My Mum died at 3 pm last Wednesday. Thanks to all of you for your prayers and thoughts.
Her passing was probably as good as you can get with those things; she was in no pain and didn't seem to be experiencing any fear. She's been losing her cognitive faculties slowly for years but this process escalated in the last 6 months, she hasn't recognised anyone since around Christmas and she last spoke on Mother's Day, when she said 'Lovely flowers'. Thankfully she seemed to lose her faculties in an order which kind of made sense (if that doesn't sound like a callous thing to say). Her attachment to the material circumstances of her life went quite early, she didn't seem to know or care where she was. Her memory pretty much all went some time ago but not in a way that troubled her; the fact that she couldn't remember who these people were who visited her didn't seem to matter, she just seemed pleased that they/we were there. The last couple of weeks before she died she was barely responsive at all but her eyes were still lively, wide open and taking in the world, and she was smiling all that time. I might be kidding myself but I'm imagining her entering some kind of beatific state like you read about in Buddhist philosophy.
My sister and I sat with her for the last 48 hours. Her eyes were still open but misted over, and whilst she made some movements, putting her hand to her face, pulling at the bedsheet, I'm pretty sure these were undirected. At the end Susie and I held her while her breathing became shallower and shallower and then stopped altogether.
It's funny but we stayed like that for quite a while, and even after the nurse had been we carried on talking to her for about an hour afterwards. Not about anything important, just trivia really.
Bye Mum. Love you.