Monday, April 14, 2014

slow, soft farewell

I called my mother this afternoon.

At 98, she is bed-ridden, hard of hearing and, if the attendants' reports are to be believed, slipping slowly away. There is some thought being given to bringing hospice care to bear -- something more attentive to whatever pain she might feel as time passes. Her vital signs are good, her pain seems to be minimal, but the spirit is slipping.

My age and weaknesses make a visit to New York unlikely.

The aide put the phone to her lips. I could hear the aide saying, "It's Adam. It's your son. Say hello." I could hear the shift in my mother's breathing, as if she were making an effort to refocus her being ... and perhaps say hello. But in the end, the effort was too much: She couldn't do it.

So there was her breathing.

In the end, what is there but breathing?


  1. I'm finding lately that i prefer my dream life to real life. The dreams are a bit chaotic, but so is real life. And in dream lie i'm able and pain free. I wonder if in the case of natural death, if it isn't a matter of readiness, a longing for freedom from physical decrepitude. I imagine going to bed, slipping into a dream, and staying there.

  2. Failed to proof read that one, in the third sentence, life not lie. As near as i can tell there's no editing involved in dreams, another plus. lol

  3. My shrink once told me he had taken a death course ... some sort of appreciation of the fears and uncertainties and other attendant trinkets. The upshot, according to him, was that he was content: "Death is just like sleep."