Rise and Fall. Rise and Fall.

Mom with her daughters, June 10, 2019

“She’s still sleeping peacefully,” my eldest daughter, Alexis, texts from my mother’s room at 6am. She has spent the night curled up in the easy chair in the corner of her room, keeping watch.

Along with my sister who lives on Gabriola Island, she flew in last night from Vancouver. The nurse at the centre where my mother lives had suggested we ‘gather the family’.

“I feel like I am fading out,” my mother whispered late last night as the three of us sat around her bed.  “I know my time has come.” And for a brief moment her gentle humour glimmers in the room, “So why am I still here?”

For a 97-year-old, her heart is strong. It is her body that is failing her as her will to live fades with each breath.

Surrounded by her 3 daughters and 2 granddaughters, my mother sleeps. Her breaths are short and shallow. Her contorted, arthritic hands lay folded on her chest. It rises and falls with each breath. I watch the movement closely.

We sit and chat. We sit in the silence. The lights are dim,  The midnight hour is upon us.

My mother opens her eyes. “I’ve had a good life,” she whispers. “God has been good to me.”

And she closes her eyes again. She drifts back to sleep. I watch the rise and fall of her hands on her chest.

Yesterday, she saw my father. “He is waiting for me”, she said. And then she makes an effort to smile. It is a small one. She doesn’t have the energy for more. “My mother and father are waiting too,” she says and closes her eyes.

And I keep watching her hands on her chest. Rise and fall. Rise and fall.

23 thoughts on “Rise and Fall. Rise and Fall.”

  1. I remember many ‘watch and wait times’ with my dad over the last few years of his life. Each time we visited a hospital emergency room the staff would ask if wanted the DNR (do not resuscitate) order to stay in place. Each time he would smile and say, “I’ve had a nice life”.

    For all of us, we don’t know when our time is up; in my dad’s case it was a call from the hospital telling me to “get here, now” at 5:30, I was with him by 6:15, talked with him and he knew me – knew how he was talking too, then he slipped in unconsciousness. They pulled away all the equipment at 6:30 and he was gone by 7:30 but not before a good stretch of snoring …

    Warm thoughts,

    Mark

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Louise, May you, your sisters and granddaughters enjoy these precious moments that will become an everlasting memory of your Mother and Grandmother for her spirit lives within you, forever. 🦋 ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a blessing for all of you to be together surrounding your beautiful Mom with so much love, caring and support at the end of her journey. It brings back so many memories of the day my Mom passed just 3 days before her 97th birthday. She passed so peacefully and I felt so blessed and privileged to have been able to be there for her as she left our world…..it’s an experience that I shall never forget and I know she felt all the love in the room as she left. She was looking forward to being with my Dad as well as her parents which gave me great comfort. I miss her every day but am so thankful to have had her as long as I did.
    The photo of your Mom and sisters is so beautiful of all of you……her loving soul will always live on inside of you…….sending my thoughts and prayers your way.❤️🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Our mothers are close in age, so I read this with empathy. It occurred to me that these are women who are unintentionally heroic in their later years. The energy it takes to sit, breathe, think and yes, even smile are Herculean – and yet they do. It reminds me – at 68 – to enjoy the many physical things my body does automatically, which will become a frustrating memory, when my body reuses to cooperate with my brain.
    I pray you peace.
    Jennifer

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jennifer, As I watch the sunset spread its light on the river’s surface, I have been scrolling back and reading comments. I love your words of our mother’s being, ‘unintentionally heroic’. Reading them today, in the face of the dire news around the globe of Covid 19, I am reminded of their heroism and find strength in your words. Thank you. ❤
      .

      Like

  5. Jackie, so sorry to hear about your mom but what a wonderful tribute! May all of you find peace in your own hearts as you wait.
    Our thoughts & prayers are with you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank-you Marianne and Steve for you comforting words as they are appreciated very much. Hugs, Jackie
      P.S. I am so grateful that Louise (my youngest sis) is able to write so beautifully…it is a special gift!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Louise. How eloquently you write at such an emotional time. I can imagine the scene so easily as my mother is 93 and my mil 98. They are both failing and ready as well but the heart is strong. May you find peace that you were all beside this remarkable woman. Hugs.
    Bernie

    Liked by 1 person

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