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July 11th, 2012

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09:45 pm - Going Forth By Dragons
My mother, Sarah Hoggan Ralph, passed away early this afternoon, at the age of 86. She was born on March 26, 1926 in Lorenzo, Idaho. She loved music and books, and was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She liked to garden, and our house growing up was always full of plants. She was fond of cats, enjoyed watching fireworks, and introduced me to my love of the stars. She loved to watch the leaves turn in the fall. She used to quote a favorite poem (which I loved, because my birthday is in October):

A Vagabond Song
Bliss Carmen

There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood—
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.

The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry
Of bugles going by.
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.

There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill of flame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name.

Ted and I got a call about 11:30pm last night that she had been admitted to the ER at Overlake Hospital in Bellevue. This was the second time in as many days; a bleeding mass in her lungs. She had had aphasia for several years, but seemed to recognize people even though she couldn't respond. We went over and met my cousins Diane and Boyd Hoggan, who were with her in the ER. Consulting with the doctors, we decided to make her comfortable and put her on hospice/palliative care, in accordance with her wishes, but not move her to offsite hospice as originally planned. This was good, I think. She got a morphine drip for pain and the congestion in her lungs and they got her a nice private room up on the fifth floor. Ted and I stayed thru the night, the hospital staff was very accommodating.

When we were ill, as children, Mom used to read to us. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings was a favorite. I only had my phone, though, and so I found an ebook of E. Nesbit's The Book of Dragons which is a collection of short stories. We tore thru the E. Nesbit books as kids, my mom as well, and they were always a good read. Comfortable fantasy, where Things Happen but All Works Out In the End. I read her part of the first story before they moved us up to the private room, and then this morning I read several more. I finished reading one while Ted was dozing on the couch, then stepped out to use the restroom and the internet for a moment. When I got back to the room a few moments later, the nurses had come by to turn her, and we discovered she was gone.

It wouldn't have been appropriate, for a number of reasons, to read her the Book of Going Forth By Day. But it was glad and appropriate to be able to read her the book of Going Forth By Dragons.

Rest in peace, mom. You are loved, you were loved, your memory will be loved, for always.

(6 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:July 12th, 2012 05:39 am (UTC)
I'm so sorry for your loss. Evidence suggests that she probably heard you reading to her - it sounds like she went very peacefully.
[User Picture]
Date:July 12th, 2012 07:29 am (UTC)
I'm sorry for your loss Joy. What a sweet and kind thing to do for, reading aloud. It's a comfort.
Hugs and best wishes.
[User Picture]
Date:July 12th, 2012 11:13 am (UTC)
I'm sorry for your loss. Many hugs.
Date:July 12th, 2012 01:28 pm (UTC)
So sorry for your loss.
[User Picture]
Date:July 12th, 2012 04:12 pm (UTC)
This is sad, but very beautiful.
Date:July 13th, 2012 05:07 am (UTC)
I'm sorry about your mother. What you wrote here is amazing, and sad.

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