This was not the day that I had planned for today. I am supposed to be on Cape Cod right now, celebrating the wedding of my friend. I should be wearing a bridesmaid dress, though I’m certain the shoes would be long gone.
Instead, I am sitting at my kitchen table at home. My sister and I just finished writing up a list of hymns to be sung at our mother’s funeral on Monday. She had a list ready and we just had to sift through them, which is good, because we’re neither of us thinking very clearly yet.
There are so many little snippets from the last 36 hours. I have been sitting here staring at the screen trying to figure out how to weave them into a story to share. And … I just can’t. Not yet, anyway. I am so tired, and sad. I think maybe I’m so tired I don’t even know yet how sad I am.
The machinery of death has taken over our lives for a few days. And this is good, really. Rituals and traditions can chafe sometimes, but they can also provide direction and comfort. If your head isn’t really in the game, sometimes being told what’s next is nice.
The machinery doesn’t always work perfectly, though. About eight hours after Mom died, her house phone rang. When Mary Lou answered, someone in billing at the hospital asked for Mom’s Medicare number. Because they hadn’t gotten that before she was discharged. “Discharged?” we said afterward, “Is that what they’re calling it now?”
My nephew sent me a picture last night from his phone. Because the way I saw her last is not the way I most want to remember her, I’ve been pulling this up all day instead.
I love you, Mom.