Tag Archives: experience

Going out on that limb again.

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Okay, I know I said my last weird experience post was the finale but after I blogged them all… I realized it actually wasn’t. The following is what I wrote three months after my mother passed. Her wish was to be cremated but she never told me what to do with her ashes. Being an only child I agonized over the decision, but knew that part of her should rest somewhere in New Jersey where she spent some of the happiest years of her life. It was an emotional trip for many reasons, but what happened on this particular day really hit home.

Rivergirl

October 20, 2014

I knew….

The third day of our trip started much like the first. My husband was up before dawn and went downstairs for the free…. but barely edible… hotel breakfast. Think watery eggs and rubber sausage.

I took a shower and as I was getting dressed, realized I should do what I had been putting off.

The purpose of our trip was to bring my mother home and I’d been stalling with walks down memory lane. I knew I wanted to spread half of her ashes at the Jersey shore where we’d spent many happy summers. She always loved the sea.

I stood there in the hotel room, feeling sad… missing my mom…. and set about the gruesome physical task. There’s something surreal about holding the remains of your loved one in your hands. The weight of a lifetime.

Of course I started crying. Wondering if I was doing the right thing, doing what she would have wanted. The grief flooded over me like a wave…

And then, when the task was done and she was evenly divided, I smiled…. because I realized I had double baggied her and she would have loved that.

Remember her fondness for baggies?

After I wiped my tears, I reached for my purse which held my much needed makeup… and saw something on the table. The table that had been perfectly empty a half hour before when I stepped in the shower.

I gasped. And started crying again….

It was my mother’s white bobby pin.

She was such a pill about them. Would never use any other color and they’re harder to find than you might think. She hoarded them… and started fretting when she was running low. They were in every room of her apartment, in every pocket of every coat and every sweater she owned. She was never without them…

But I didn’t carry them. Ever. And I certainly didn’t pack one to take on the trip with us. Why would I? My husband didn’t put it there, he was downstairs eating breakfast. I suppose a random white haired maid could have snuck in and dropped it while touching up her ‘do while I was showering…. but I’m guessing the odds of that are pretty high.

There’s no reason on earth why a white Bobby pin should have been on that table… except one.

My husband walked in the room a few minutes later, saw me crying and looked lost.

He didn’t believe me when I told him…

But I knew.

I knew she was there with me.

I knew.

To this day I still can’t wrap my mind around what happened. A physical embodiment of spirit? Get the straight jacket ready and tidy up the rubber room, River is on her way.

It’s been 7 years since that crazy bobby pin appeared out of nowhere, and if I think about it too long I begin to doubt it happened at all. But then I walk into our bedroom and look on my bureau under my passel of Alex and Ani bracelets…

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Hello momma

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And I know.

I know it did…..

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Going out on a limb… part 6.

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This will be the last  I never knew River was such a loon unexplained experienced post. Strange things happen, and sometimes you have to blog about them. Which is what I did after my mother passed…. and now again because  Swinged Cat  asked me.

Weird event #6.

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Wow.

Added: Wednesday, July 9th 2014 at 8:54am by rivergirl

I have one more amazing experience to share with you, and for me…this was the most meaningful.

As I’ve said before, the people who work and volunteer at hospices are angels in my eyes. A more compassionate, caring set of individuals you’ll never meet. They were there for me at the worst time of my life…. even when I didn’t think I needed them. They walked me through the process of death and held my hand. Literally and figuratively. They offered a shoulder to cry on and a hug when words weren’t nearly enough. They shared their stories of helping others through difficult times and it ended up helping me.

One woman told me of a patient who had terminal prostate cancer. He was given 3 months to live and was surrounded by his large, loving, Italian family at all times. They came in rotating shifts, cooked meals, read books and played cards. One afternoon while his favorite grand daughter was visiting he told her he was a little tired and wanted to take a nap. She said, “Okay Gramps. But we’ll be right outside when you need us because we’re not leaving you for a minute.” 10 minutes later, forgetting her purse in his room, she snuck back in quietly and found that he was gone.

He needed to spare them the pain of his passing and chose his time.

Make of that what you will.

When you’re sitting in the hospice rooms… there are books, pamphlets and literature on dying scattered everywhere. They’re meant to be helpful, but for days I couldn’t bring myself to read them. Denial is a wonderful thing.

But as time wore on and things got progressively worse, I picked one up.

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It was written by a nurse who has witnessed numerous deaths in her career. And as hard as it was to read…it was also strangely fascinating. Because I learned that it’s a very defined process, death. No matter what your disease or illness….you will die in clearly recognizable steps.

Reading about the months prior to death I realized my mother had been showing the signs. She’d given up reading, which she loved. She’d given up the New York Times crossword puzzle, which she whipped thru in pen. Her appetite had gone from small to non existent. Her sleeping patterns had changed. These are all part of the process….the pulling away from life.

So I sat, I waited, I cried.

And then it happened. It was an afternoon when a social worker had come to talk with me. At this point my mother had been completely out of it for almost a week. You couldn’t wake her and she didn’t speak.

The social worker had gotten up and walked around the room, looking at all the photos I’d brought. We stood on opposite sides of my mother’s bed and spoke of my father and the strange experiences I related here earlier. I had tears rolling down my face when I told her I knew my dad was waiting for my mom. We turned, made our way to the door…. and then? My mother woke up.

Her eyes were as clear as day… and she found me across the room. I rushed to her side, leaned over her bed and held her hand. I told her I loved her. She looked like she was trying to say something…. but couldn’t. Her breathing became labored.  I leaned closer, kissed her and told it her was okay. That it was her time…and that I would be alright. I told her she would be with dad again soon.

I told her he’d been waiting for her a long time and it was okay to go. I told her he was right there with us.

And then the strangest thing happened. She turned her head, reached out an arm and looked right past me….in every sense of the word. Her eyes went completely glassy. Like a curtain had been drawn. Her breathing calmed, she smiled…and I knew. She’d found him.

She closed her eyes and went back to sleep, but I knew the best part of her was already gone. I’m sitting here with a lump in my throat and tears splashing the keyboard, but I tell you at that moment….I felt such an overwhelming sense of peace.

And grace.

I kept a bedside vigil for many more hours. And reread a passage in the book about what happens when death is near…

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Well, I recognized it…. and it was amazing.

She died later that night. A half an hour after I’d left.

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