She started off angry. When the doctor gave her 4-6 months to live, she said she felt like he had given her a death sentence. I had to remind her that none of us get out alive and she had 80 good years to show for the life she had. She said her doctor was still a "s#%t head". But she eventually accepted it and tried to keep a good sense of humor through the pain that she felt. She told me that she wanted to be buried with her wedding rings still on ("check to make sure the mortician doesn't steal them") and that she wanted to be dressed in comfortable clothing, "even if it wasn't dressy".
My niece is getting married tomorrow on the other side of the world in Johannesburg, South Africa. Mom wanted to go to the wedding in the worst possible way, but knew she couldn't. She said that the only way she'd see the wedding is if she died beforehand so her spirit could be there. Last night when I called to tell my sister that Mom was gone, I told her to keep watch tomorrow at the wedding in her garden, because Mom was on her way and would be there.
I spent the last three days with her. My sister-in-law and another niece were here to help, but it was mostly my duty to administer her morphine every hour around the clock. At night I'd fall asleep and wake up exactly an hour later, without the aid of an alarm clock, give her her morphine and then fall back asleep in the chair beside her - to wake up an hour later and repeat the process. The rest of the time I'd talk to her and hold her hand or sit next to her working on a beadwork project. She had the luxury of dying at home and in her last hours she roused a little to tell us all she loved us before she wandered off again and began talking to her mama who had died almost 50 years ago.
My dad is feeling a bit empty now and I'm staying with him for a few more days until he adjusts to being alone. His cat is a comfort for him and he has friends that he talks with on the computer. My brother lives next door, so I know he'll be watched over when I'm not here.
My mother and I didn't always see eye to eye. She was a strong personality and had very firm ideas on religion and politics that I didn't always share. But I'm glad I was able to take this journey with her and see her off into the next world. And I'm sure that I'll probably get a glimpse of her in my own garden someday soon.