Days of Reflection Amid the Emptiness

During the last week of Mom’s life, the dementia had ramped up. It seemed to be stomping over her brain like Huns on a battlefield. Leaving her full of angst and confusion. Early one morning she fell and banged her head. It caused a brain bleed and three days later Mom died.

During those three days in palliative care, my brother and sister and I watched over her. I took the nights. The quiet time—a gift of time to say goodbye. To say the things unsaid in the stress of living with dementia.

As I watched her breathing, part of me wanted her to never stop. To never leave us. But I also wanted her to let go. To go find the peace and rest she couldn’t get here anymore. I knew what a struggle it was for her to find joy in anything anymore. Mom had grown bone-weary of living.

Since Mom died, I’ve done a lot of sitting. A lot of reflecting on her. Reflecting on what the dementia did to her and the one thing that has surprised me has been the depth of my anger at that soul-sucking disease. I feel it every time I stand in the doorway to her room. I feel it when I step outside and realize there’s no reason to rush back in and it bubbles around the edges of that uncomfortable hollow in my gut as I pack away the pieces of her life. I see the anger, I understand it  and I know only time will absorb it. So I quietly wait.

I’m finding another little surprise too. There’s this little wobble of peace poking up here and there because finally, finally, she’s no longer afraid, Or hurting, or confused. Or sad.

And because as long as her family is upright and breathing she hasn’t left.

I love you Mom

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