It was around six in the morning on Mother’s Day. The phone never rings at this hour. It is my sister, my mother has passed. This was expected as she was placed on comfort care through hospice just a few days ago.
We began working through the end stages of her time on this earth, making the arrangements for the final ritual: the funeral. Our family has been through this several times before as we have had several deaths in the family over the years. We are aware of all the steps: contact the funeral home, choose an item of clothing for the deceased, write the obituary, notify friends and family, choose pall bearers, set date and time for the services, choose readings, songs, flowers. Get through the days prior to the funeral.
A common cliche about death and funerals is this: “They bring out the worst in people”. You always hope that won’t be the case in your own family but this is a highly emotional time. People are hurting and suffering, each in their own way.
Because my mother had dementia and has been in a memory care facility for the last three years, we have already taken care of most of the usual processes. We have already cleaned out her house. There was no will and no money or property to fight over. All that is left of her is this one final hoorah. Can we get through it unscathed?
On the positive side, the people of this valley have been wonderful. I have felt a little resentful because over the last 5 years, we haven’t seen or heard much from anyone in the church where she spent the majority of her lifetime. But everyone we have had contact with since her passing has been kind and gracious – expressing such gratitude for all of her hard work and effort over the years. She had many friends and they do recognize and appreciate how important she was to their church family. I suspect we will hear many stories about her contributions and kindness over the next few weeks.
I have yet to cry about mom’s passing. I feel very stoic. (Maybe I am more like her than I thought?). In truth, grieving for her has been going on for years. It is difficult to think of her in terms of what she was before this awful disease. I will be sorting and processing these feelings for a long time. I have little pockets of memories and thoughts – I will eventually have to clean them out – kind of like the pockets of your jeans. Will likely find some treasures and plenty of lint.