I’ve been trying to write about a moment between my mother and I, our last real time together. I start then I stop, then I delete then I begin again repeating this cycle. Try as I might to translate into words the memory, which is so clear in my mind, I fail. Maybe I’m not ready to share that simple moment, and yet I want to tell my friends and family that this is how it went. This is what she said, this is what I said and this is how it felt. Maybe I’ll never be able to truly convey that moment, here’s one last try.
It was Monday afternoon three days before she died. I had just taken her untouched lunch away, when she asked for help to the bathroom. She could barely stand at this point without great effort and that four foot walk was grueling. When we made it back to her bed she said she wanted to sit up for a bit. I had started to kneel down to help lift her legs when she asked this. So there I was kneeling by my mother’s bedside looking up at her. A lot of years had passed since I had to literally look up at my mom. She was very still, quiet with her eyes closed, I was worried that this was it. That moment I’d been waiting, dreading was finally here.
But she looked at me and said, ‘give me a hug Jon’. Boy did I ever, I wrapped my arms around her with my head buried in her chest. I started to cry….no I began to wail like a child and for the last time my mother held me in her arms. I think she could feel it coming, death was creeping up on her, slowly stealing the life out of her. She knew her time was slipping away so with that knowledge she did what all good mothers would do. She reached out to give comfort to her child.
I’m not sure how long that hug lasted, it felt like an eternity. But like all good things, she gently whispered ‘Jon let me go I can’t breathe’. And with those words the strangest thing happened, we started laughing. It was a good laughter, genuine from the heart. I helped her lay back, held her hand for a while. We smiled at each other. That was our time, our time to say goodbye. It was done without ever saying the word; it was done by sharing what we both felt.
It’s been almost five years now since that day, that moment. It has and will forever exist in my memory, my heart, my very core. She gave me a gift, a wonderful loving gift. She was my mother.