To Her Last Breath


When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder

if I have made of my life something particular, and real.


I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,

or full of argument.


I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world

Mary Oliver, “When Death Comes”



My mom died last month, so sweetly and gracefully. Like a colorful fall leaf, she gently floated to the ground. I miss her so much. Yet how wonderful it was that her funeral was thoroughly a celebration of her life, where numerous lives all connected to her crossed paths once again. We came together in love with her, and joyfully saw the best in each other for this precious day.

It is quiet now. There is no more expense of loving energy used to care for the parents we loved. If not careful, even the pretense to engage with distant family members could start to fade away. But, only in this silence could I see a miracle: To her final breath she showed her children what a good death looks like. To her final moment, she did what only parents can do. She showed us how to live.

For I realized her good death could only be born from her living a good life. Mom, I hope you are smiling on me from heaven that I learned your final lesson well.

I love you.


Postscript: I struggled to write this post only to find that I kept getting in my own way, that the sadness I felt was still too strong and raw for me to put into words what I was feeling. I simply could not do it. After a long discussion, Tedrowe was able to write this for me, to convey what I was struggling to, to put into the words of this post that which I most wanted to express about my love for my mom and all that she has given me. Thank you, Tedrowe.





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