Dark thoughts.


Warning – I’m going off the rails of my usual blog fluff here. It’s been that kind of day.

Not sure why I feel I need to post this, perhaps the anniversary of my mother’s death is bothering me more than I realized, but here goes.

I read a series of novels written by Rob Hart recently…



It was a good romp, but in almost every book there was a section dealing with this topic:



They say you write what you know, and this author nailed it.

If you’ve never seen a dead body…. and I mean right after death, not processed by a funeral home…. I’m glad. I wish I hadn’t, because what he says is true.

My mother passed in a hospice. She was only there for five days and it was blessedly quick as deaths by cancer go. I was at her side every day, all day and into the night. It was horribly sad and utterly exhausting. I did it alone for the first four days but on the fifth, my husband insisted on coming. To be honest I didn’t want him there. He doesn’t wait well or patiently, and when you’re sitting bedside vigil that’s really all there is to do. My mother was heavily medicated and thankfully free of pain, but she was also mostly unconscious. He tried, but only made it until 5:00pm and then convinced me to leave for the night. She died an hour later. I’ll never forgive myself for not being there, but that’s not the point of this depressing post.

The point is that the author was correct. When I returned to say goodbye and gather my mother’s things a mere hour after she passed, the difference was startling. I don’t know what I was expecting, hers was the only recently deceased body I’d ever seen… but it was indeed just that. A body. Sunken in on itself and completely empty. Everything that was mother had vanished. In a perverse way, it made the final goodbye easier. She was well and truly gone, spiritually and physically.

It’s definitely not like the movies, neither serene nor beautiful.

Just empty.



42 thoughts on “Dark thoughts.”

  1. Dear friend, have you considered the possibility that your mother was waiting for you to leave so she could take care of the business of dying on her own? Mourn her – deeply – but forgive yourself.

    Watching someone die is also not pretty. It’s almost an out of the body experience because you are aware on some level that you need for this horrific thing to happen. You need to stop counting breaths. You need to know their energy lifted to some other place that isn’t filled with pain – medicated or not. And you hate yourself a little bit for feeling a twinge of relief when it’s over.

    Both ways have the same, ugly, empty end.

    Isn’t that enough?

    God bless you today and always. I’m sorry for your loss – even eight years later.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I can understand about the Dark Days. I lost my mom and it is as though my world stopped. I remembered her teachings, and think about the Happy Days I was given with her. Forgive me for being out of place , except I learned that Faith Helps. Stay Strong

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh River, I’m sorry that your going through this. As if the actual death of a loved one isn’t enough, we have the dreaded “anniversary” of when they died. I too went through that with my dad, because I was the emergency point of contact for the nursing home he was at. The dreaded call at 4am to tell me he had “taken a turn for the worst” didn’t describe that he was gone. He had passed away at 2:45 and the nurse had found him about an hour later. I hate that he died by himself, and when I saw him he was not my dad. At least not the dad I remembered, and what the author says is definitely true. I’m sorry for your loss, even though it was years ago, its still fresh in our memories.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I looked for a good place to add my comment. This seems a good place. I am not religious, I have no use for God or gods. But neither do I believe in oblivion. In my philosophy death is but a doorway to a new life, a new chance to learn about life. I don’t believe in reincarnation of a soul or ego, but I do believe in the reincarnation of the spirit in us that is life.
        Though the appearance of death, the empty husk left behind, is horrible to look at, I look instead at the journey the spirit is embarking upon. As you noted, your mother’s spirit was gone. It had left to begin something new. I have no idea what kind of life your mother lived, but considering she raised you I hope it was a good life. No matter, her next life will be better. That is the thing about life, it is always trying to i prove, to progress. The better the base, the better the progression.
        I don’t know about anyone else, but I never look at my loss, I look rather to the spirit’s gain, and this allows me to rejoice. Death is not about those left behind, death is about the person who does the dying.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. My mother had a horrible lonely childhood that damaged her emotionally, but a wonderful full life afterward. I’m not sure she always embraced the joy as she should have … but there was love and comfort. I’m not sure any of us can ask for more.
        Thank you for your sharing your thoughts. I know she’s with my father now and that’s all she ever wanted.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Your experience parallels mine. I left for a change of clothes, and she passed within an hour of my leaving. I turned around and drove back. In my family, the eldest take charge of the situation, and that would be me.
    I’ll not describe the scene, but it was horrid.
    Death is a part of life, but we must struggle against it. There is nothing beautiful in it …

