The Only Way To Go

By Friday morning, Aged Mother really couldn’t talk anymore. She was eating very little. Sarah and I were needing to feed her water and liquid foods by spoon.

By Friday evening, she was having a hard time taking in water and really couldn’t take food. Swallowing was a problem. Her breathing was shallow. I came home from work at about five o’clock. Nizzibet went to meet the Gamester. I fixed myself a drink. A little one. The last few weeks I’d been regularly drinking to excess. I had no intention of doing that that night. Your mother only dies once.

Once I’d determined that Mom wouldn’t be having dinner I sat and held her hand. I got halfway through my drink and started to thank her – for raising my brother and I, for teaching us how to save and make do, for teaching us to read, for teaching us fairness and compassion, for letting us run wild, for letting us read whatever we wanted, for letting us dig that hole in the yard, for taking us camping … I thanked her for everything I could think of. She was in no condition to tell me that I didn’t need to tell her those things.

I reminded her that LoveSettlement would be coming in for a visit the next morning. I stroked her hair and kissed her forehead. I’d made it a habit to kiss her whenever I saw her, even if I was just crossing the room.

Nizzibet and the Gamester came home. G and I chatted about movies and games and what projects we were working on next. Once he headed off I ordered pizza. Aged Mother fell asleep sometime around seven o’clock.

Nizzibet and I ate pizza and watched A Fistful of Dollars.

A.M. was still sleeping when the Man With No Name finished killing most of the town.

For the past week I’d carried A.M. from her place on the couch into her bedroom and tucked her in for the night. She really didn’t enjoy being carried. She seemed to think I’d drop her. Friday night I decided to let her keep sleeping on her couch. Nizzibet and I would sleep on the other couch and keep A.M. company.

I woke at about three o’clock in morning on Saturday, August 1st. I looked at A.M. for a long time. Trying to see if she was breathing. There have been so many times when her breathing would pause while she slept – pause for what would seem like an absurd length of time. This time, her breathing did not restart. She was gone.

Helen Irene Ingersoll 11/9/21 – 8/1/04

Rest in Peace