Seven months after Daddy died, so did Mom.
Dad’s sickness then death was sudden but Mom had been ready for a while. Mom was tired of fighting for breath and she wanted to die. She wasn’t scared of dying, only of suffocating.
We surrounded her as she lay on her bed at home when she ran out of breath. And that’s what it was like. No gasping. No struggling. No fear. Her breathing slowed…..a gradual peaceful stilling of her chest……….then her breath was no more.
Mom was gone. Mom and Dad were gone.
We sat in the same room at the same funeral home with the same young funeral director as we had seven months earlier and I thought about how nothing was how I thought it would be.
But I thought about it as if I was looking on, separated from all of it somehow. Everything was muted……..kind of dulled………what I heard, what I said, what I saw, what I felt.
In between the deaths of my parents my marriage took another hit. We’d struggled for a while and it was already so fragile. I was really scared for my marriage this time. A real kind of scared.
Maybe that was the last time I’d felt anything full-strength. Maybe a part of my heart shut down. Maybe the Zoloft was doing what it was supposed to do.
As I sat there with my sisters around that table choosing the hymns to be played at Mom’s funeral service I remembered comments Mom and Dad made. Some of them to me. Some to others about me.
Mom and Dad had noticed my fading. My distance. I wasn’t myself and they were worried. I told them over and over I was fine. I think I thought I was fine. I think I thought everything would be fine. But they saw what I couldn’t see.
The thing about fading is that it happens slowly. So slowly you don’t feel it or see it. It goes unnoticed at first. Then the heaviness gets heavier. The darkness gets a little darker. And you get used to walking around in the dark.
And I kept doing what I knew to do. What I had to do. Because the world doesn’t stop when your marriage is crumbling or when your Dad gets sick and when you just need time to think about things and feel things and mourn things. The world doesn’t stop.
Then it was heavier and darker and I was tired. The kind of tired that goes into my bones. I woke up ready for each day to be over.
As we reviewed the order of the funeral service, the words of one of the hymns came to mind:
O Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed
How great thou art, How great thou art
Then sings my soul, My Savior, God, to Thee
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!
And I wanted my soul to sing again. I wanted to wonder again at all that God has made.
I’d not lost all hope. There was still some in there.
How great you are God, my Savior God to Thee, How great you are!