Do not Weep

For the record, my mom died on December 6th a few minutes passed 4PM. I’ve announced it in many other places and I realized that I’d not talked about it in my own private (public) space.

Her breathing pattern changed and my sister and sister-in-law noticed. One left to find the hospice nurse and the other to find her husband. I just kept participating in the conversation about I don’t know what. I knew, we all knew, when we heard the nurse say into her phone ‘I have to go. I have a death’.

I am sometimes left wanting because we weren’t all sitting around her holding her hand, though I think my Dad was, waiting for that ‘special’ moment that put her into the next world. This grand moment – the moment she so deserved after all of her suffering – was not apparent to me. As I reflect on it though, I am confident that it was grand for her and that’s what I care about. There are enough accounts of that most beautiful ‘death’ experience.

She said she wasn’t ready to go. It makes me sad to think about that. But that she went into the loving arms of family members who went before her gives me great comfort.

The services were attended by so many of the people who loved her that there weren’t enough seats in the funeral home. A steady stream of people who knew her from Knoll International, where she worked for more than 30 years and Relay for Life, where she volunteered for more than 15 introduced themselves one after another. She was dearly loved.

Here are a few photos that are special because of their significance in her last moments and how we attempted to honor her.

Our Thanksgiving dinner that we often refer to as ‘her Christmas’. She had such a wonderful time and told us all that it was her best Thanksgiving ever.

Who knew my mom was a fisherman. This picture was in a bag of old pictures of me that my mom gave me when I first returned in June. I had wondered how it came to be in my bag and I had just days before her death put it aside to include on a DVD we were in the process of making. When we were creating the picture board for her services, I'd intended to include it but had forgotten it. Independently, my brother who had taken her fishing, had pulled his home apart looking for this very picture. When he described it to me, I said ‘I know the picture’ and I went home and brought it the funeral home– this is the kind of coincidence that keeps me going.

My sisters and I went through my mom's closet and amongst other things, chose a scarf that we liked (OK, I took 2). The remaining scarves were set aside to give to the other women in our family. My sister Rhoda, came up with the idea to wrap up each scarf with a note and give them as gifts at our traditional holiday gathering. It was the most beautiful and touching moment of the evening. This is the type of thing that she does consistently for her family and it is something that I admire and treasure about her.