Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Patiently waiting to smell the buttercups

Since the anniversary of my mom's death, I've been thinking a lot about three years ago and what it felt like to be in the moment of losing someone so dear to me. While the circumstances were outrageous and bizarre for me, they were what they were. During the weeks shortly before she died, I started to notice some similarities between waiting to have a baby (she passed away just three months after the Donut made her appearance) and waiting for someone to die. My parents chose to have my mom die at home as opposed to a hospital or Alive Hospice. Mama liked to be at home. They set her hospital bed up in the living room so that she could see the Christmas tree that stayed standing a little longer than normal and then eventually could see the birds outside the picture window as they visited the bird houses and feeders my dad always had aligned there in front of the house. I like to think that these images brought her peace and comfort on her last days when she was confined to the bed and simply waiting for the Lord to take her home.

What was interesting is that the dying process is not unlike other human biological processes. And, if done naturally, has so many similarities to natural birth, neatly completing the circle of life. As a "researcher", I'd take note of the details of Mom's day or of her condition at any given time and then look up those details online. I'd try to find some information that would confirm exactly when I could expect that phone call. Googling "signs of death" and other similar word combinations became a daily habit for me. I wanted to know. I wanted to be prepared. Somehow the "research" helped me to feel in control of the situation.

As baby number 3's due date aproaches, I've started to recall the similarities between the experience of waiting for my mom to die and waiting for a baby to be born. The similarities became so glaringly obvious to me at the time of her death that I even used it as the topic of the speech that I gave at Mama's memorial service. I spoke of daily looking up the signs that death was getting closer just as I'd daily looked up signs of labor a few short months earlier. I pointed out Mom's choice to die at home and how similar it was to our choice to welcome our child into the world at home. Even though our choices are, these days, unconventional, they were the right ones for us and brought comfort to our family.

Now that it's time to, yet again, have a baby in the comfort of my home (meaning not seeking out medical induction unless there is a risk factor involved and therefore depending upon the Lord to decide when this baby will arrive) I am reminded vividly of the feelings I experienced while waiting for that dreaded yet glorious phone call that Mama's fight was over. Further, the buttercups in the front yard have bloomed and I fully believe that they are a reminder that she is with me, always. And the fact that they pop up just directly after the anniversary of her death is so comforting and a great reminder that she is now surrounded by all of the yellow flowers her eyes can behold.

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