Monday, February 11, 2013
A Perfect Ending
My mother-in-law was pretty coherent until her final day of life, which was such a gift. She had the opportunity to tell everyone that she loved them and we had the opportunity to do the same. She was cracking jokes and making everyone laugh. The day before she died, she was listening to Italian music and singing along with it.
The afternoon of her final day, it was becoming clear that this would be her final day. Her six children gathered around her bed and kept vigil. They only left her side if they absolutely had to. The extended family - daughters-in-law, son-in-law, grandchildren, their spouses, great-grandchildren - respected that sacred space and only went in occasionally and briefly to let them know that we were still there supporting them. We didn't say a word, we were just there.
Around 8 PM we were all called into mom's room. We stood in perfect silence, keeping vigil as mom was crossing over. At one point she stopped breathing and we were sure she was gone. Everyone started crying. Then she took another breath. One of her sons said, "Okay mom, you're in charge. You're going on your terms." Through our tears, everyone started to laugh. It was while we were laughing that she took her final breath.
During her dying process, she was trying to keep things light. She made us send her out on the wings of laughter, not a river of tears. It was exactly as SHE wanted it. What a perfect ending.