Yesterday,I took the kids over to my Mom’s house. I wanted them to see where she died,I thought it was important to do that. They’d never been in Mom’s house before,so they were fascinated to know what it looked like. We explored the sitting room and bedrooms first,before opening the kitchen door downstairs. The kitchen is where Mom died,where she drew her last breath.We shuffled in the door,as the room is quite cramped with furniture and boxes and stuff. I drew my hand across and over the floor space where her body had lain for weeks. The stains on the floor still remain,as well as the blood pool where her legs were. I explained that her head,when we found her,had been over a bucket, ”this bucket.” They wanted to see more,go closer. There had been a white plastic bag spread over the rim of this bucket,so we think Mom had been about to clean the ashes out of the fire. Then she must have felt sick,and ….well,we don’t know,we just don’t know.
We said a few prayers…at which point,I had to stop and take a few moments. The kids continued praying. When our prayers were finished I told them how sad it was that when Nana entered her kitchen that day,that she would never leave alive. She was about to take her very last breath very,very shortly. If she had known,how sad and terrified she would have been. I wonder…did she know? Maybe,but not until the final seconds,perhaps,for I know she would have sought help if she had believed the situation was that serious….or if she had time.
I wonder what her last thoughts were…even her last words. Her final thoughts may have been about how sick and odd she felt,and then…was there pain? And I wasn’t there for her. A few weeks ago I found one of Mom’s random notes written on a piece of cardboard. She wrote of one of her pet cats,about how she held him on her lap and rubbed his head as he slowly and gently passed away…how awful I felt that there was no one there to do that for her,my Mom,my wonderful,crazy,amazing,gentle,one-of-a-kind beautiful Mother…the most significant person to have been in my life thus far…How very,very tragic. And it is my tragedy as well as Mom’s,and it is my childrens-her grandchildrens-tragedy,too. Perhaps it is also humanitys tragedy…I believe it is.
I presented the facts of their Nana’s death to the kids as just that-facts,facts which I presented matter-of-factly. There was no other way to do it. I told them what happened and they accepted it. The thing is,I’m not sure if I ever will.