If someone would have told me this next part of the story before, I would have said, “Oh, isn’t that sweet? Trying to hold onto some part of your loved one while they passed? Well, whatever you have to do,” and then probably awkwardly patted their hand.
But it’s true, I know the exact moment my Mother passed. I had spent the morning at her side, saying all the things I ever wanted to say to her, because although she had never regained consciousness, I truly believed she could hear me every time I was there. But I never actually said goodbye because I was afraid that would scare her. After I wracked my brain to make sure there was nothing left to say, I told the nurses I was ready.
And then I left.
I don’t want to say what I was doing at the time because that is too personal, but there was a moment when my head snapped to the clock on the wall and I said to myself, “Remember this moment. It is happening right now. She is leaving right now. Don’t ever, ever forget this.”
When My Dad and I returned to the ICU and the nurse recounted her time of death, I just nodded. Because I already knew.
My Dad and I returned to my Mom’s house and he handed me off to My Boyfriend. After My Dad went home, the house became very quiet. My Boyfriend poured me a glass of water and I sat at the kitchen island, fidgeting with the glass. I drank the water slowly, looking around the space – and all the memories started racing in. Memories that I thought I would write about here, but now I find I can’t. I looked at My Boyfriend then and said, “She’s not coming back, is she?”
He slowly shook his head, took me into his arms and we both cried.
Whenever I used to watch Investigation ID and someone died, if their spouse started immediately nosing around in their finances or looking into their life insurance, I’d immediately yell at the television, “Guilty!!! Why aren’t you GRIEVING? Looking into the finances?! Ho ho ho you are guilty!”
But then I found myself doing the same thing.
My Dad had left me a list of a number of things I needed to take care of while I was still in town and I started the next morning. I made an appointment with her bank, tried to get access to her utility accounts, started going through her files to locate businesses to contact. I knew staying busy was the only thing keeping me upright. I was grateful to have these things to focus on.
I was tasked with calling her friends, the rest of her family, past co-workers and that whole thing was so horrible and painful I don’t want to write about it. But the one thing that I was able to tell them with absolute certainty was that she was very, very happy in her life up until the very end. Which is true. I would end all my conversations with, “Believe me, we should all be so lucky to be as content as she was.”
I hope they believed me.