Mom died quietly. She was hushed Saturday, asleep with her eyes closed, breathing more calmly than on Friday night. When she died there was no big sigh, no visible loss of life, nothing remarkable occurred other than nothing. Nothing happened. She didn’t blink. She didn’t moan. She didn’t squeeze Dad’s hand, resting peacefully in hers. She didn’t breathe. Her heart didn’t beat. 3:10 pm, Saturday, August 8th, 2009. Nothing happened and Mom was gone.
There was a little bustle of activity as phone calls were made, death was confirmed, her mouth was closed. Alex closed her mouth. I didn’t have the heart to make the joke that Mom would have made….she even died with her mouth open. Mom did talk a lot. She used to. But now she wouldn’t. I’d never hear her voice again. And my heart wouldn’t beat the same anymore either.
When the bustle was done, Dad and I sat there. We didn’t know what to do, or what not to do. When Mom stopped breathing, her heart stopped beating, she left a big hole in the world, and we were in it. So we just sat there. The hospice nurse came and hugged us. She visited us from just outside the hole. Then we sat some more. In Judaism, the shomerin, or keeper, sits with the body of the deceased until burial. Respect for the dead. I don’t know why we sat. Respect didn’t occur to me. I needed to be with Mom for the last time. I needed to see who would take her to the next place in this life. When he came we were a little surprised. My first thought was Harold, from Harold and Maude. He was respectful and young and very serious. Mom was in good hands. Dad and I left. The hole came with us. We took it to Dad’s house and sat some more.
I know that Mom is dead. I can say it and it doesn’t hurt, because I’m still in that hole. The hole is protecting me and I can’t hear the voices outside. I can’t even hear the voices in my head. Mom is dead. I can shout it from the rooftops. I can scream it at the top of my lungs and it doesn’t hurt. My heart can’t hear it. It beats a little differently now. It stops for just a moment every time someone says the un-sayable. If my heart doesn’t hear it, it isn’t real. As long as I stay in this magic hole, and my heart beats in the new way, I’m okay.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll tell you about Disneyland. Mom loved Disneyland.