Mom, when you die will you send me a sign? (inhale)
Sure, I’ll turn the statue of the Mother Mary around, and you’ll know I’m gone. (exhale)
Thinking we’d always be talking. Thinking she’d give me her things one day. Thinking she wouldn’t sink so deep into dementia she would try to French kiss her son thinking it was her husband and forget who I was. (inhale)
And here I was on Kauai, and there she was in hospice, and no statue of Mother Mary anywhere, and why would she remember, where was she all these years in the dark forest of not even yesterday.
Some days passed, and both my brothers called and I didn’t answer. (deeper inhale)
Virginia visited my dying mother and put the phone to my mother’s ear and I said loving words to her. (exhale)
I texted my daughter telling her that my mom was in hospice and she called me crying. And I had forgotten how much she had loved my mom, how unexpected and magical their meeting was when she was five years old. (inhale)
I went to bed last night, thinking I have to call her nurse again in the morning. (exhale)
I woke in the morning with a blinding pain through my head, razor sharp and grabbed my phone. I had a business call at 10:00 a.m. and looked at the time.
I got up, took migraine medicine thinking it was a migraine. Went back to bed.
Woke up to the phone. It was from New Jersey, her lovely nurse said she took her last breath at 2:09 pm. (deep inhale)
I hung up, got up, went into the kitchen and told Cora my mom died, took my business call, brewed some coffee.
Constance stopped by with a small black mask for the plane Christopher highly recommended and I gave her my jungle pants.
If you lose weight, she said, you can have them back. (inhale, exhale).
I called my brother Ken back. We hadn’t had a conversation without anger in sixteen years. We talked and I wanted to glue the phone to my heart. I thanked him for being my human shield when we were growing up at times. (inhale)
He said you’re welcome. (exhale)
We talked about mom and The Early Years and Genesis, and the mythology of life, and the stories we tell and his favorite theology teacher and how for years I told the story of a cousin’s husband being a dwarf and then one day saw him on Facebook and he wasn’t a dwarf. Was NEVER a dwarf. (inhale, exhale, hold breath)
He said he loves Shanghai. (inhale). He said he would call our cousins Cathy and Bill to let them know mom died. I said I’d call Tim.(inhale deeper, exhale)
We were laughing at the circus of family –and he said, mom took her last breath at 2:09. And I thought, who calculates that?
And then I was walking tonight, the green hills of Kilauea and I passed the horse with one blue eye and one brown eye, and I kissed his nose, and I saw the thin sliver of the new moon like a smile, and I thought mom, you DID let me know. Because I finally realized 8:09 a.m. Hawaii time is 2:09 p.m. EST.
She had woken me up to let me know, and now I was breathing for her… (deep inhale).
God speed, my complex Marmi – may your next incarnation be filled with Loving Kindness. (deep exhale).
And just like that, I let her go.