Friday, May 6, 2016

Mindy Stricke on Her Mother's Last Days

"I had a considerable amount of anticipatory grief. Not only over the several years of her declining health, but especially over those last seven weeks of her life. As soon as Mother’s Day passed, the busy work started: updating finances, advance directives, wills, funeral planning. I will never forget the day I watched her choose her casket and urn. Sitting in the selection room, she had a look on her face I had not seen before; a combination of peace and pain. She was tired of the struggle, and yet she knew that her peace meant our pain. That was one of the hardest days of my life. It was her wish to die at home so her doctor educated us on what to expect and how to keep her comfortable. On June 26th, she became bedridden but was still completely lucid and we were still checking off her ‘to-do-before-I-die’ list. She had me email distant friends and relatives to thank them for their love and wonderful memories and we called the family home to say goodbye. We even had a minister come to the house so she could have last communion with her husband and four children—equal parts beautiful and emotional. I never left her side. She was having more difficulty sleeping at night due to increasing discomfort, and I was sleeping in her bed with her, so we talked to distract her and pass the time. One night, I found myself confessing every “bad” thing I had ever done in my life, and found that she already knew about most of them! We laughed until we cried, and then she talked to me about dying. She wasn’t afraid, because she already knew where she was going."

Irish Cape — Mindy Stricke

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