lullaby and goodbye

Two weeks ago today I was sitting in a darkened room in a hospital ER, my hand gently holding my mother’s wrist, my index finger feeling for her fading pulse. As the fragile beats grew more distant, then seemed to stop, I glanced at my sister who was sitting next to my mother’s head stroking her hair. My sister is a nurse and I looked to her like a child looks up at their mother after they fall down to see how to react. Was this it, was she gone? My sister didn’t say anything though, so we kept talking.

I don’t remember now what we spoke about that afternoon, it doesn’t really matter. I think me and my sister and my father just wanted to erase the sounds of the hospital and fill it with our own hushed voices, a lullaby to a dying mother, wife, and grandmother. Sometime later a nurse floated silently into the room and quietly asked us if we needed anything. My sister shook her head no, then she said that mom had passed away about ten minutes before. So that was it then – no trumpets blaring, no final gasp, no last words, no dramatic goodbyes. Unlike the spectacle of birth and that fierce first breath, there was just sleep for my mother, deep and peaceful, a measured crossing on a whispered river of words.

10 thoughts on “lullaby and goodbye

  1. (silence) to honor–

    had a similiar hospital experience with my mother in law; it was one of the most amazing moments of my life… i can’t explain more. Blessings, to you all.

  2. My mom died in April. She would have been 100 years old on election day. I had her much longer than you had yours, and can only imagine how you must feel. Beautifully written.

  3. What a wonderful posting…there is a thing about recounting…it helps to fill up this space in our minds left suddenly open by the loss of someone we love. I’m keeping you in my thoughts and prayers – Cara

  4. Nice recount of your mom’s last moments with you. It will help to cement the experience in your mind. Later you may want to recall this time and evaluate it when the grief you feel now has abated some. Pappy

  5. I’m so sorry for your loss, the enormous love that you and your family gave your mother in her last moments is what we all hope to experience on both sides of the bed. My thoughts are with you and your family.

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