One Step Further


What a weird experience the whole end-of-life thing is for those who will remain behind.

Mom continues her gradual decline.  In a phone conversation on Monday, her Hospice nurse told me that we’re looking at weeks now, perhaps as much as a month or two, but it’s unlikely it’ll be more than that.  (Never say never where my Mom is concerned, though.  She’ll go in her own damn time.)  Of course, she could surprise us and go at any time, so …   Let’s just say I’m not placing any bets.

Yesterday and today I’ve talked with the funeral home back in Saratoga that will handle her service, and I’ve spoken to the funeral home here in CT who will take possession of her remains and hold them until the folks from Saratoga arrive.  I’ve filled out some preliminary paperwork and written an obituary.  All that remains is the moment when.

I can’t describe the feeling inside…writing those words “take possession of her remains.”  This is my mother I’m writing about!  I’m astonished at the cool calm inside, the … what?  It’s not a sense of peace, not quite that.  Maybe it’s that I know there’s a job to do and I need to keep my wits about me in order to do it.  But the end … her end … will be hard.  I can feel it.

I’m satisfied with the work I’ve done.  It wasn’t always perfect.  I didn’t always act or behave as my better nature would have it, but what’s past is past and what’s ahead is ahead.  One step at a time, one day at a time.  I will accompany her as far as she will let me and then I will kiss her and let her go.  When it happens, I hope it’s a good trip, and easy transition.  She has a lot of people who love her waiting for her on the other side.

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About Melissa Crandall

Longer ago than I care to admit--although I will--I cut my writing teeth on fanzines and media tie-in novels. Since then, I've moved on to narrative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and essays. I write to explore and understand the world around me, the things I see and experience nearby or from a distance. If I shake myself up, cool. If I shake you up, even better. Not gratuitously--what's the point in that?--but to set what I know, or think I know, on end and realize, "Well, doesn't it look different from this side!" My work is neither sexually explicit nor graphically violent. Let's face it - your imaginations will come up with things far worse than anything I could write, no matter how descriptive. Besides, it's just not my thing. I live in Connecticut with my supportive husband Ed, a cat named Ruby who might just think she's a dog, and an epileptic Australian shepherd named Holly who isn't quite certain anymore who she is, except she knows she loves her mommy.
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2 Responses to One Step Further

  1. dementedgirl says:

    I too am one to focus on practicalities during hard times – I suppose it makes me feel less helpless and overwhelmed, and more in control of the things I can influence in the face of something much greater that I can’t.

    It does feel a bit incongruous at times, but what else can you do…?

    • Precisely. Sometimes I wonder if I come across as callous or unfeeling…and then I decide that I don’t care how I come across. It doesn’t matter what other people think so long as I’m doing the job I need to do. There’ll be time to fall apart later.

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