My mom died yesterday. In typical fashion, she managed to do it so that she wouldn’t ruin Tenzin’s birthday (July 2nd) or the 4th of July. She was basically in a coma for the final 24 hours, but I could almost hear her figuring it out so that no major holidays would be adversely affected. That was my mom. She even requested that her memorial be on a Saturday so it would be easier to come to and people wouldn’t have to take off work.
We’ve been basically living at my parents’ house for the last two weeks, so today, with the kids playing and the adults getting dinner ready, it almost seemed liked she was still just in the bedroom, resting. It kind of feels like yesterday didn’t really happen or like it was a movie I was watching. My dad went to check on her around 4:30, and she was gone. We all came in, sat on the bed, said goodbye. We put her in her Chicago Cubs T-shirt, as requested, with her favorite rosary and picture of the family. Then two nice men from the crematorium came to pick her up. Tenzin and Newt helped them put her on the gurney, and everyone followed her out to the front steps and watched her get loaded into the truck.
I don’t know if every family is like ours. If it is, I feel truly sorry for the two men who came to get her because it was like a scene at the wailing wall in front of my mom’s house. If four children sobbing and crying, “Bye Nan,” doesn’t make you crack, then nothing will.
So today, we are in the continued weirdness of being busy with death. Making memorial arrangements. Going through her things. Writing thank-you notes. Visiting with people who drop by to see how we’re doing. This is all on top of trying to pull together Elfie’s 60-person birthday party on Tuesday (don’t ask). What’s scary is that as busy and difficult as things currently are, I know it’s nothing compared to what’s coming. And that’s the void after it’s over. I’m pretty sure I’m going to need to up my anti-depressants.