14 December 2011
I don’t think confusion is one of the five stages of grief and yet that’s exactly what I’ve been feeling the past couple of days. My mother’s passing two weeks ago has left me feeling dazed. “What just happened?” I find myself asking, as I walk through my now intensely quiet house. Didn’t my mother’s new doctors tell us three weeks ago that she still had months to live?
And yet, she died.
15-months ago, my mother’s previous doctor told us she would be dead in six months or less.
And yet, she lived.
Confounding? No doubt about it.
Is this all a dream? That’s a good question. Is it?
Like one of those incredible, mind-altering magic tricks, my mother simply disappeared. One moment she was here, the next, gone. Trouble is, the greatest magician in the world cannot make her reappear.
Those bedside images – like waves crashing up along the shoreline – wash over me countless times throughout my day. I can’t seem to shake them. I see myself standing over her bed, massaging her legs. She doesn’t see me. She is calling out to dead relatives, speaking – with what seems to be vivid recognition – to her late grandparents. She asks them to help her. She eventually pleads with them to help her. I desperately dial the hospice nurse for instructions. The voice on the other end of the phone gives me directives, directives I do not like.
“I have to do what?..
I don’t think I can do that…
I don’t want to do that!”
She tells me that no one will be coming.
She tells me that I must administer the morphine.
My heart is racing. My hands are trembling.
This is not the way things were supposed to end.