Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Bench


A couple of months ago, Sonja and I decided to have a memorial bench put up for her late mother Amy in one of the two places where she liked to observe nature. The choices were either The Parklands or Bernheim Forest.

Both had their merits and she liked them both about the same. The deciding factor was a story I related to Sonja about a drive her Mom and I made shortly before she went into the hospital for the final time.

It was fall and I would take Amy on car rides 3-4 times a week back then. The process was to load up her oxygen and other necessities and then take off on a 2-3 hour trip...driving rural areas and enjoying the scenery or going to one of the area parks or preserves.

One of these afternoon involved driving to Paul's Point in Bernheim and watching the leaves change
in the valley below. We had sandwiches, she was breathing pretty good that day and really didn't want to leave...but it was getting dark and Amy did not like to be on the road (driving or as a passenger) at night.

It was a good day for her. Drives helped release some of the anxiety attacks she suffered from at the end. The struggle to breath is a scary and trepidation mind process. I remember the asthma attacks I had as a child. Middle of the night panic, relieved by inhaler or Adrenalin shots...depending on the severity.

Sonja loves that view for the meadow at the summit of the point as well and we inquired about the spot for a bench. We notified relatives as well. We ordered the bench and a plate to go on it.

The bench was placed on Wednesday 23rd. No ceremony or formalities. We made the 22 mile drive to Bernheim and took a few pictures. Sonja is musing over maybe spreading some of Amy's ashes in the area. The view is beautiful.. A good place for reflection, meditation or just letting your mind go while gazing into the hills and valley across the way.

I think Amy, even in her sometimes grouchy way, would approve. Maybe she'll look down upon the area and remember that good afternoon there. Maybe there is peace and comfort for her now...the struggle with breath, facing death and so much more she wanted to do. Time ran out on her. Time will run out on us all eventually.

Slowly, we adjust. I spend most day out at her house...going through the process of packing boxes,..going through paperwork...room by room getting the house packed up and ready to be sold eventually. There is 50+ years of accumulation, memories, mementos, junk, treasures and items to be determined upon. Sonja helps when she can. Final decisions on placement rest with her.

I think back to those drives, those places we went, those conversations we had and I hope they were of some comfort and relief for her. She had gotten to where she hated being in the house. For what reasons she'd never say...but while able, she would jump at the opportunity to escape it for a few hours.

She has escaped it, and the worldly day-by-day trappings for good, now. I hope she is in a place where there is peace.