The more I don’t dwell on it, the more it floats up in dreams. In murky dreamlife the fact of my mother’s dying is suspended amid peripheral activity, seed for a myth or the embarkation into the unknown or, more accurately, the not-yet-known. Her diminishment has been a slow fade, like watercolors in bright light. Doses of morphine under the tongue are taken more frequently but continue to do the trick in managing pain. That is something to be grateful for.
In her memoir, Alexandra Fuller recounts something her mother said: “I expect a big, elaborate funeral. Sing ‘The Hallelujah Chorus,’ wear large expensive hats and fling yourself into the grave after me.”
Mom would never say anything remotely so outlandish, nor would she, a farmer’s wife, wear a large hat other than a sunbonnet, much less a large expensive one. Still, one of the surprises at the estate sale three years ago were the multiple hats discovered in her closet, red, white, black, all stylish, even chic, if such a word can be used in a western Kansas context without raising hoots.
Raise hoots. And hallelujahs. This week she and my father celebrated their 72nd wedding anniversary.
There is much to be grateful for.