Sunday, April 18, 2010
Donna Jean Boughey Wagner
July 16, 1925 - February 24, 2010
So, it's taken me a long time to try to write this. I'm not sure how much detail I want to rehash. It's strange getting used to someone being gone. It's strange going to my mom's house, sorting her things into piles for her children, the inevitable garage sale, and Good Will.
I hate seeing her clothes. Her jacket was slung over her walker in her living room, just waiting for her to come back, but she won't. I avoided washing a bag of her laundry that I'd taken to my house from the hospital, and when I finally opened it, only a couple of weeks ago, the clothes still smelled like her. It was a gut punch, and I bawled my eyes out, clutching her stained sweatpants as I leaned over the washer.
What was she thinking those last few weeks? Was she thinking? She couldn't speak well, she'd been very confused and hallucinating. As it became clear her body wasn't going to work the way she wanted it to, she just seemed to check out. She withdrew, settled into her own mind.
We had to just let her go. We honored her wishes as set forth in her health care directive, and we felt like we were killing her. It was freeing to have decisions already made, and made by her, so when we were asked how to proceed, we could say, this is what she wanted. At the same time, we likely hastened her death in doing as she asked, and there's no feeling of liberation in that. There is the knowledge, though, that she suffered less and that we did as she wanted. Still, what if she changed her mind? We'll never know.
I talked to her before I left her the last time. I told her she was a good mom, that I was glad she was my mom. I thanked her for giving me a good life and teaching me everything she had. I thanked her for being a good grandma. I told her I hoped Heaven was real and that Dad was there waiting for her. I told her I'd miss her. I told her I loved her. I touched her face, feeling her full cheeks, her wrinkly forehead, her round chin. Then I kissed her goodbye and went home. She died a few hours later.
So now we're all getting used to life without her. We've been busy trying to settle her estate, and I've enjoyed seeing my siblings more. It's funny the different memories we all have.
My kids had a hard time, and it brought up a lot of memories for Eric of his mother's death and life. We've held one another a lot in the last several months. Love and hugs are good healers. And so is time. Sometimes it seems like it's been so long since she died. Other days I remind myself it really hasn't been long at all.
Now Mother's Day is coming up. What a strange day it will be without her.