Is She Really Gone?

Is she really gone? I keep asking myself that. My head shakes no as I ask myself. But, then I picture her beautiful, lifeless body on her bed and I’m forced to believe she is not here. Not like she was, at least. Her last pose was perfect- closed eyes, smiling lips, PEACE.

I got to spend one last awful and amazing night with my mommy last night. When the evening started I thought I was just giving my dad relief for one night of many hard nights to come. As the evening progressed, and mom’s symptoms increased, I kept telling God this was too hard. That she couldn’t go on like this. I couldn’t imagine her doing this night after night. God, this has to stop.

I called Hospice twice during the middle of the night. I followed their advice, and there would be  little improvements. My call to the nurse at 4:45am gave me the news I couldn’t bear, “She’s going into active death.” Really? Now?! But, I knew that. I could tell. How is it that one week ago she was out and about!

I woke up dad (who had been half-sleeping in the guest room all night). We held her and told her we loved her. She would smile when she could and pucker her lips in a kiss now and again. Karen, Chuck and Scott came right over. Thank God, Mom was still coherent enough to look at them and love on them. She even made Gage (Scott’s son) give her 2 kisses.

And then there was a moment when she closed her eyes and didn’t fully open them ever again. She was breathing hard. But, the pain should have been very minimal. We kept her comfortable. We thought she might revive a bit when we moved her into the hospital bed that was on it’s way. We sang choruses and hymns together. We laughed and told funny mom stories. We cracked up telling mom’s old argument about what a spatula really is. We talked about her beloved granny fork.

And then her breathing was different. Go get Dad and Chuck! (Why are they pulling weeds right now?!)  It was almost the end. Her breaths were barely there. And all 19 of us were surrounding her bed. And then the phone rang, and it was April, from Scotland. At the most perfect time in the whole wide world. I told her it was almost the end. And then it was. And we were all there. And our shoulders rocked and tears streamed down. And we covered our faces and we shook as Peggy was still.

In the silence, the background music suddenly became audible. “A box of chocolates for me to eat…” From My Fair Lady. I couldn’t help but point it out. “What music is playing right now?!” And there was laughter through the tears.

Dad prayed. Thank you God for letting us be loved by this woman. We all lingered by her bed for a long time. Stroking her and loving her.

And now the day is nearing it’s end. Aunt Carol has come from Alabama. Aunt Lynn is on her way from North Carolina. Peggy Jean and Johnny have driven from Arizona. Others will be coming too. Neighbors and dear friends have stopped by. And it has been a good day.

Never has there been someone like Peggy Ann. Thank you mommy for your life.

“I’m in the Lord’s hands, and so are YOU (imagine her pointing her finger at you)!”

-Peggy Leslie

Kate HagenComment