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I too missed my mother’s death (Alzheimer’s disease) in the hospital by a matter of minutes. Although this was over 20 years ago and she no longer recognized me, I’ve never lost a sense of guilt that I wasn’t there.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Nick stayed in our living room for over 2 hours before the guy came to get him. I kept looking at him. He did not ‘sink into himself’ as he was already there with all the weight he had lost. He looked the same at the wake too. So thin it hurt me to look at what was once an incredibly vibrant man.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What happens ~ the why, the how, the when ~ is often outside our sphere of influence. How we interpret what happens can make or break us. We can create stories that lead us out of the darkness and into the light . . . or vice versa.

    Maybe your mother WAITED for you to leave because she was ready to go and did not want you to witness her last breath.

    Maybe you should focus on her LIFE and all the happiness she shared with you and others.

    Maybe you should change the story you’re telling yourself.


    Liked by 1 person

  7. That’s why my heirs (the ones getting my bills) know to get me to the furnace for my cremation before anyone can see me –I want them to remember me as the hunk they knew–I don’t even want visitors when I am in the hospital.
    I remember your mother as the lovely woman you talked about and that’s the one YOU have to remember!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. By the time one is on their deathbed, they are no longer the person we knew. I remember wishing my father-in-law would go soon the last time I saw him. He passed later that same afternoon. What I remember more is the man who like to grow roses and tell bad jokes. The man who, when I teased him the day after my wedding, called me a skinned bitch, a name that stuck and that I loved. I hope you find enough happy thoughts to pull out of your dark period soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I also wondered if your Mom was waiting for you to leave, so you weren’t witness to her last breaths. Maybe? Maybe that just makes my heart feel better about it.
    I’ve never thought about this though, what you’ve brought up but it does make sense. Once your soul leaves and you’re not ‘here’, why would your body appear to be so?
    I’ve not seen a dead person that wasn’t take care of by a funeral home already. My Mom was in hospice for two full nights; the first night I was with her and the second night I went to my Aunts to sleep and my Aunt was with her when she passed, so I missed that part just like you.

    I’m sorry you are having some sad/bad days. I hope you get through this melancholy time and know there are going to be better days.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It feels almost like a conveyor belt where a body is the final product. My young life was filled with the deaths of animals, often that I’d have to bury. I just couldn’t see them as having anything to do with the living versions of themselves. A person or animal is more than their flesh when they are alive: They are a series of chemical processes.

    I’m glad you felt comfortable enough to share your “morbid” thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s odd, but with my pets I didn’t feel that way. I’ve buried more than my share as well and it always seemed like they were sleeping. That maybe I was mistaken and they weren’t really gone. With my mother there was absolutely no doubt.

      As for sharing, sometimes I have to throw out proof I’m not all fluff and woodchucks.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. The nurses at the hospice where my dad died said that most of the time, patients – often unconscious like your mom and my dad at the end – often wait until they’re alone to pass out of this world. I don’t know how they “know” they’re alone, but there’s so much mystery out there. As hard as it was/is that you weren’t there at the moment she died, maybe it’s what she wanted??

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Until I read this, I hadn’t thought for some time of my own encounter with my beloved father’s body just an hour after he passed.

    I get it. Seeing their body, you think, Who is this? The sunken eyes and cheeks, the slack mouth, the pale skin, all scream: not my parent! It’s just a shell.

    And oddly, I found that comforting, because I could imagine his essence – what I loved most about him – was free, floating, returning to the dust of the universe, always there for me to feel when I needed. I hope you’ve felt something similar with your mother.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s