Mummy died yesterday on Easter afternoon. Perhaps it’s somewhat symbolic given the nature of the holy day.
Most might say she “passed away,” but I have no issue with directness.
“Died” is direct. Flowers die. Trees die. They wither as their cells cease to receive nourishment from the earth and rain.
“Passed away” has religious origins as a way of expressing that the deceased has gone to the other side, and it often helps people soften the blow, or express death in words they feel are more respectful.
In my mother’s case, given how congested her hospice room was with dead people coming and going during her final month, I suspect she’s with those souls now—or on to her next life.
After the nursing home called one of my brothers with the news, he went to her side. As her body was cooling, as preparations were being made, he held her hand and wished her well on her next adventure.
Just a couple weeks ago, as Mom lay on her hospice bed, she expressed some misgivings about the embalming and burial ahead of her.
Mom: I don’t want to be in a box. I want to be in a jar.
My brother: And where will we put that jar?
Mom: On the bureau.
That’s so emblematic of my mother. Basic. Often humorous in her simplicity. It reminds me of a visit we had to a butterfly conservatory in Costa Rica.
My mother and I were sitting on a bench in the shade outside the conservatory when a female naturalist from our group joined us on the bench.
Naturalist to my mother: Did you enjoy the butterflies? What kinds did you see?
Mom: Oh yes, I did. There were lots of different kinds… red ones, blue ones, yellow ones.
The same with flowers. My mother never learned the names of the annual flowers she planted every Spring. She went to the nursery and bought her favorites: pink ones and purple ones.
RIP Mummy, Mother, Mom. I’m glad I was able to spend time at your bedside with my siblings just a short while ago.
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In tribute: “Wolves” by Down Like Silver. One of my very favorite songs. It reflects my own feelings about death. I find it comforting.