A good afternoon with Mom. She lay in her bed, one knee up (as usual), hands behind her head as we leafed through a holiday cookie cookbook (with lots of pictures). We talked about her apple pie and how good a piece would taste right now, with coffee. Then settled for ginger ale.
She seemed very content, smiling often (where’d my mother go?). She did not pull away when I placed my hand on her stomach and asked how she felt. She did not pull away when I gently touched the bruising on her arms. And she did not pull away when I foofed with her hair.
I had brought her bedspread with me, freshly laundered and placed it over a chair.
Mom – You take that when I’m gone.
Me – Okay, if you want me to. Is there anything in particular you want others to have?
Mom – I don’t have much anymore. You take the bedspread.
Me (uncertain if I should bring it up, but…) – Do you still want to be cremated?
Mom – Yes! And don’t you dare have a wake!
Me – I know! I know! You’ll haunt us if we do. I know! What would you like us to do with your ashes?
Mom – Oh, just put them in a can…a nice can. Then put them on a shelf.
Me – A can?
Mom (giving me the look) – And it better be a nice can!
Me – I thought you wanted each of us to spread some of your ashes in our gardens.
Mom – Oh, I’m not sure I’d be good for the flowers.
Me – And I thought you wanted the rest of your ashes in TX with Joey.
My brother Joey was the ‘rascal’ in the family, typically into some mess or other. He died a few years ago at 52. His remaining ashes are with my youngest brother, Chris, who lives in TX.
Mom – Joey, Joey, Joey.
Me – Yup…
Mom – I’m sure he’ll just get me into trouble.
Me – Yup…
Mom (falling asleep) – That would be nice.
Me – Yup!