Goodbye, Mom

The silver haired priest stopped by to check in this afternoon. I was sitting on that mangy orange couch across from Mom’s bed, mindlessly staring at the wall. Totally zoned out it took a moment for him to get my attention, to snap me out of my daze. As I looked up at him standing there in the doorway he asked me bluntly if I had said goodbye to Mom.

I told him that I hadn’t.

Instantly, the old pastor’s face turned bright red. He started yelling at me with a vengeful tone in his voice.

“You need to say goodbye to Mom and it has to happen today! People will hang on to life by a thread suffering for many more days until they hear their loved ones telling them to let go! Is that what you want? You want your mother to linger like this needlessly for extra days, or weeks?”

His tirade shocked me into reality. Ashamed of myself for being weak and not having the courage to say those things to Mom I looked at my shoes and quietly told the pastor, “No. I don’t want her to continue to hold on like this.”

“Then tell her she was a good mother and tell her to let go when she is ready! Do it!”

My heart was racing. He walked away then down the hall presumably to go hassle someone else. I had been putting this horrible chore off, hoping to avoid it if I could. I decided then and there to try and get it over with. Standing up I walked towards the door, firmly closing it and locking the latch. I had to be alone for this with no one else around to witness or be within earshot. Dragging a chair close to Mom’s hospital bed I noticed both of my hands were shaking. My heart felt like it was about to explode from my chest. Picking up my mother’s hand as gently as I could and placing it in mine I tried to speak but words weren’t really coming out of my mouth. Her hand was light as a feather and felt too warm, almost hot.

Starting over again I choked out a few words as my eyes filled up with water. I was looking downward at the floor while I spoke. My vision was blurred by tears making everything seem as though I was viewing my shoes through a fishbowl lens. It took every ounce of will power I had within me to say to her that she was a good mother, that I loved her, and that it was okay for her to let go. It was okay for Mom to die when she wanted to.

As I spoke I felt a huge amount of pain inside, like a thousand motherfuckers had been piled up on me and then dumped all at once.

There was no reaction from Mom of course. She continued to breathe slow and deep without any change. She probably didn’t hear a word I said and I knew it. Kicking the chair backwards I stood up and walked into the bathroom. Leaving the lights off I cranked the sink faucet full blast. Grabbing handfuls of cold water one after another I splashed it all over my face and the rest of the room behind me. I struggled to calm down and get my skyrocketing heart rate back under control. My hands were still shaking violently. Slumping down into the couch I thought about what I said to her, realizing this was one of the worst days I had ever experienced in my whole life.

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~ by factorypeasant on January 3, 2007.

2 Responses to “Goodbye, Mom”

  1. FP
    When my mother died, I was 32. Massive stroke, surgery and death a few days later. Before her surgery, I saw her in the hospital, alone and she couldn’t speak but her eyes were filled with terror. Before the funeral we had a viewing the day before. After going up to the casket and then sitting back down to rest and gather myself, I suddenly experienced the most intense emotional state I have ever had. It seemed to come from deep within me and was more powerful than anything I could ever imagine. It frightened me as I felt I had lost control of my essence. I am usually composed enough to maintain what ever the situation but that state absolutely left me stunned. A glimpse of something primitive to the human nature or perhaps something beyond? I dunno. But it certainly got my attention and shook me.

  2. garden gnome- man, i don’t know what to say. after reading your story i think i can relate to your experiences. losing a parent can be one of the most difficult things to have to deal with.

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