Mom passed in the night. Her heart failed. She died in her sleep.
I wonder sometimes, how that is. Did she wake up and feel something was wrong, and experience her own death? Or did she just fade away in a dream? On one hand, I would want, for her, to think it was peaceful, without fear or pain or struggle. On the other hand, you only die once, right? So might as well experience it, as all that is over soon enough.
She spent the evening before with her new baby grandson. I imagine her going to sleep with a contented smile and Quinn’s baby face filling her heart with love.
I imagine Allison in the morning, when Mom didn’t come down for breakfast, if she had an inkling. Then going into her room and finding her cold body there. Our mother, gone.
Quinn has no memory of it, of course. Yet there is a connection between them, he actually did meet her, and I love that.
When she called, I was on a break from work, outside on the grass. I went to my knees and cried. I hadn’t cried in a long time. A long time.
We had known that her heart was fragile after her heart attack 14 years earlier, so we all felt blessed for her to have those years. And she only had them because she was diligent about her heart-healthy diet, and faithfully walked every morning, and focused on good and positive things in her life, like making cross-stitch flower bookmarks, and the family calendar with her sister, our dear Aunt Barbara, with family photos and inspirational quotes.
It was the first such bad thing to happen to me. I mean, the first loss of someone so dear to me.
I was very close with my mom. When our folks split up, Allison and Shawn stayed with our dad, but I went with Mom. For a lot of my life, it was the two of us together. When she had her heart attack, I was at an age of exploring my own identity, and she was recovering and suffering depression and seeking to find meaning in her life. So we had philosophical conversations about what is meaningful, what is real, what is important, what is ethical. I know that time shaped who I am today, who I have been my whole life.
We were so close, so losing her was tragic, yet also I felt a sense of peace with it that surprised me.
A couple months after, she came to me in a dream. No words, just the presence of her face, smiling with full radiance, saying with her eyes: everything is alright, everything is okay. I can still imagine that moment and feel her, feel her warm encouragement and remind myself in the core of my being that, yes Mom, everything is okay.