My momma-in-law passed away quietly this past Wednesday. We got a call around noon that she wasn't doing well and she was gone by 9:00 p.m. Aged 80, mother of six, grandmother of nine, aunt of eleven. She was our momma bird.
She'd not been doing well the last year or so after a stroke took her vision and parts of her memory.
She was little, funny, sometimes quite acerbic, at times self-absorbed and at times very generous and perceptive. We went through bouts of liking and not liking each other. But, over the last fifteen years, it was mostly all liking. Despite having diabetes for 46 years, she really didn't complain hardly at all. She just kept on going which I admired about her.
It's been a surreal couple of days, with her going as fast as she did, and as the events go on I'm becoming sadder. I know where she is, and am happy she's no longer trapped in her earthly tent, but I'm heading into "sorry for myself" territory now.
Mom was ready to go. Over the last couple of years, usually before we'd go to the dentist, she'd tell met that she'd probably not need another appointment because she was just going to fly away, which we'd chuckle over and tell her that we wanted her to stay with us. Until we saw her on Wednesday and her breathing was labored and we just wanted her to be able to sleep. She wasn't in pain, but her breathing was difficult and would stop momentarily and then continue. So I prayed that she would fly away home, told her that she was free to go at any time, and handed her off to her Savior.
Thursday, we sat down with a lovely man at the funeral home and went through a myriad of detail: what casket went with her outfit; what she'd hold in her hands; what book could be used for sign in. Then there are the flowers, the luncheon, the obituary, the wake hours, the funeral mass decisions...on and on. Thank you God for email as her children decided these things on line.
The wake was Friday. A mixture of people came - family, friends from college, friends from the old neighborhood, friends from church - and talking to those friends enables you to not think about the next day for a bit. I was very touched that so many folks, many of whom had never met her, made the trip down - a good hour or so - to see us.
The funeral is tomorrow and then we'll head over and clean out her room at the nursing home later. Progressively, as she's moved from the apartment there to the assisted living wing to the nursing home, our trips with her stuff have gotten more manageable. Most of it's in our basement and we're hoping to have a clean out party in the not too distant future. I don't mind the stuff - I have a huge, high tolerance for mess - but it should go if it's not being used and some of it really belongs to my husband's siblings.
But that last bit can wait. We'll be together at Christmas, all the McCarthys, and we'll have some time to mourn and laugh together. Now it's off to bed with me. Tomorrow promises to be a longer day than today. Sadly, my black fuzzy crocs don't go with funeral clothing.