This day has bitter sweet memories for my family. Twenty three years ago, our mother, Rita Heatley -Turnbull left this life for another. Mother Rita was an organized woman. It was no surprise that she orchestrated her departure. The week before Mother’s Day, all the siblings were told to come to visit Mom on that weekend. We were informed by the hospice nurse that Mom was in the last stages of life.
When entering her bedroom, I expected to see a comatose woman. Instead I met a feisty woman with an agenda. She did not want a vigil of all her children at one time. Instead, she called us in one at a time. When it was my turn, I had a difficult time understanding her words. Thinking she might need a drink of water, I offered her a sip, spilling some on her clothing. With agility, Mom swatted my hand away and called for my brother, Mike. Gently, he held the cup and allowed Mom to get a sip of water. He was in tune to her needs and wishes.
Dad told us that Mom had seen our local priest. She received the last rites of confession and communion. When the day was done, we started to leave. We promised to return the next day after John mowed the grass and checked on Ruth and Grandma Helen. My sister in law, Karen volunteered to stay until we returned. We didn’t want my parents to be alone. Karen was nervous and made dad feel the same.way. He told her that we would be there shortly, and she could leave. Between mid-afternoon and the six pm news, mom arose from her dozing to look around. Spotting Dad in his easy chair, she remarked,”Bruce I really love you!”
Dad watching the sportscaster replied”I love you too.”
That was the last words she spoke. After that she slipped into unconsciousness and quietly died before the end of the news.
When we returned, Dad had called the nurse but she had not arrived. The respirator was still on but Mom no longer needed it. When the nurse arrived, she quietly turned off the the machine. The silence marked her passing.
The day of the funeral was rainy and cold . The weather matched my feelings. The last day of her life the weather was warm and sunny.
Sitting between Dad and Ruth, I I felt the love of Mom for all of us with many memories and stories of a family bonded together with love.
Ritual Nightly, on her knees, she prayed.
Watch over my children.
Be with them, when I cannot.
She planned her death, as she did her life.
With faith and love.
email@example.com May 15, 2023