My mother, Bernice (“Bunny”) Selden, died yesterday afternoon at the Selfhelp Home in Chicago. She was 95 years old, and had been suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease and congestive heart failure. I, her only child, was at her side. She never seemed to be in pain or distress — a blessing. Her passing happened quickly and quietly: she just stopped breathing. I went out into the hallway and asked a nurse to come in. The nurse verified that my mom’s heart was no longer beating. It was 4:13 p.m. I feel today as if I am floating — alone (despite the beautiful phone conversations I have had with many of my loved ones) and suddenly unrooted. Our intense, often troubled relationship now continues with only one living participant. Before she got Alzheimer’s, during my visits I’d often be consumed by frustration: Why didn’t she show more interest in my life, ask follow-up questions? Why was her affect so remote? But then, when it was time for me to say goodbye, she’d hug me so tightly, as if she had been drowning — as if the whole time she’d been dying to express her love, but something had been stopping her, until that final, almost furtive moment. Last night I had a vision of her atoms dispersing through outer space, sparks flying out into the endless-seeming dark. I had the sensation that she was now free to love, to love infinitely, forever and ever.
You write so beautifully and knowingly about such profound things. Deepest condolences on the loss of your mom; thank you for sharing your gift and your stories.
Josh blessings to you and your Mom. Thank you for for sharing with all of us. Love is a mysterious emotion. For some it hides till it just can't stand not being found then it jumps out and squeezes you with the biggest hug you've never known. Ask how I know. ❤️