Today I gave the eulogy for my mother, Opal, who died three days ago. Her funeral was at 2:00 this afternoon and I still cannot believe that she is gone.
It just doesn't seem real.
I don't know how I got through speaking about her, but by the grace of God, I did. It was probably the third hardest thing I ever had to do in my life (the first was making the painful decision to let Mom go; the second was saying goodbye to her when she passed away not even five minutes after that).
Mom suffered for years with lupus. Well, about a year ago, her lupus took off like gangbusters; it soon consumed her body, leaving her bedfast and helpless; she was unable to care for herself. My sister and I were her caregivers the last year of her life up until she died three days ago.
Seeing Mom suffer so much tore our hearts. How we wished that she was still the laughing, vivacious, active woman she used to be before the lupus took over! Gradually over time, Mom lost one bodily function after another until she was left a virtual prisoner of her own body. Then about a week ago, her breathing became compromised; she ended up in the hospital and three days ago, as I mentioned above, we decided to have the doctors pull the plug because she wasn't going to get any better.
It was a heartbreaking decision. Now my sister and myself are asking the same question: "Was it the right thing to do?"
Our other sister, Emmalyn, doesn't know about Mom's death. She is currently on a cruise to the Mexican Riviera; she won't be back unitl Sunday. She is going to be in for a rude awakening, but we are not going to ruin her vacation; she needed this trip and had been looking forward to it ever since she made the reservations back in July. She will find out later, but until then, let her have her fun. She can grieve later.
Anyway, at the funeral, I spoke about Mom: how she lived, how she spent her childhood, about the day where she met (and eventually married) the man who would sire her three children, her days as a secretary, her illness, and eventually, her final days. I wrote the speech and I hope I did Mom some justice by talking about her.
I was doing everything I possibly could not to break down in front of my sister and brother, Mom's brothers and sisters, and our cousins. Dad was there too, but he looked so old and frail; he was having a hard time to keep from crying himself. After all it was his wife that the funeral was for: he had become a widower.
Mom is now buried in the cemetary not too far from where I live. The house is now full of people who try to comfort us in our time of need, but it does little to wash the sadness/disbelief that we hold in our hearts. It is like a neverending nightmare that we cannot seem to pull away from; it all seems surreal. The shock is too great to let the realization sink in that our Mom is now gone forever and isn't coming back ever again.
I just don't relish the thought of telling Emmalyn about Mom when she gets back from her cruise, but she has to know as soon as possible about this. Yet it has to be done; there is no backing out of it.