Rosemary and Remembrance

“There’s rosemary; that’s for remembrance: pray, love, remember.”

~William Shakespeare

It was Sunday morning at the hospice house.

It had been 3 days since I spoke with my mom for the last time as delirium and paranoia set in, and she finally slipped into a coma. Her last words to me, “hey Stephie!” followed by the last time she would ever stretch her arms out to hug me. Oh how I wish I had known it would be the last hug, I would have pulled her in a little closer, rested in her arms longer. But alas, we aren’t privy to those details.

It was Sunday morning at the hospice house.

I remember the doctor rounding on Friday. I said to her, “Mom is laboring her death and it’s really hard work.”. She agreed through eyes of great compassion as she tried to assure me that mom wasn’t aware of what was happening, that she wasn’t in any pain, that she wasn’t disturbed by the changes in her breathing patterns, that she was comfortable…

It was Sunday morning at the hospice house.

My cousin, Christy, had been with me since Friday when I said, “come, I need you; I can’t do this without you.”. It had only been a week since we set up mom’s room with great intention: Reese’s peanut butter cups and her dum dum lollipops [the blue ones, mind you], pictures of her kids and her grandkids, a framed printable of her favorite Bible verse (Isaiah 40:31),each lovingly placed where she could gaze upon them as she walked through the days ahead…

It was Sunday morning at the hospice house.

The nurse, Amy, came to assess mom first thing and encouraged me to call in anyone who wanted to be present when she died as the time was drawing near. She looked at me and assured me it would be okay then directed me to pull anything I had in my back pocket out that might help me usher my mom to the threshold of eternity. She was referring to the frankincense essential oil I had brought from home. For 7 days, I had diffused grounding and balance blends during the day, lavender in the evenings, and breathe throughout each night. THIS morning, however, called for frankincense…

It was Sunday morning at the hospice house.

The pauses between each breath were increasing, the death rattle had settled in, and death was approaching. With Christy on her right side with me on her left, she opened her tear-brimmed eyes [and] took that final, agonal breath. As she did, one tear escaped from her left eye. I held her hand said, “run, Mom, and don’t look back; I love you’.

It is Friday morning, 4 years later, 6:19 am, at my house and I’m missing, remembering my mom.

Rosemary that’s for remembrance.

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