On the day that she died, I awoke in the predawn darkness and knew that I needed to go to her. Angus greeted me quietly at the door and padded down the hall next to my side. He took up a spot near the foot of her bed and within touching distance to me. He would stay with us for the next 9 hours.
I did not know if my mom would die that day, but I knew this was no fire drill and indeed she would die soon. Her breathing was labored and in fact, the first dose of morphine had been given by the time I arrived. Her eyes remained closed, though she occasionally sucked on the swab of water I would offer. We held hands all day. People came and went, checking her breath, her pulse, her oxygen levels. No one could tell me when, but all agreed that was where we were heading.
My mothers wedding band had fallen off two years ago and I had been wearing it next to my own, having promised her I would keep it safe and eventually return it to her finger one last time. At four in the afternoon I remembered my promise, and to my surprise it fit easily over her swollen arthritic knuckle. I leaned in close and whispered softly that the ring was now back where it belonged. I told her I was okay, that I loved her and that she could go.
At five in the afternoon her breathing once again changed and upon peeling back the covers that warmed our hands, I noted that her fingers and nail beds were a dusky blue. It won't be long I was told. I hung on to her hand and softly whispered how much I loved her. Her eyes opened and we held our gaze....one minute.....two minutes....she closed her eyes, her breath's now 45 seconds apart. And just like that....she was gone.
We had come full circle she and I....in so many ways. Safe journey mom.