OK. So Mom passed away this evening. I’ve never liked that euphemism, Passed Away, but having seen her passage, having watched her breathe her actual last breath, surrounded by her local children and a grandchild who felt compelled to leave home and hearth to be there, it really was a passing. Yes, she died. And I refuse to say I “lost” my mother (thanks to my euphemism-hating “Neighbor”). But still, this was a much less harsh passage than could have been. And it was much less harsh than the passage my father made 30 years ago, with doctors pounding on him, trying to get his heart to beat, and finally, his resident wife sending in word to “let him go.”
I’m grateful for the support from friends on Facebook and my friends in three dimensions, and my family, the amazing Fuellemans from all over the country (or, all over the west coast) who called and sent texts and love. I even heard from my bonus mom. You’d think she wouldn’t care much about her husband’s first wife, but she does, because she is a kind-hearted, warm and loving human who was thrust into step-parenthood at a young age. Suzi is an amazing woman who managed to love me even when only a mother could.
I’m rambling (forgive me, please) but have to get back to the fact that people I know well, and those I barely know, have all weighed in on the journey Mom has been on for seven years. Most recently, the journey has had a clear end in sight. And tonight I learned that that’s OK.
She was wheeled out of HospiceCare tonight to “We shall overcome” a song I often sing with her because I know it and so did she, with the simple verses. The version I found was Pete Seeger, and in his usual Pete way he had to add some talk and then an exta verse: “we are not afraid.” And looking at my sister and my niece, and those people standing to honor the life that was my mom, even though she was in their care for less than a day, I wanted to grab said niece’s hand and say “see, we don’t have to be afraid.”
There’s only one more of Mom’s generation left, that I know at least. And then it will be us.
We are not afraid.