Almost exactly two years ago, give or take 15 minutes, my brother called me from our hometown to let me know that my mom had died. She died at home, a hard death, from mediastinal cancer (a fairly unusual lung cancer-- she was a lifelong non-smoker-- that was probably secondary to breast cancer, of 15 years earlier). The one thing she didn't want was to choke to death, and that is exactly how she died, as the tumors encroached on her larynx and trachea.
I was in the living room on the couch, as I am now, on my laptop, as I am now. It was a Saturday night, and I was looking over my sermon for the next morning.
I had known she would die soon. I had spoken to her earlier in the day, her words nearly unintelligible at that point. I'd been in Big City with Petra and Larry-O at a college audition that day. I spoke to her as we headed for the highway, driving home in advance of a big snowstorm-- and we're supposed to get one tomorrow, I understand. That was the last time I would hear her voice, driving through the upper West side towards the bridge.
When the phone rang I leapt to my feet. I knew what was coming, and I needed to take the news standing up, I guess. I wailed. Larry-O and Petra came running, and as I sank down onto the couch again, they sat tightly around me, one on each side, and I sobbed. She was nearly 86. She was ill and miserable and sick of life and ready to go. And she did.
That's one anniversary.
On Wednesday it will be four years from the day Petra and I got into the car to drive to my parents' house so that I didn't have to watch my husband move out. (Larry didn't want him to move alone, so he stayed with him).
So that's the other anniversary.
I don't know why these are hitting me so hard this week. I'm just feeling it, is all. And I do covet your prayers.