I meet with a group of seniors every week to work on writing the stories of our lives down to be passed on to our families. One of the gentlemen in our group ended his weekly essay with the memory of how well his wife had died. That interested me because my mother also died well. She and I had been extremely close, and many years before she died I asked her to try to tell me, when the time came, what she was experiencing. She made no guarantees, but promised to try. When inevitably that awful time did arrive, I was grief stricken to know I would soon lose her. To be honest, I had forgotten about the promise, but she apparently had not. Mother was home and on hospice for a week before she died, and my siblings and I were all with her. Each day, I could tell she was a little less in this realm and a little more in the next. She conversed with us less frequently and seemed preoccupied with ethereal matters. Two days before she passed, she looked around her room in wonder and said “Aren’t they beautiful? Can you see them?” “Who, Mom?” She just shook her head and repeated, “They are so beautiful.” The next day she was again clearly seeing entities that we could not. At one point she said to us, “They are telling me it’s time to go. But I don’t want to go.”
Then stay,” I replied.
I had been sleeping with Mom all that week because I could not stand for her to be alone when she died. My brother, sisters and I were all visiting in her room before retiring, when she looked at us collectively and said “Go to bed!” My siblings kissed her goodnight and departed. I was pulling back the covers on my side of the bed when she whispered, “You, too, Leslie. Go to bed.” “But Mom,” “I said go to bed.” The next morning, there was a frantic knock on Gary’s and my bedroom door. My sister Nancy lamented, “Leslie, come quick, Mom’s gone.” I ran to her room prepared to become hysterical, but what I encountered was my beautiful mother with her arms outstretched, palms up, as if she were holding hands with someone on either side. Her angels had come for her, and she was clearly okay and not afraid. Nor am I, anymore.