My brother and I just posted within minutes of each other just now our respective notes of passage on Facebook.
As I type this, it was just 12 hours ago (08:20 am) that I reached Melrose Wakefield Hospital to find my brother and cousin with their backs to me looking out the window, and the body of my dead mother lying in repose.
It is, perhaps, the strangest feeling in the world.
I just turned 50 this summer - as you know, we went on a major trip, and celebrated birthdays and anniversaries. Not quite 10 days after we got back, Mum got worse and we moved her out of her home to a nursing facility. She steadily worsened until this past Thursday, then took a sudden and dramatic final turn to the end.
It's almost as if she waited - she knew her oldest son recovered his health after a serious illness, and then was able to have a big blowout to celebrate birthdays and wedding anniversaries, and returned home safely.
This past weekend was certainly not without ajita - my aunt, my mother's only sibling, got in her car and left for Florida about 3 hours before Mum passed.
Selfishly. Hurtfully. Unforgiveably.
But that is our issue, and we'll deal with that in the spring when she returns to sell the family home and have my mother's memorial.
My mother was complex. She left Pops for another man and moved out of our childhood home when we were young. But nevertheless, she was always there - we had holidays, family events, and as many normal things that we could during the years. She eventually left her second husband too, and moved back to her childhood home in Saugus.
I was musing on Saturday..as they increased her medications, and Mum slipped further into oblivion, she was the family historian. She knew everyone, everybody, all the people in the pictures, places, addresses, cemeteries, everything. We also lost all that today. She was increasingly incoherent the last few days, but in one of her lucid moments, and it's starkly obvious now, she said "Forty-Seven Hours. Write everything down." She just about called it to the minute.
Javier was able to see his grandmother, and in a few moments of lucidity she recognized him, and even called me out by name several times from the shadows.
Astonishingly to me, she died this morning calling for Mrs. TriSec. "Maria, Help me" were her last words. We can only suppose that she was the last person Mum recognized yesterday, and that stuck with her.
This was not a shock - we all knew it was coming. It was more a relief than anything else. COPD is horrendous, and my mother was left fighting to breathe with every ounce of her remaining strength. Back to when I walked in the room - for the first time in years, she looked placid and calm. Nothing hurt her anymore. I did not shed a tear - but rather breathed a sigh of relief myself.
We hosted a stream of visitors, as the cousins that were local made their way in to pay their respects. My brother and I then went to the house, only intending to have our holiday tradition of shots of Galliano - but we wound up sitting in the house for 5 hours looking at pictures and draining a bottle of wine.