My Mom once sarcastically remarked, “when I get sick, I hope you treat me as well as you treated those dogs.” I’ve been doing exactly that for the past three months. Our earthly Journey together ended at 5:25 pm yesterday evening. Mom passed very peaceably at hospice.
My intention had been to write about her final illness as I applied the lessons from Beezer and Boomer to an impending human loss. Alas, the speed of the illness was too great and I’ll do a recap at a later date. Sometimes, you just have to tell the end of the story first, and this is one of those days.
The funeral people arrived about 8:00 pm. I helped wrap Mom’s body in blankets and then loaded her onto a gurney. I dismissed one of the attendants and helped wheel the gurney out of the facility and into the van for transportation. Upon arrival, I helped unload Mom at the facility. I followed my checklists for the B Brothers exactly and said so to nobody in particular.
Once home, I collapsed into a large easy chair in the living room. The room has a high vaulted ceiling, the same ceiling where I hung IV bags in my desperate attempt to save Beezer so many years ago.
At the crown of the vault is a smoke detector. Years and years ago the battery beeped a few times before it died. Not having a folding ladder, I constructed a type of homemade hillbilly ladder with bar stools and got high enough to remove the deceased battery. I then realized I didn’t have a replacement. I left the battery door open as an optical reminder to borrow a ladder and get a battery. That was at least five years ago and the little door remains open and battery compartment empty.
I closed my eyes and noticed my Lab Dory sound asleep at my feet. I was startled a few minutes later by a series of three short beeps. I looked around and Dory was now at alert. “You heard it too?” I asked my dog. Then it happened again, “BEEP, BEEP, BEEP” and the sound was coming from the inoperative, powerless, smoke detector.
I was now fully alert and focused all attention on this small device above me. A few minutes later a sound emanated directly from the smoke detector, “BEEP, BEEP, BEEP.” No mistake, no error, no imagination.
Then the phone rang. It was my friend Terri who had just read that my Mom died. As we were talking, the smoke detector went off again, “BEEP, BEEP, BEEP,” always in sets of three.
“What was that noise?” Terri asked. “Oh, it’s just my mother beeping at me,” I said as matter of factly as I could. Terri, a dear friend and the animal communicator that helped me with the Boys, absolutely loved this little event.
In all, the event lasted about thirty minutes and had perhaps five or six sets of beeps, each set comprised of three beeps. It was classic mom.
Only a loving mother would stop by on her way to the Bridge to remind her son to just put a battery in the friggin smoke detector.
And my dear mother, bless her heart, was seldom understated. If a situation called for one reminder then fifteen to eighteen reminders was just about par for the course. I’m so glad she stopped by since she was in the neighborhood.
The coming days will involve getting used to a new version of normal. I’ll have to get weather and traffic reports on my own. I’ll also have to sit down and make a list of whose birthdays are coming up—all stuff that mom was so good at.
For now, I’ll save more comment for a later date. I think I’ll run out and buy a battery and borrow a ladder. I’d hate to have a fire next week and have my mom mutter “that damn kid never listened to me when I was alive either.”