Saturday, April 22, 2006

memories of goodbye

My mom died 29 years ago tonite. I remember that it was late. People were staying at our house because she was so sick. I was on the trundle bed in my sisters room. My dad came in and woke me up to tell me that mom had died. It was about 1:30am in Chicago. I was 10. He put me on his knee on the yellow and green chair that mom had recovered. She loved yellow. I covered my eyes and said, "no no no no no" while shaking my head. I remember that I was thinking that I watch too much television. Weird huh? I really thought that.
Then he woke Carrie. He took us into where she was laying on their bed. She had asked him to bring us in before he body got cold. A request that sounds so forensic, but contained love all the same. I don't remember much from going into that room. She lay where she had slept. Still. Laying. Breathless. Peaceful. My next memory is being back in bed, watching from a dark room out the open door. Movement in a late night house. Muted lights, muted voices. Then, people I didn't know. And a gurney wheeled out. My mom on it. She left our house for the last time.
The next day was 50's day at school. Dad said I didn't have to go to school, but I didn't want to miss it. I rememember getting there like a hazy dream. Like the memory has white clouds around the edges. A weird, uncomfortable smile on my face. Like I had a secret. The whispers began. "her mom died?" "whitney's mom died last night". "nu uh" "yuh huh". Then Mrs. Yost told that indeed, Whitney's mom had died.
Me, in my poodle skirt on 50's day.

2 comments:

Gail said...

Whitney,
I was there that night your mom died. John and I decided to take turns sleeping and then staying with her. When she died, her eyes were wide open and we could not close them. John said we shouldn't let you girls see her that way. We turned on the radio and there was John Denver singing one of her favorite songs, Annie's song and then Take me home country roads. We wakened you both and took you in to her and miraculously her eyes were closed and peaceful and she had a smile on her lips. It was so sad but God was definitely there with us and with the change in her face and the music playing, she was telling us she was okay. I believe we saw a miracle that night. I wrote out a long letter to be given to you at a later time and gave it to John but I guess he never felt the moment was right to give it to you and Carrie. It is probably gone now and just as well. I treasure the times I spent there the last few months. One day in the hospital I was sitting with her and she said "I want to go home". We got an ambulance and took her home. She was kept comfortable and lived another two weeks or so. She was a beautiful person and loved you all so much and kept saying how unfair it all was for you and John. I hope you are alright with this because I don't want to make you sad. Please take care of yourselves. Love Gail

keysunset said...

Indeed what love for your mom to have you girls have your last moments with her before the body grew cold.

Thanks for sharing this.