It is a quiet mourning. Even the words stopped their breathing. The hospice nurse kept checking her fingers. They were bluing. The fever, that was making a last ditch effort to rescue her body, broke. When I laid my hand on hers it was cooling.
My baby sister held that hand a few days ago. She and her mom agreed it was comforting and then tears. She was my mom too, but at that moment she and her were they.
“We are the you and I who were they whom we remember.” Wendell Berry
Ellen, my older sister read that aloud. It is a sentence which requires more than one reading. Its truth applies not just to Wendell’s decades love for his wife, but it applies to any long term relationship. I witnessed this truth over and over again. My siblings would all rotate around my mother’s bed and it would echo a book from younger years. “Just Me and My Mom.”
It was grace upon grace. We knew when to let another into the country chair with the cushion. We took turns to sit close enough to count the freckles on her arm. There was no positioning, no “saving a seat”, no arguing over whose turn it was to ride “shotgun”. It was grace on grace. Our mom became my mom to each of us.
Our Mom moments are tucked into the breast pocket of our hearts. No longer is there a seat close enough to catch her breath. We will “sit still” as she so often sternly said. We will sit still with each other now.
For my siblings as we process the next days, weeks, and months.