Doing what needs to be done, feeling calm, slept well last night. I did have a brief crying fit yesterday and kicked a box in the garage (think I sprained my toe), but today I finalized the funeral arrangements, and tomorrow I will actually go to the office. The funeral is Thursday. I was off yesterday and today, and of course will be off Thursday, but my employer gives Three Whole Days for "bereavement leave," which, if your Aunt Fanny kicks off and you need to travel to, attend, and return from her funeral, is probably enough, but when it's your parent and you are tasked with sitting with her while she dies at 4 a.m. on Monday, and then making the arrangements and notifying people and stuff, and are also personal representative on the estate and have to deal with her house and everything, 3 days? A bit lacking. I have not been on my job long enough to have accumulated any leave time, and I need to deal with my own life at some point (way overdue for doctor and dentist and eye exam and suchlike), and crazy selfish bitch that I am, I'd like to take a vacation one of these days. I've heard of these things called "vacations," which apparently involve traveling to someplace far and not sleeping on an air mattress, or using days off to make home repairs. I'd like to try that.
I really appreciate the comments and condolences. It's tough, tougher than I can say, but once again, I am being all strong and practical and coping because I have no other options.
Yesterday was a week long. I can't believe all that happened. After my day started at 2 a.m., I got home from the hospital a bit after 5. Couldn't sleep, of course, but eventually I got tired enough to take a brief nap, then got cleaned up and tried to get hold of Girlchild, and while I was waiting, I went to vote. My mother would have appreciated that - she had re-registered to vote in this county and was going to vote. She was passionate about politics, and until she became too sick to care, was a fan of Keith Olbermann and also the Daily Show. She died the morning early voting opened, so I went to vote, because I know she felt it was very important. Then I made her funeral arrangements.
I have to say this - when my husband died, I was the recipient of a lot of kindnesses from my online friends, and online/real life friends. I was very grateful for the Internets and Internets/IRL Love, but honestly, for those of you who know how to find me: I do not need candy, flowers, or (God knows) yarn. If you would like to do something nice in my mother's memory, please send a few bucks to the ASPCA if you feel like it. My mother was a huge animal lover - she loved animals and they loved her back. My father used to call her "St. Francis," because she befriended birds, bunnies, squirrels, and of course, cats and dogs, and they all loved her back. She could drive people right up the wall at times, including me a lot of the time, but animals saw the goodness of her heart, and adored her.
We will have a very, very small and, I think, very pretty funeral at Florida National Cemetery on Thursday.
My horoscope this morning was weirdly on target:
You've got to think long-term now -- you're in a unique position to affect your future! Even if you don't know exactly what you want or how to get there, you can still make a good guess.
Too tired to guess just yet, but yes, for the first time in my life, I am not responsible for another person's life as well as my own. What a weird feeling. A bit like being in freefall at the moment, but I will adjust. I always adjust.
And I have to thank Rachael for sharing the most wonderful words ever. (Rachael, am I remembering this correctly?) I hope she doesn't mind that I found them so perfect I bookmarked the site and am borrowing it for my own mother. Considering that most of her nearest and dearest - my father, both her brothers, her beloved aunt, and others - passed in recent years, I love the imagery of this:
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says: “There, she is gone!”
Gone from my sight. That is all.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says: “There, she is gone!” there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout:
“Here she comes!”
And that is dying.
Henry Van Dyke
She's gone from us, but my father and her brothers and so many others are glad to see her.