A year ago, today was the last day my mother was conscious enough to recognize us for a few moments. The next morning on July 20th, 2022 at 8:44, I watched the vein in her neck cease its throbbing and called the nurse.
There was nothing and everything. I didn’t know what to expect and yet I think I wanted something to feel different. Some knowing, some reassurance. What? Some kind of presence, her soul to make itself known that she was at peace and going home.
But there was only a silence. Two nurses, one staring at the watch on her wrist, the other with her gloved fingers on Mom’s neck, searching for proof of death.
Then faces with mouths moving, saying things that made no sense. Blur. Did I even cry? We waited for the funeral home to come and take her away. I shut the door of my car and drove home in the opposite direction.
Mom used to play her guitar and sing folk music like Leaving on a Jet Plane, 500 Miles, and other sort of sad songs. Sometimes she would cry while playing and as a child, I would cry with her even though I didn’t know the reason. She had a beautiful voice and I could not hold a note. There was one song she played, and I knew it was just for me. It was our song.
One of the very last things Mom said through her garbled speech and then halfway wrote on the paper with the pen I helped her hold was, “You are my sunshine.” You’ll never know how much I love you.
I would give anything to hear her sing it again.
Please don’t take my sunshine away.
Hug the ones you love. xoxo