Saturday November 15, 2008
In the beginning, I wanted just to write the "story" of your passing, so that I could keep it longer, hold onto it-and perhaps even share it with others dear to me. Today I decided to tell the story, a little differently. I have chosen to speak to you directly and to do it in a thank-you note.
So, Mom, I want to thank-you for so many things!! It is hard to know where to begin. First I want to thank-you for "holding on". You could have chosen to go earlier. I am sure of that. It could have been less painful for you. But you held on until I arrived. It meant so much for me to be with you in that last week. So thank-you, Mom, for sending me the ticket. You knew my hesitation to spend so much money—but you simply didn't give me any choice to hesitate—you just sent the ticket—did I thank-you for that too??
I know you had been feeling OK-even quite well-just two days before I came-because you took Lois and Nancy and Paul out for dinner at Highlands.
When I saw that you were not able to meet me at the bus stop, –I knew you were not in a very good state.
I am so proud of you!! I had come prepared to help you find "the spiritual path"-and you had been on it already-and for a long time!
Those first few days were not easy-not for you or for me. We kept upping your pain medication-and you kept apologizing for me having such a boring holiday serving you your drugs all day! You managed to eat a little, but when you started getting sick to your stomach-I knew we had to get more help. You didn't argue, you were such a good patient!
Once your pain medication was administered, the worst was over—you could communicate more with us.
I am so glad I had this time with Nancy and Janet—and the girls. We were like the family of so many years ago once again. We had a chance to be with each other in ways that are so rare to find these days-deep, close, honest, real—thank-you Mom for arranging that!! I love my sisters-and I feel so lucky having had a chance to reconfirm and strengthen that bond.
A very nice doctor (he was so human-and so respectful-yet firm with the news he was delivering) came on the second day in the hospital, and after looking at all the tests, told you, and us, that there is nothing left that can be done. I am so proud of you—you accepted it- perhaps you always had—it was just us that couldn't!!
From that time on-it seemed as if your mission was to make sure that we received spiritual help parting from you. You didn't seem to need any help—for from that moment (of acceptance of death) you were already in a state of incredible grace. You would look at me and say—"don't you worry—I have help".
Janet put it the best when she said it was like you were going on a trip-to some wonderful place, and you were a little sad that we can't come along with you!!
You began telling us what special possessions you wanted whom to have. You even woke Nanc up in the night and asked her to write the name of a lawyer from the bank that we should be in touch with. But you did it with such little emotional attachment—"matter-of-factly". I believe that you had lost your "possession" on life—while we were still very much possessed with it—not ready to give up—still "clinging to life". You allowed your friends to come and visit-something you hadn't wanted earlier—because you did not look very well (you were quite yellow—and of course without make-up—and wearing a hospital gown). It seems that the "grace" helped remove some of the social masks we all have to protect us. You managed to find some good even in the doctor you so hated (after her visit, Janet made a comment about her lack of bedside manners—and you said she wasn't so bad—you need to look for the good!).
Ohhh, Mom, we all wanted to be close to you! You made us laugh, you told us truths-that you had never before admitted to and you forgave me again about moving to Israel. To this you said-"But Julie, you know I have already forgiven you—and then I said, yeah it's true—I guess I just haven’t forgiven myself!!-to which you responded by saying "so do, it, forgive yourself. So simple, so clear."
One night you woke up and said to Janet that it was ironical that our father died around this time. We didn't know the date—and you told us-October 6th. You said that on October 4th. You waited for that too, Mom. You passed on October 6th-the same day our father died, 41 years earlier. You passed with all of us by you (you even waited for Maya to come from work—it was so important for her—I am sure you knew!!). It was so important for us all to be together then, so once again—thank-you for that, for holding on…..
Then the next morning, you left a newspaper clipping under a picture in your wallet that I "accidentally" found. It was called "To Remember Me". It stared out with a description of exactly how you would die "in a busy hospital, on a bed with a white cover pulled over your head". You wanted your eyes to go to someone who cannot see, your voice to someone who cannot speak, your ears to someone who cannot hear. At the end, it says that if we do these things, and if we remember the good things, and put to rest the other, then you will have been remembered.
Mom, thank-you for the faith and belief in whatever it is that has created this life, and this death, that has been strengthened because of what have you managed to carry and convey through your life and through your dieing. Thank-you for the years of devotion and care you gave me as a mother and as a friend. Thank-you for the belief I have in the life after-and in all that this will bring into my life and in the choices I will make. And so you go on, and remembered, with grace and no fear, on to the next. Thank-you so so , much , Mom.
I am so proud.