Here is a picture of my mom Doris, my sister Kris and my dog Rommy from about 2009. They are all united now and they are planning to meet me at the Rainbow Bridge when I am ready to join them.
Doris did not want to have a prolonged last illness, nor did she want her family to have to watch a painful decline. She told me many times that some day she was going to go to sleep and just never wake up.
This is the story of the strong will and determination of my mom. A woman with a great sense of humor and one of the best story tellers I have ever met. Being with her was always compelling and entertaining.
It was New Years Day and she and I devoured a ton of sushi, a huge assortment of her favorite pickles, manju for dessert and mugs and mugs of green tea. We sat and ate and talked and laughed and ate some more until we finished every bit of food to be seen.
I left feeling really good about my mom, she was sleepy with good food and content with our happy News Years Day celebration.
The next morning I received a call from her caregivers that Doris would not wake up and that there was no reason for it.
I could not wake her up, none of her friends or caregivers could either. She told me that morning, without even opening her eyes, “Itai” and gently pushed me away. That was the last word she said to anyone.
Itai can mean pain but as she said this she gave me a small frown that was more of annoyance and I felt like I was intruding on her journey.
Doris slipped away from us peacefully in her sleep, just as she always said she would.
I really don’t care for April Fool’s Day. It was on April Fool’s Day 1984 when my brother had to call me and my sister and tell us our father had passed away.
This last Memorial Day weekend I had a chance to talk with someone who was with my dad during his last moments.
My dad was a Life Master bridge player and was competing in a tournament with one of his favorite partners, Masa. He and Masa had been doing well and he was reviewing some of their results. He just gently crumpled forward and at first Masa thought he was clowning around, fainting because they were doing so well.
It quickly became obvious that something was wrong and an announcement was made for anyone with medical training to come to his assistance. There were doctors and other medical people playing in the tournament and he had immediate attention. Unfortunately he had some kind of massive heart failure and had slipped away very quickly and quietly.
He was gone in just a moment with no pain, doing something he loved to do, surrounded by his friends and peers.
Here is my dad at one of his favorite activities, teaching bridge!
Masa reminded me that dad’s last moments were doing something he loved.
How often do you hear someone say “I hope I go in my sleep”?
I was visiting him and my mom that morning and remember him getting ready to play in the tournament. He was going to have a fun and happy day.
Thank you Masa for making a sad memory a happy one too!