Next week, we will be having my Mother’s memorial service at a local nature center. She finally passed away in April following a stroke. I felt relief for her that her long ordeal of dementia was finally over and that she could move on at last to the next thing, unencumbered by the body that let her down. I know that her belief systems assured her that our souls go on without the body and are freed to wander through time and space in ways that are difficult to imagine on the earth plane.
Mother was a metaphysical explorer in the second half of her life, and I spent many years discussing the concepts with her, reading her books, and entertaining lots of far-out ideas. I know she supported a group called “Compassion and Choices” that advocates a right to dying with dignity. Unfortunately, in Michigan, there is no such right and once she was well into dementia she would not have been allowed to make such a decision on her own, anyway. It was heartbreaking to see her hobbled by a brain that no longer served her well. For the last two years of her life she had lost the mental ability to tell her knees to bend and sit, so she could only be raised and lowered into her wheelchair with a hoist that terrified her.
In the almost three months since her death, my sister and I have sorted through her things and made decisions as to who will keep which items as remembrances. It was a bit painful one day when they removed most of her stuff from my home to gather it in my sister’s basement for distribution. I wasn’t ready. I sort of needed to sit with it and say goodbye on my own terms. I got through it, though, and am keeping some items that are special to me. Her extensive library of spiritual topics stays here so that I can occasionally browse and remember our discussions in her last two decades.
The memorial service will bring closure for the family. We already gathered to scatter her ashes in the river, so this will be a tribute to her life. I hope people come to remember her. Most of her contemporaries died before her so perhaps some of their children may come out of respect. I have not attended many funerals of my friends’ parents, so I shouldn’t be surprised if they do not show up. Even Mother had given up attending funerals in her last decade. I think it was painful and she did not like the risk of breaking down into tears in public.
Mother’s sister, Arlene, who wrote to her faithfully throughout her years of dementia, would have been brought out by my Pennsylvania cousins, but a month after Mother’s death Arlene was diagnosed with cancer and she passed away a few weeks later. Ironic. I believe Mother was there to greet Arlene and maybe even left early in order to be there first. One of those things you won’t know until it is your time, I guess.
So, one last public milestone to endure and then I can retreat to my private grieving process, on my own time. My mother was a remarkable person and I look forward to remembering her in her stronger years and feeling grateful for what she gave to us all.
Thank you, to my blogging colleagues, for your support through this process. I’ll continue to read what you write and think of you as friends.