I got the call at 11:15pm from my brother.
My uncle (Mom’s brother) and my brother were each holding her hand, one on each side of the bed. Her best friend had been in to visit and had just left 5 minutes before.
She was surrounded by loving hands and hearts in her final hour, and for this I am grateful.
Strangely enough, I am also grateful for the gift that cancer gave our family: the chance to say goodbye over time. The grief process began in early January, when Mom was diagnosed with cancer. By mid-March, we knew exactly what type of cancer we were dealing with (stage 4 appendiceal cancer) and we knew the prognosis. We had 3 months (to the very day!) to prepare for her death, three months in which to say “I love you” and grieve and say goodbye.
So now, I am not numb. I had my tears and I will have them again, but I am feeling strong tonight — strong enough to face the morning with a different kind of farewell. Tomorrow is the last day of school for my younger kids, filled with goodbyes and thank yous.
And I can do this. I have to do this. EB’s graduation is Saturday morning.