Wednesday, December 29, 2021
My mother-in-law died on Dec. 25 at the age of 95 1/2. She had severe dementia, but up until the very end, she was still gracious and polite, her hallmark characteristics. I wasn't there when she died, but the staff at her care facility had been looking for signs of her coming death(skin color and feel, depth of sleep), and they had alerted the family so that they were able to be with her when she died. My mother had died two years before, and with both, I wondered at where they were, where they wandered, what they saw and knew when they left their bodies. At her service, her eldest son, an evangelical minister, talked about the glories of walking on a road paved with gold, able to rejoice in no longer being demented, able to see and hear again with ease, and able to know all in the presence of God. I thought it curious that he was so sure of where she was and what she was doing, and I wondered to myself if she felt lost and alone, confused by the sudden end of all that she knew. Was she afraid, or, as her son felt, free of all the worries and concerns that burden us in our lives? Or, as my fantasy goes, having searched and having found the perfect new life, was she ready to be reborn as someone else, in another body, with another life to live?