This is what I want to remember about the first day of my mother's death watch:
After we'd all taken our turns at sitting and talking to my mother, maybe 1/4 conscious, my father retired to the recliner in her room and listened to a book-on-tape while Jim sat by Mom and read a book. I, who was three hours off of everyone else (except maybe Mother), sacked out on the floor and fell asleep. I woke to a room in which the only noise was the oxygen machine and the small noises of my family in snug proximity, each of us in our own world. It felt like I was three years old again.
I want to remember, too, the tears dripping off my father's nose as he held Mom's hand during Bach's "Ave Maria".
With sore tired eyes, my father and I came home while Jim spent several more hours with Mom. He asked me to arrange Last Rites for today after having shrugged off the suggestion on Saturday. We will, once again, gather as a family to participate in the most solemn and hopeful blessing of the sacraments. The last time we did this, Mom was part of the standing circle.
We are ready.
A commencement speech former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave at my old alma mater, the University of Michigan...