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Wednesday, December 7

Dottie

Russell's Mom had 9 children, all of them as different as snowflakes. They are all here now, except for a son who passed away a few years ago. They stand around her hospital bed and stroke her hands, touch her cheek, joke about what the others are doing. They tell her "I love you, Mom", "rest", "here we are". The nurses smile tender smiles at the gathered families, but there is no sign from them that this is anything other than what it is. A long goodbye.

We drove through the night to get here, knowing yet not knowing what we would find. What we found was this quiet, sad, accepting knot of siblings standing guard. And Dottie. Breathing with help from machinery. Her face, peaceful yet different. Her life ending. At least this part of it.

I loved this woman. I loved her spirit, her dry sense of humor, her love of books and crossword puzzles, the conversations we would have about religion and family and kids. Nothing much got under her skin and I so admired that. But as Russ always said, when you have 9 kids, you pretty much have to have a Zen quality about you. She didn't suffer fools, but she accepted them for what they were.

As she aged, she lost most of her hearing and vision. Never complained. She just got audio books and a headset.

Tomorrow they are going to disconnect the machinery that is keeping her "alive". She will stop breathing, we will lose her.

But I will remember how she always wanted to feed me as soon as I walked in the door. How she would make 3 quick kissing sounds against my cheek. How she loved breakfast at a diner decorated with cow knick knacks.

I was blessed to have this woman in my life. I loved her.

2 comments:

EightSusquehanna said...

Lovely piece. Dottie sounds like quite a gal. Made me love her, just reading this :)
My sincerest condolences.

linda said...

Pat and Russell...Christmas is so bitter-sweet..I am sorry for your losses this year and celebrate your Cancer Free status..Think of you often..Our paths will cross again..Love and wish you happiness and peace for 2012... Strange to type that date..Is it possible? We must be aging also.Love,k Linda