Saturday, September 29, 2007

People need to be more careful

Walking down the street with my 9 year old son today, I witnessed an accident. We were about to cross the street (I'd stopped to check the traffic) when the woman walking in front of us was clipped by a car making a left turn. She fell to the ground and bounced up again in that way that only a twenty something can manage. Swearing and picking up her cell phone and purse.

I and my son hurried across the street to where the woman was now haranguing the driver of the car who'd pulled over. I asked the woman if she was alright and she said she was. She was much more interested in ripping the driver (a male) a new one than checking her own well being. Another woman came from out of a store and offered to call the cops, but the pedestrian refused. Asked again if she was okay, she said "I'm fine if you people would just leave me alone!" I gave my name and number to the girl as a witness and went on with my errand. I never said a word to the driver because, if I'd gotten started, I'd still be there.

The driver had turned the corner as if no cross walk existed and was apparently not looking at all. The young woman he hit had the advantage of being fast enough to jump out of the way. If it had been 10 seconds later, it would have been me and my son under the wheels of that car.

Friday, September 28, 2007

What passes for normal (potentially upsetting)

I'm feeling better physically. I do believe this Marshall Protocol is working. Everyone keeps telling me how well I look. My light sensitivity is much better, my joints aren't so stiff and today I laid down plastic in our crawl space in preperation for the insulation. My husband and I are planning on drywalling his office in the next couple days.

Mentally I'm okay, considering. I feel...Lonely? Homesick? Something like that. My father is still hanging on, but I haven't lived with him since I was ten years old, so I don't feel him as a parent.

I asked to see my mother's body when we went to the funeral home. I wish now I had taken a memento mori photograph. I keep replaying that moment in my mind for comfort. She hadn't been embalmed, nor in any way prettified. Given the suddeness of her death, I think I was expecting to see some evidence of trauma. The funeral director gave us a little talk about how she was likely to look given that she was unprepared. He visibly relaxed when I said I was an EMT and this was not my first body. Just the first one I was related to.

He opened the double doors to a side room and first I saw her feet covered with a sheet. I almost turned away, then. Two more steps and I was able to see her chest and hips under the sheet--I realized that I wouldn't be able to bear it if she was covered with a sheet and the funeral director had to pull it back like a Law and Order body ID scene.

Another step took me around the corner. Her face was visible. Ashen and slack. Her mouth was slightly open as if in sleep. The funeral director had swaddled her body as though it were a baby, covering the marks of the autopsy. She was a little dehydrated but otherwise she looked as she always did. I'd seen her come out of her gall bladder surgery looking worse. I was glad of the way she was covered--looking so much like the way we come into the world. And somehow it was dignified in a way that a public viewing would not have been. I shared that moment with my husband and the funeral director the way my husband and I shared the birth of our children with our midwife.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The babbling stage

I find myself talking over and over about my mothers death. To family, friends and strangers. In some ways, I'm having trouble with the concept that someone in apparently good health can just drop dead. Curiously, others around me share the difficulty. I am hearing the assertion "But she was sick a long time, wasn't she?"


My mom worked 37 hours the week she died--she died 7 hours into a ten hour shift.

People also ask "Did they do CPR?"


Sadly, CPR only works in about 12% of cases.

I talked with Roarinfire this afternoon. I was only able to think this through as I was talking to her (thanks Roarinfire, BTW). I feel like its a revelation to some people I talk to that bodies can just wear out. In my mother's case, it was her heart that wore out before anything else.

I'm grateful that my mothers death was quick and as easy as these things go. The witnesses tell me that she never reported any pain before she lost conciousness. Her last breaths were described by one woman as "sighs of relief". But it is hard on those of us left behind.

My mother's death puts a whole new spin on my own health problems. I desperately want to recover my own health and I continue to rely on the people in my life. Thank you all.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Shock giving way to sadness

That odd sense of surreality is wearing off, but I don't think that my mother's death has really sunk in yet. I went to the library today (this is what I do when presented with a problem) and picked up books on grief.

I've been wavering between apathy and sadness for the past three days, but I can't say that I've been "grief-stricken". It occurs to me that this is one of those changes in one's life that you never find out about till it happens. Like the secret society of parenting and the weird ways your life changes when you marry, the death of a parent is something that our society does a shitty job of preparing you for and an even shittier job of helping you deal with.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Lessons learned

I'm back in Vermont now. I'm surprised it took so little time to wind up my mother's affairs. As it was, all her bills were paid and the house and car titles were jointly in her and my brother's name. This means that there is no probate to deal with really. The house will remain as is till we feel up to dealing with it.

For any of you who want to save your loved ones heartache (and money), please make your final arrangement wishes known. I and my brothers were in no fit state to make decisions. Fortunately, my mom had let us know what she wanted. No flowers, no viewing, no visitation. A direct cremation and a Catholic mass. We had a nice lunch afterwards.

If we had not had these clear instructions, it would have been so much harder. I would have gone along with anything suggested and never mind the expense. I had a hard enough time just picking out clothes to wear to the funeral, let alone making what are really major purchases.

Thank you all for your kind words. I'm not going to be myself for a bit.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Moyra still

Her funeral mass was yesterday and was well attended. We had maybe eighty people who showed up and more who sent word that they couldn't come. Her ashes are to be buried in Vermont.

Donations may be sent to the Arthritis Foundation.

Monday, September 10, 2007

More Details on Moyra

Moyra's service is to be held on Wednesday, September 12 at St Patrick's Church in Carleton at 10 AM. We will be holding a luncheon afterwards.

My mother's death was very sudden. She always said they'd have to take her out of work feet first. She worked from 10:00PM that evening (she has worked nights for the past nine years) and her co-workers had given her a surprise Birthday party at their midnight dinner break. At about 6:00 AM she began to have trouble breathing. One of her co-workers grabbed Moyra's asthma inhaler from her locker. As soon as she took the inhaler, she lost consciousness and was evidently pulseless. CPR was started and EMS took her to the hospital where she was pronounced dead at 6:59 AM.

I am glad that her last night was a good one. She had called me on the prior Tues and told me how good she had been feeling lately. She had plans for the future and was as vibrant as ever. She was a woman who truly lived her life until she died.

May we all be so lucky.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Moyra Bernadette Davies, 1937-2007

My mother died suddenly this morning at 6:59 AM. She was at work and had a massive heart attack. EMS was called and CPR was performed but she never regained consciousness. I am going to Michigan to make arrangements.

I'll be checking email if anyone wants to contact me.