Mom’s Death: A Month of Journaling, I

I still don’t have a lot to say about my Mom’s death almost a month later.
It is hard to talk about.
The couple of days before she died I did this journal entry above.

She’d been in and out of hospital for a bit, stepping into dementia late, at 96.
I personally think it was from being on so many painkillers —
they could not operate on her cracked hip at her age.
I think it all whacked her out… constant pain killers for a couple years.

The night of her death I told Mitchell I could feel death in the air.
I don’t usually talk or think like that — but there it was.
I drew a sketch of the two horses (from pics), wrote about it on the end (which I do),
and assumed it was because of worry about a friend.

But I really could not settle in to sleep.
I sketched the image of the Vista House, and began to think about Mom.
I thought about her being afraid to die, and we’d had conversations about that fear.
I began talking to her in my head while I sketched,
about her pain, about the new place she was in (hospice, and a great staff),
having conversations about her letting go if she was so uncomfortable and unhappy.

I reminded her of the conversation she had with her priest when she informed him,
years ago, of her plans to be cremated — a no-no in the Catholic Church.
He told her that she could not buried in consecrated ground,
wh ch of course is supposed to mean (my shorthand her) that God can’t find her.
She informed him that her faith in the power of God was much greater than his,
And she was sure that the God who made the Earth would find her if her ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean, and furthermore, that this Earth she loved so much,
and that pacific Ocean she loved so much, were blessed, consecrated grounds.

I reminded her there was nothing to be frightened of,
she had a strong faith in where she was heading and that she’d see Grandma and Patrick and Michael and Folly and Sweetie (and yes I named them all)
and had been around many people who died, peacefully.

I finished the sketch at 1:45am, suddenly so sleepy I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

She died in her sleep at 1:30am.

I thought I’d be ready for her death.
In fact, I barely cried when I first found out.
The relief of knowing she was going to avoid even more pain…

What I didn’t expect was the days that followed and are still following,
because it is a bit like a carpet being rolled in front of me.
As it rolls, I have another experience…

The first time it really hit me I walked into the market with Mitchell
and saw the stands for goodies for stockings.
I always made boxes for her — not just at the holidays —
and seeing the things I would have bought for her —
thought to buy for her as if she were alive — broke my heart open.
I wept in the market — all through the market.

Thinking of others who lost a parent recently…
Or are struggling in hospitals and hospice this year.
Carol and Willow and Donna and Pascale and Oceanens and Lois and Sherry.

To part II…

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About dkatiepowellart

hollywood baby turned beach gurl turned steel&glass city gurl turned cowgurl turned herb gurl turned green city gurl. . . artist writer photographer. . . cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist and interested in the study of spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business mpfconservation, consummate blogger, making a dream happen, insomniac who is either reading buddhist teachings or not-so-bloody mysteries or autobio journal thangs early in the morning when i can't sleep
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17 Responses to Mom’s Death: A Month of Journaling, I

  1. bikerchick57 says:

    Katie, I clicked on “like,” but wish there was a “love and hugs” button. My heart aches for your loss, but it sings for the peace that your mom is experiencing. No doubt God has found her and is embracing her in love. He sees all and knows all and I’m sure has GPS. 😉

    Take care, my friend, and let your emotions fall where they may. Dad has been gone six years and I still have moments when I miss him terribly and tear up. It will be the same for my mom when she finds her way home. Our loss, yes, and we must deal with the grief, but also focus on the fact that they are in a much better and painless place. ❤


  2. Dan Antion says:

    The little things that remind us of our loved ones who are gone eventually become a blessing. They are hard to see at first, though. The journal pages are beautiful,


  3. jansiking says:

    Beautiful drawings and thoughts! I can relate to your description of your feelings during the progression of your mother’s approaching death and to your experience in the market thinking of her. Very heartfelt and lovely words and drawings!


  4. anne54 says:

    What a strong and moving experience. It must have been so reassuring for you to know that you got to say goodbye and bring her comfort, even though you weren’t sitting by her bed. Because I am sure she knew you were sending her those thoughts.


  5. stacy hannon says:

    I just read your email and my heart goes out to you. I know this pain and wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I first lost my Hero, my Daddy, to cancer three years ago. And even though we had the chance to say our last Good byes, and thousands of last I love you’s, and one last phone call and hug and so on, it still hurts like mad. And then last year, I lost my Mom to an overdose. It’s very different when it’s unexpected. And because I was angry at her for not doing the right thing. The first few months of “firsts” as I call them are rough. The first time you go to call them and then remember you can’t. The first mother or Father’s Day, the first Christmas, etc. There are so many firsts that are painful. And then people starting saying the cliches which only made me angry. So I avoided people. If one more person had said they were sorry I might have punched them in the face. But they meant well. I just want to say that if you need to talk or cry or laugh or all of the above, I am here for you. Take all the time you need to heal too. I don’t care what anyone says, time does Not heal this kind of hurt. It only makes it more bearable. My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours. Much Love, Stacy 

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone


    • I hear you on all of this.
      My first husband died and I bite off a few heads before I finally realized they simply didn’t know what to say.
      It is so strange for the ones who are left to have to care for the people around them who mean well, or are so uncomfortable with death they are scared to be near it. At that time the worst thing was when someone said, “You are young; perhaps in time you’ll meet someone else.” Good grief! Though it was true and I did I was not in a good space for it!
      Thank you Stacy xo


  6. loisajay says:

    Katie–I am so sorry. It is weird (for lack of a better word) the things that hit you out of the blue that make you remember–when you know you didn’t forget, in the first place. I hope this makes sense. I cannot journal–just cannot put down the written word–but I so love yours. From your writing to your art….Much love.


  7. Sherry Felix says:

    Our mothers are resting in peace now. My mother was unable to swallow and other functions shut down. I miss her.


  8. aeronm says:

    Ah, this road. I have been there too. It is so strange….. the challenges going forward…. thank you for sharing your story. I LOVE how your mom told the priest about consecrated earth and her trust that god would find her…. that is awesome. And true. Has she visited you yet? This happens. Sometimes as a bird on the windowsill… sometimes a piece of paper suddenly flutters to the ground from somewhere. You will know it’s her. Meanwhile I am sending you big hugs…… We can only hope we make it as far as your mom did…. 96 is quite impressive! She knows lots of the secrets now that we cannot know yet. xo


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