Mom died in April
Friday, July 03, 2020
I think I can finally write about it. Mom died alone in an assisted living, not of covid, but of cerebral amyloid angiopathy, complicated by years of excessive consumption of alcohol. She was 93, so she did pretty well in spite of all that.
The facility was on lockdown (still is) when she died. They let me in to see her the day before she died, gowned and masked, but Mom was in her final coma so there was no communication, at least not from her. I told her we all loved her, we all appreciated how wonderful a mother she'd been. I hope she heard me. I hope she didn't mind that her other two children weren't allowed to be there.
I had to deal with the funeral home and cremation alone, get her ashes alone. They let me in to the facility a week later to have someone (their covid approved moving company) move all her stuff out. We had just moved her to assisted living in late October, then again to memory care just 3 weeks before she died, so there wasn't much left. I gave away her cherry dressers that she'd had since she married in 1946. I couldn't have anyone to help me, I had to do it alone. I never thought the end would come so quickly, and that I would have to handle everything alone, as alone as the way Mom died.
Two months later, I finally was able to see my kids, outside, well separated and masked, no hugs, and only one at a time. I saw my sister this week when she came to get the paintings she'd lent to Mom. I still haven't seen my brother.
There has been no funeral or memorial, we can't get together during pandemic. I still haven't put a notice in the paper, I keep hoping I can announce a memorial, but that is looking impossible. I just hope that we can have our family Thanksgiving and Christmas, we can remember her then. Her absence will be glaring and sad.
Mom's parents were both widows of the 1918 Spanish flu, they married because Nana needed someone to support her and her family, Poppy needed someone to keep house and take care of his children. Very practical, no love involved. The result was Mom, and she was the precious child that all of them loved completely, she kept them all going through the Depression. Pandemic bookends for a life.
It's been 3 months now, a long time to not be able to hug my family. I haven't had the solace of church. There are a lot of deaths due to covid, but many more of natural causes, none of us can mourn with family, whatever the cause of death.
I discovered that Mom and Dad had purchased grave sites at a cemetery in Maryland. She never mentioned it, I found a folder in a box of genealogy papers. I was hesitant about putting them so far away, but as the days go by the idea gets easier. It's close to where both of them grew up, their parents and siblings are buried there. One of the things about cremation is that I can still hold her close, but at some point I have to let go and follow her wishes. Just not yet.
The 1918 pandemic lasted 2 years, then vanished, it's been over a century now. This one, too, will pass. We'll all get back to normal, but a sad normal without Mom.