My mother is dead now twenty years. I remember people saying that her death was a mercy. She’d lived a long and active life; she made herself useful. That’s what she always told me to be. But in the last years dementia had its way with her and she became less anchored to the here and now. I don’t know where she was, but she did not recognize my brother or me when we visited. She spent those last years in Phoenix, 1500 miles from St Louis where she had been born and lived as a daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend. Phoenix was where my brother lived.
The . . . place, was called Almost Home. I liked the name. It was a good place, but it wasn’t home. She really didn’t seem to know where she was anyway — who she was — who she had been. She forgot — seemed to forget — everything. Everything. She forgot how to eat and drink. How to be alive. And with the guidance of her doctors, my brother and I made the decision to allow her to do what she seemed to be set on doing — to just fade away and die.
And so she did. But, I sometimes wonder if our decision to . . . let her go, might have interfered with some final life review she was enjoying — a family album of pictures and memories playing in her own private theater.
Perhaps I’ll find out for myself — and in the meantime — God have mercy.