The part of this blog where I write mostly about my mom is coming to an end. I do have another post that I will write in a few weeks, but I write this tonight because
tomorrow evening begins the final kaddish for the year. Although mom died at the end of January, the date of her death on the lunar calendar begins tomorrow evening and ends on Friday before Shabbat. I want to mark this anniversary with a short memory.
On the night before my mom, the beautiful, energetic and vivacious Irma G, fell into the deep sleep that led to her death, I had the privilege to tuck her into bed. She was coughing and very weak, but mom was such a strong woman that I didn't suspect that she was using up her last burst of strength on that day.
Mom and I walked at a snail's pace from the community room to her room. She was bent over and walking was hard for her. With some difficulty I got her into her nightgown and then folded her into her bed. I covered her with her quilt and as I sat on the edge of her bed, I held her hand in mine and kissed her on her forehead. I said good night to her and told her that I loved her. I can still feel her thin hand in mine and her warm temple against my lips. I stroked her hair, which is something that she loved. She fell asleep quickly.
The next morning my brother and I got a call to come in to The Falls. Mom had a fairly quiet night. She woke up to take her early pills in the morning, then fell into her deepest of sleeps. She never really regained consciousness after that. She died a few days later at the age of 96 1/2.
We take so much for granted with those we love the most. So many words exchanged that we take for granted. So many moments squandered on trivialities. So many glimpses and glances where we don't really see the people we love the most. Missed opportunities. Occasional cross words, impatience, pettiness. The behaviors we feel good about and our many regrets. A mountain of collected moments and experiences condensed so tightly into that final goodnight. A lifetime of taking someone for granted reduced to three words, "I love you."
Let's remember to hold the ones we love close to us, no matter what their age. Be patient with them, give them time and attention. Have sensitivity for who they are and their feelings. Try to understand them even if they are different from you. Time and attention are the greatest gifts we can give to those we love. We all need time and attention.
Don't forget to tell them you love them. Don't take them for granted, for our loved ones are the air we breath, the water that keeps us alive. They are our sky, our earth, our strength, our goodness. They are our very hearts.
"Good night, mom.
Don't let the bedbugs bite.
I'll see you in the morning light.
I love you."