“Mom just died”
That was the text message that I received from my sister at 1:45 pm on Sunday, 12 January 2014. My Mom went out on her own terms and had a lot of family around her in the days before she passed away. She was just one month short of her 93rd birthday.
She had called me on Saturday, 4 January 2014, said she wasn’t feeling well and asked me to take her to a doctor. The doctor pinpointed the problem as one she had had twice in the past, and that had previously needed to be corrected by surgery. On the doctor’s advice, I took her the emergency room where they concurred with the first doctor’s diagnosis. She was admitted to the hospital, but, after three days, she was ready to go home. The entire time she was in the hospital she was adamant that she did not want to undergo any more surgery; she has been saying “no more surgery” for more than a decade. The last time she had this condition the surgery did not go well and it took her a year or more to recover. She was aware of the severity of the condition, was comfortable with her decision and at peace with the ultimate outcome. She said that she had had 93 good years, and, if it was her time go, so be it.
So, I drove her home, and, after less than a week of home hospice care, she passed away on her own terms. We all respected her decision and were prepared for the final outcome.
The memorial and the Shiva services were held at the independent living facility where my Mom and Dad have lived for the last two years. As the rabbi was speaking at the Shiva service, you could hear the baby sounds from my eleven month old granddaughter in the background, and, somehow, it just seemed right. The alpha and the omega. One life had ended, another one was just barely beginning. The cycle of life continues….