If I could have scripted the last hours of my mother’s life, I would have written it a bit differently. But life is not like the movies, and neither is death. I arrived at her bedside in time to share one last conversation, and it was about makeup. Seriously. Had I known it would have been my last time to speak with her privately, I could have used those moments to speak words of comfort, love and blessing. Maybe that’s the reason for the mystery. I probably would have created a contrived moment selfishly designed to make me feel good about myself when I tell the story like I am right now. The truth is, she was giving me a hot tip on some new mineral makeup just before the doctor arrived with the news that would shape her final hours. We never finished the conversation.
We took turns sitting at her bedside. When I found myself momentarily alone with her, I started to sing. Knowing she would soon be in the presence of God, I sang songs I thought might match those of the angel choir. If I could have scripted it, she would have passed from this life to the next while I sang. Then I would have had a great story.
The truth is, I was not even at her side when her soul was set free. I had taken my young daughter back to the house to sleep for the night. I am jealous of my dad, my aunt and my uncle who were with her at the very end. If I could have scripted it, she would have waited for me. But if I would have scripted it, I think I would have put myself in the center of the story, instead of the beautiful transfer of a life well-lived into eternity.
It’s been almost two years now and I miss her still. Sometimes I miss her more now than I did even in the days immediately following her death. Those days were filled with details, busyness, family and friends requiring my attention. I had no time to mourn.
This Mother’s Day, I will be mourning, and missing her. I have the bottle of Sunflower perfume, my last Mother’s Day gift to her, waiting on my dresser. I will be wearing that fragrance on Sunday in honor of my remarkable mother.