Most people get jubilant when April arrives. Even in the gloom of rainy days, they look forward to the budding flowers and warmer temperatures.
This year, I was whizzing away, feeling very confident that things were very much under control, and I was even thinking it might be a much less stressful end of tax season. Until April 7th arrived - when I must have angered Thor with my confidence, and he struck me with a jolt.
I arrived at my parents' home at 6:30 am that morning, as I do daily, to fix their breakfast and help my mom with her compression stockings. I walked into the kitchen and found my mother lying on her back on the floor, eyes glazed and lifeless, and her breathing gurgling and shallow. I knew she wouldn't make it. Quickly, unexpectedly, with no pain - just as she wanted. Brain dead. 32 hours later she was gone, never awakening from the massive stroke that struck her down.
When they removed the breathing tubes that first morning, I was told it wouldn't be long before she passed, but she didn't follow any of the "normal" routine. They didn't know the women in my family. We're determined and tenacious and obstinate. No one tells us what to do and when, even when oblivious to our surroundings.
After 12 hours of sitting alone with her in the hospital room, she never deteriorated further. My brother brought my father there for a brief, touching moment, and then we all went home to try to sleep.
I was back before noon the next day while my brother stayed at home with Dad, and only then did things change. At 2 pm she finally quit fighting. "Good-bye, Mom. Have a great trip," I said. Two days later we buried her.
And then last week, my father-in-law went into hospice care...