May came and went and mom hung on.The first weekend in June I visit her. I sit on the bed, she opens her eyes and says, “Did you have lunch?” Just like I was visiting her at home. She reaches for my hand. She puckers her lips; she’s thirsty. I get her water and a straw. She tries to hold the cup herself while I support the bottom. She says to me, “Next time.” I know. She wants it cold. Ice cold. She takes my hand in hers and kisses it.
I had a premonition on the ride over that it would be the last time I would see her. I am reluctant to leave her.
I had one last visit with Mom. A bonus visit. The Sunday before she passed. Her nails are freshly painted pink. She eats 5 spoonfuls of applesauce. She wants to sit up; she wants to put her socks and shoes on. Where is she going? After I dress her, she stands with my help, walks to the end of the bed. Takes a few more steps. She's weak and exhausted. She sits back down on the bed. She says, "I miss Tacony."
She is ready to lay down again. I help lift her legs on the bed, tuck the blanket around her. It's time to go. Arthur and I have a long ride home. I kiss her face, rub my fingers through her hair. Walk away and return to repeat this several times before I finally say, "I have to go Mom. I love you. I'll see you later." She lifts her hand and waves to me. "Take care," she says.
She passed away on Tuesday, June 12, 2018. It was my 8th wedding anniversary. It was an honor that she chose that day. Her mother passed away on her wedding anniversary.
I prepared the program for the funeral mass. Made a board of photos from her life. Gathered comments from friends and family about Mom. I did it with joy. It would be the last thing I do for her.
The funeral mass was at Our Lady of Consolation in Tacony, PA at the church she grew up in, the church I grew up in. Laid to rest in St. Dominic's Cemetery next to my dad, Paul, her mom, Angelina and her father, Pasquale.