I did not think this day would come anytime soon. When the time came—when the time came for my mom to pass on—I thought I would be not only be accepting and ready but would welcome it with open arms. After a decade with Alzheimers, after two years bound in bed, and after months of barely able to sculpt even a word, I thought I was ready to see my mom breathe her last breath.
But when the end came, the surprise, shock, and sadness were unmistakably there and I was silently urging my mother to keep fighting to breathe. In the end, it was her lungs that took her from this life as most everything else was still running smoothly and strong. She smoked like a chimney, so when she got pneumonia in late April, her diminished lung capacity made it hard for her to breathe, to get the oxygen needed to be present. But I expected a full recovery as she had reacted almost immediately and positively to the antibiotic treatment. She was still physically strong as a horse, for example, during this hospital stay, three of us had to hold her down when we did various tests.
But one day to the next her blood pressure plummeted. Since I was unaware of this, I thought she was just (and finally) sleeping deeply after two days of barely doing so. After 8 hours of barely moving, the nurse let me know that in fact her vital signs were dim as were her chances of living. That evening, I crawled into bed with her for one last night together. Finally the next morning, as I was stroking her face, I witnessed her final breath.
This is what I read at her service.