Half A Decade Ago

If feels like yesterday…

[Dad’s back porch. Pennsylvania. Photo by me, 2017.]

In the slightly more than four years since they had moved to the house from the one where I grew up (on Long Island), even in cool weather Mom had sat in that rear screened-in porch chair. Five years ago today, she died due to complications from lung cancer at age 72 just inside at her home there in Pennsylvania. I was at her bedside and wrote this here the next day:

Her death was, insofar as we could tell, peaceful. She had deteriorated rapidly in recent days, and we were sensing the end was approaching. It came mid-afternoon: I was messing around on my iPad, sitting at the kitchen table feet away from her (her hospital bed had been set up in the dining room), and my Dad was in a chair next to her watching television. We had thought she was sleeping…. then we realized she wasn’t moving at all….

After we ascertained she was gone, my father walked away down the side hall, I heard him blurt out an “Oh, God, no,” and then he went quiet. She had been sitting upright in the bed propped up by pillows and her head had slumped to the side. I took a moment to be alone with her: I kissed her now lifeless forehead, and paused as I thought briefly on how while her troubles were mercifully over our lives going forward would never be the same. Then I headed around to the lounge to inform my sister, who was as of yet unaware.

Shortly after, I phoned the hospice service. One of the nurses came by about an hour later. She officially pronounced Mom dead.

If you think you cannot face the worst moments in life, you are wrong. You can. Trust me, you have inner strength you do not even imagine you possess.

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