At the moment we are getting bashed around by a not-quite-a-hurricane tropical storm. Winds are pushing 50 knots in the gusts, breaking waves breach the inlet to the small basin of the boat yard, and the finger pier disappeared under water with the near new moon high tide + storm surge. Deb spent the day nursing the boat while I worked a full day; outside when the weather gave us a break and inside when the rains and winds raged. All in all I have to admit that I don't much care for tropical storms. This one made for a hard day at work and, with the peak winds forecast to arrive around 0100 with gusts in the 60 knot range, for a mostly sleepless night.
That is more of a problem than usual since we will be heading out in the wee hours of Wednesday morning for a 16 hour drive to PA; where a different kind of storm awaits. It has been eight moths since my Dad passed away, and my Mom's broken heart has started to falter. She was moved into hospice care a day or so ago. Family is gathering and the necessary things are being done, for it isn't like we haven't seen this day coming. Indeed, in some ways it is amazing that she managed this long.
And though it is a hard time, I am also heartened. Her's was a good life, and it is drawing to a good close. Two of my brothers and my sister are there and, understanding Mom's wishes, realized that once a race is over, people need to quit running. Mom doesn't need to be told that she needs to eat, needs to take her meds, needs to do this or needs to do that. Body and mind have moved passed "needs", and it was time to make a different choice.
Those at the hospice have been amazingly kind, honest, and understanding. Mom is not fighting her way, crushed by a debilitating and painful disease, sick and hurt and scared. She is surrounded by kind hearts, by gentle touches, by words of love and comfort. All the cares and trials of this life have already fallen by the wayside. No one could ask for anything more for a person they love.
We have a habit in this country of seeing anything we don't like, don't understand, or that makes us uncomfortable, as “the enemy”, dying being near the top of that list. Dying often comes wrapped in the worst kinds of tragedy that we all dread, involving the young, steeped in violence, or appearing out of nowhere on an otherwise unremarkable day to rend giant holes in our lives. But it is also a part of the only life we know, and it can be met - and endured - with dignity, with grace, and with courage.
It isn't likely that we can make it to PA before Mom leaves. Pinned by a tropical storm, with nearly 1100 miles to cover once we can get going...some things you can do, some things just can't happen. But it doesn't matter. Family will gather. Love will be shared. And life will go on...
...in spite of the storm.