She'd been in a long term memory care facility for just that long.
The young women who cared for her delivered her medications that morning.
Mother said she wanted to sleep longer.
The young women returned forty-five minutes later, chatting and laying out Mother's clothing for the day.
She was dead but still warm when my father arrived.
Having been through years of hellish suffering, Mother at last went to sleep and simply didn't wake up.
We had prayed for that kind of exit from her broken body and mind.
And now, we are without her.
We have begun the first holiday season without her in our midst, shining during her favorite time of year.
I feel broken myself. Tired. Sad. Normal activity requires monumental strength. Today, home with a sick child, I am given the opportunity to reflect and rest. My boy, now eight, wraps his sweet arms around me constantly, or holds my hand, rakes fingers through my hair.... for these weeks, there has been more contact even than usual. We have given up the pretense of starting him in his own bed even.
Driving in from "town" to Papa's house the other evening, our boy asked, "Where are Diggy's ashes?" When asked by his father why he thought of that at that moment, our boy replied that we'd just passed the place in which he and I last saw her, a week before she died there.
These associations tether us to the living and to the truths of being part of something larger than ourselves. The very next morning, my husband, who'd brought fresh laundry up to the bedroom of my teen years said, "I really like our kid. I just like him so much. Somehow, folding jammies always makes me think of that."
Our boy has encouraged me to again go on a Facebook fast, as I did last Advent. "I get more time with you," he says. And so....
My sister and I created our Advent wreaths this year from cuttings from her yard, dried grape vine wreaths and candles procured by our husbands, holders lifted from Mother's considerable stash.
We are quiet. Waiting. Hopeful.
- Unexpected God, your advent alarms us. Wake us from drowsy worship, from the sleep that neglects love, and the sedative of misdirected frenzy. Awaken us now to your coming, and bend our angers into your peace. Amen.