As I sit here contemplating my mom’s immanent death, I wonder what she is going through. My mom was always one to never sit still, to always be thinking about what’s next, what needed to be done, what needed to be taken care of. As she has been dropping into her coma like state… that end state where your awareness slowly goes away… in a burst of energy she has sat up three times and seemed to wake up out of a dead sleep worried about things she had to do. She wanted to make sure she took her medicines, she wanted to go to the bathroom… even though she has a catheter… she asked where her grandson was to make sure he was OK. I started wondering what it must be like coming to the end of your days… in her case, the end of over 83 years of making sure everything was done right and taken care of… sometimes scrapping for her very existence. To reinforce it even more, the last three years after dad died she lived alone and took care of everything… all of her day-to-day living… her meds, food, bills, phone calls… pretty much everything. Looking back, I guess I didn’t realize the stress she was under and the challenges she had… but that was how my mom was… she just took care of stuff. Dad had always told her to “be tough” and even as a child, her family reinforced that you needed to just take care of it all no matter how difficult it was or how you felt… you know… suck it up and take it. Even in her last days, she didn’t want us to help, she just took care of it.
I started thinking that, in a small way, I had experienced some of the same feelings… the ones that wouldn’t let you walk away from a project or a job. I’ve voluntarily left numerous jobs and I can vividly remember wanting to make sure everything was done, communicated, and tied up in a nice neat little bow. But it never happened… there was always something else to be done… something else to be communicated… more papers to be filed and put in it’s proper place… someone else to touch base with… What I remember very vividly now is the point I got to every time… sometimes later than others… that it was time to let it go. I couldn’t do any more, it wasn’t my responsibility any more, it was as good as it could be and I just had to let it go. What a difficult point for people like me and my mom. Letting go. It’s frightening, daunting even thinking about it… but I think death must be something like that… just letting go. Knowing that it’s OK to not finish all the things on your bucket list… that it’s OK to not be around to help others and that they’ll be OK… understanding that someone else will pick up the baton and carry on in life… that there will always be more to do than we can ever get done in our earthly lives.