Anyone who doesn’t miss the past never had a mother-Gregory Nunn
My mother-in-law, Marge.
She’d laugh when I’d say the word fuck in regular conversation.
She taught me to be strong-willed. Stubborn. Outspoken. To fight if necessary.
She told me when I was wrong.
She liked a good drink. Or two. Or four.
She taught me to make my specialty, Pineapple Upside Down Cake. It really IS the shit!
She taught me that life has no guarantees. That you have to live every day the best you can.
That you may get sick but you can’t ignore it. You have to live even when you are dying. Force yourself to get out there, even when you are in pain.
She taught me to be strong, even in the face of death. I saw her put up one hell of a fight, every damn day of her illness. Colon cancer. Even when she knew the inevitable end was coming.
I sat in on the consult the day we had to decide to turn off the machines. It was my sister-in-law, Anita and I that told her three boys that they had to let their mom go. That she needed to be with Dad. She had waited a long time to be with him again. If she had been able to get up out of that bed, she would have kicked our asses for waiting for so long to let her go. It was a week, but it felt like an eternity.
On that mild November day we turned off the IV drips, the monitors and all the machines keeping her alive. We gathered around her. Prayed, laughed, shared our happy and sad memories. We waited for her last breath. For her release. I moistened her tongue with water. Applied chapstick to her dry, cracked lips. Told her how much she meant to me. That I loved her.
I had to leave the room. I headed to the maternity ward. I had to see new life. I looked at the babies in the nursery. I smiled. Realizing that life really does go on. They gave me hope. My brother-in-law walked up to me. Told me it was time. Mom was going to die soon. As I walked back into the room, she took her final breath. There were tears. Relief. For her and for us. I smiled, because in those first few moments after she died, I knew that Dad had found her. He took her hand, and their love story would continue on in Heaven.