, and that’s what I remember when I think of our mom’s last days: Rache quietly, gently and unobtrusively tending to Mom.

While I cared for my baby, Rache paid bills, handled dozens of administrative and medical calls, and took care of most Mom’s physical needs. She had to work in addition to this all, but stayed fully present with Mom every moment she was there. She made it look easy, though the burden she carried was heavy.

Rache was the pillar bearing the practical weights of Mom’s care. My other siblings and I helped prop her up.

My mom had always predicted Rache would be the one to care for her in old age. One-half of her prediction came true: Though she didn’t live to see old age, Rache did take care of her in the end.

More than five years later, Rache looks back and wishes she had done more and shown her love better.

I wish she could see, as I do, there was nothing more she could have done.

Silver Star‘s light shone–and shines–brighter than she realizes.

She carried our mom in the end, and Mom left the world so lifted both by and into the light.

silver star

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  1. August 21, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    Tears here.
    In my younger days my mother was someone I aspired to become. She cooked, she sewed, she gardened. She taught migrants English in her lunch hour. She decided she wanted to make bobbin lace and taught herself. And for the opening of our new Parliament House, her lace formed the collar and cuffs of the Speaker’s robe.
    Then my father died and she turned to alcohol, and became bitter, sad and a stranger to the truth.
    I did a lot for her. But I did not do it with a good grace. And more than a decade after her death I still feel guilty. And suspect I always will.

    • August 22, 2015 at 4:59 am

      The fact you did them was most important; though the grace feels good in some ways, the acts themselves that needed doing were done. There’s no shame in that, no matter how much or little grace.

      I know I helped my mom with some things in her final years, but it wasn’t always/ever with much grace. Sometimes I’ll cringe when I remember my part … but then I’ll remember how hard her paranoia made things, and my inability to get her treatment, and know I did what I could within the full context. It’s the context then that matters, IMO, not the one now.

  2. August 22, 2015 at 3:34 am

    Lovely post. What a gift that experience was, as hard as it must have been for Rache.

    • August 22, 2015 at 5:06 am

      Thank you. I only appreciated a portion of what I was witnessing at the time, my head was so full of baby, work, and The End. It was looking back afterward that I saw The End part more clearly/on its own and wished–in my own turn–I had helped with more of the load.

      Rache told me firmly yesterday that what I did was enough, and I feel compelled to believe her. Context is important, and we all did what we could with what we had. There should be no shame in that.

  3. August 22, 2015 at 6:50 am

    Beautiful the love shown to your mother. I was blessed enough to spend my mothers exit from this world to the next and I thought of it as completing the circle of life. She brought me into the world and I was with her when she left this world. So bravo to you.

  4. August 23, 2015 at 10:17 am

    Thank you Deborah for sharing this….so deeply personal. Having your baby around your mom during this time would have provided much strength and comfort to your mom in her last days.
    Your post brought back memories as my sister and I took turns around the clock 3 years ago the final few months of my mom’s time on earth.
    I am sincerely sorry for loss.
    ~Carl~

    • August 29, 2015 at 10:05 am

      Thank you, Carl, for this and your other comments. Compassion flows from them; I am thus lifted.

  5. August 23, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    Thank you. I think it is important we remember and are remembered through the eyes of others sometimes. With this clear vision we will always beat ourselves up with what we could have done better.

    • August 29, 2015 at 10:09 am

      One of the things I most love about blogging is how I’m able to see who someone is through their eyes and compare that against how I see them. Seeing the gap between the two helps me be a little more patient and loving with myself. (So, too, does remembering my siblings reading my ’04 autobiography and asking, “Where’s the good stuff about you?”)

  6. August 31, 2015 at 2:12 am

    What a gift to our loved ones the act of witnessing them can be. Thank you for this beautiful piece.

  1. September 7, 2015 at 12:49 pm

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