Thursday, April 26, 2007

Goodbye, June

My mother-in-law died Friday.
Poor June. She has been bed-ridden for more than a year. She has been in hospice since mid-January and she had not eaten or spoken in two weeks. She was so sick for so long.
And yet, we were totally unprepared for her death.
The hospice worker told us that was not unusual but you know how it is with those hospice workers. They are truly the kindest people on the earth and I suspect sometimes they say things that make you feel better even if what they are saying is not exactly the absolute truth.
On Thursday, we were told that although her health continues to decline, her vital signs are still (relatively, I guess) good.
So I thought it was OK that I went to the conference in St. Louis as planned.
I got on a plane just after noon on Friday. Around 4 p.m., my husband called and told me his mother had taken a turn for the worse. At 8 p.m., he called to tell me she had died.
I knew that would happen. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. Everybody says that. But I really did know it would happen. My husband and I have sort of put our lives on hold for a year. He didn't want to be far in case anything happened. And yet, nothing had happened in more than a year so when this conference -- about online news -- came up, I decided it was time.
Time to go.
And then I got the phone call.
I ducked out of the conference and got a plane home on Saturday.
We had her funeral on Monday.
I'm not sure if this all makes me a grown-up but my husband and I have had to do a lot of grown-up things in the past few months. And, just when I think we are doing OK, another decision has to be made.
My mother asked us what we were going to do with the ashes.
Ashes?!? Don't they just keep them? They give them to us? Will they just keep them? What should we do with them?
See? A person has it under control and then, something else comes up.
Maybe there is no such thing as a "grown-up." Maybe we all just wing it. Maybe we all pretend we know what we are doing when we have to make tough life decisions.
Do you think?
I bet I know who does know. A hospice worker. I think I'll go find one to ask.

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