It's decided for now that DC will be our new home. Beth stayed behind a couple days after me to pack up the apartment with the help of her parents who have graciously allowed us to fill their garage with boxes once again.
Last Sunday night, on July 7th, in the evening, before the sun set, my mom died. Her pronounced time of death was 7:45, but I don't think any of us really bothered to look at the clock. The days leading up to the moment and even the moments now seem unreal. At times it's as though I'm sitting in a movie theater watching someone else wander through my life in a surreal first-person documentary.
As my niece Madison put it in her e-mail, which was rather elegantly entitled "Dead," she wrote, "Today is very sad. My grand mother just died. She lived a good life."
Beth and I, along with my aunt Sue, brother Nick, sister Tiffany, father, and grandparents, were all at my mothers side when she took her last breath. This, in itself, is a miracle. She died just as she had wanted, at home, surrounded by those she loved. My father was singing her favorite hymns, and at the crescendo of "Household of Faith," her most favorite of all, she passed away.
I had never seen anyone actually die before, and death is not the most elegant of experiences to either experience or view. Immediately when it occurred I felt the moment repeat on a loop in my mind, and it took Beth to remind me that the moment isn't of any importance in comparison to the freedom to follow. My mom fought for life for so many years. It's comforting for me to know with certainty that my mother has truly found her home with God, and I think in her very last moments it was comforting for her to know that we would be sharing that eternity with her as well. With that in mind, today is not so sad after all.
I want to thank you all for your prayers and for your support. Even now we are surrounded with friends and family while embracing memories of our missing friend. Up to her final moments she kept her sense of humor and hospitality, whether she was frequently telling me to cut my hair, celebrating my sister-in-law Susan's birthday party, or musing on her fancy reclining chair that in her opinion was at once both magical and "tragical." My mom has left behind a lot of great memories throughout the course of a lifetime.
This Saturday we had a wonderful ceremony at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda. I know it was everything my mom could have ever hoped for. Together we celebrated the wonderful life she lead while at the same time rejoiced in the eternal life she shares with the Lord at this very moment. My brothers and I each shared memories of her, and although mine wasn't much more than a few recollections of watching General Hospital each day with her after school, they each reflected the incredible personality and influence our mom had on our lives and the lives of all those who she touched.
Thanks again to everyone for their support.