Wednesday, February 27, 2013


It’s over.

My mother passed away last week, two day’s shy of her 86th birthday.

Those of you who knew my mom knew how she was. Those who didn’t were unfortunate. Now sure, that is an easy thing to say, but it’s also true. I have never met a more selfless person in my life. To the very end her concern was always about her children and others than herself. Whenever I asked her how she was doing, the most she would talk about herself was to say, “I’m tired, son,” and then would ask me how I was, or how my son was doing.

Mom had dementia, a disease I classified using the word fascinating. That seems a rather odd, clinical way of viewing what eventually took her life, but from my point of view it was accurate – a woman who humbly called herself a Bookkeeper but in truth she ran the fiscal aspects of million-dollar companies who could no longer manage paying her bills. It’s a heartbreaking disease, but I thought it fascinating.

So the suffering my mom went through is over. She’s rejoined with the love of her life, my father.

I wish that was where the suffering ended. Mine has just begun, as it has for my siblings. We are each in our own place with this, and our unfortunate reunion last week was far from nice and cordial. We each hurt, as we each are venting. Sometimes at each other. Feelings are very raw. Long-festering resentments exploded. Harsh things were said.

But I don’t care. That’s their shit. Our mother died – that’s what happened, and my purpose of writing this is not to call out my siblings. I have my way of coping and they have theirs. I wish them peace with this.

By my count this is the fourth story I’ve written about my mother. The first one was over four years ago when she was first diagnosed with dementia. At that time, in 2008, I said nah, she’s just getting old. Denial. Then next one was three years later when it was obvious she was fading into the black hole of dementia. We called in hospice and had her put into a facility – for her own safety. I mean, lighting her cigarette on the gas stove with her grey hair dangling way too close to the blue flame was proof enough for me that she could no longer care for herself.

So her final place of residence on this plane was a care facility in Kent. But last week, we took a nice step for her. On the funeral procession, from the church to the cemetery, we drove by her house. I know mom liked that.

How do I know that?

Because she spiritually re-entered that house.

How do I know that?

Because weird stuff started happening between that Friday afternoon and when I left Sunday morning. Things fell off shelves. The washing machine inexplicably started running. I heard voices. Now, before you think I’m starting to get dementia, I heard them – low mumblings, incomprehensible ‘chatter’, like a white-noise-like sound. But it was there. I heard it.

And I smiled. Dee was home.

And she can now leave whenever she damn well feels like it.


Tony Bryan said...

The things we 3 experienced this past weekend, although a little eerie, makes me happy to know she's home. I miss her very much.

Paul Casey said...

JB- I wish I had the chance to know her better. I have enjoyed your heartfelt stories about her life and illness. Take care.