Standing at the River’s Edge (Part 2)

Standing at the River’s Edge (Part 2) February 28, 2024

Standing at the River’s Edge (Part 2)

I made plans to take the Amtrak on Friday. I love taking the train; I always have and always will. My ticket bought, I upgraded to a “Roomette”, and made plans to leave bright and early on Friday morning.

I received a telephone call telling me that I had better arrive the next day. I cancelled my train ticket and headed out on the road the next day, early.


Arriving at the Senior Living facility, I really didn’t know what to expect. My mother hadn’t eaten in a couple of days, and she wasn’t keeping up her fluid intake. I prepared myself for the worst.

When I arrived at her room, she was asleep. She would occasionally toss and turn in a seemingly uncomfortable way. I want to make sure that she wasn’t in any discomfort, but she seemed to be resting.

I wanted to let her know that I was there, but by the same token, I didn’t want to wake her. So, I sat and waited. I waited several hours and then decided to leave for a bit and when I returned, I sat for a few more hours, hoping to be able to interact with her directly.


My perseverance paid off and she did get up from her bed for several minutes and she grabbed both of my hands and held them, and then she held my face, and then she motioned that I needed a shave. We both had a good laugh about that.

Then, as quickly as she sat up, she went back to sleep again.

I spent a lot of time watching her breathing, because she seemed so very frail, and her respiration was rather shallow. Occasionally, she needed to sit up, and I often just helped her up myself. I was surprised at how light she was, but I was very glad that I was there to help her.

The cyclical nature of reality

After some time, I decided to leave for the day, concerned at what that evening would bring. It was February 22nd, my parents’ wedding anniversary, and the 6th anniversary of my father’s passing. I was afraid that she too would choose to leave this middle realm on that same day, although I was sure that she didn’t know what day it was.

It was late when I went to bed, after midnight, and was somewhat surprised / relieved that I heard nothing from her facility. I resolved to arrive after breakfast the next day and see what the new day would bring.

I had arranged to meet a representative from hospice the next morning at 9am. When I walked into my mother’s hallway, I was surprised to see her sitting up in a chair in the common room. I sat next to her and started to speak with her. I was quite surprised.

Her nurse told me that she wanted breakfast and took all her pills. I spoke with her a while longer and then went to speak to the hospice representative. When I returned, she was once again sleeping. I spent a lot more time with her, and she spent the rest of the time sleeping.

The following day and the next day thereafter, the same routine prevailed. She would eat some breakfast and lunch, take her pills, and then sleep the rest of the day. On one occasion, she sat in a chair for a little bit, and I spoke with her, but for the most part, she slept.

I had a lot of time to sit and reflect as I sat there. My mother has memory issues, and those issues became worse, slowly, over many years. I am really not sure that she knew who I was, but I was there, nevertheless.

Family and friends gather

She was surrounded by friends and family, albeit it two dimensional and in photograph form. While I know that few people were here to visit – for a number of reasons – she was still surrounded by love, good wishes, and these moments frozen in time.

On Sunday, when I went to see her, she had eaten once again, and was sleeping again. I decided at that point to head back home. She was left in good hands, knowing, that most likely, I would be back soon.

I call to Manannan mac Lir, and asked him to watch over her.

I would only be home a few days.

End of Part 2.


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