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Saying good-bye to Mom.

I really thought I could wait till Sunday. I talked to Mom on the phone on Thursday... she was a little confused, but lucid. Our very close friend had lost her father the day before. She pushed me... offered all of her airline miles to me... just go. My wife was scheduled for a procedure on Friday... Shabbos away from home is never fun. In the end I was convinced... American has a compassion fare... new problem: no compassion seats for a return trip... ok, come back later, fly back overnight. My wife and kids ran around getting my packed, buying food for me, making arrangements.

I arrived Friday morning and was met by my brother, his wife, and my Dad. We spent a couple of hours visiting and letting my brother get a little work done at his Reno store. One the way to see Mom, I got a quite unexpected phone call. "Mr. Allen? This is ....; I want to ask your daughter to marry me and I would like your blessing."

We arrived at my Mom's room. She recognized me and I was able to tell her about my daughter's engagement. My daughter was the first grandchild and Mom always had a special place in her heart for her. Mom tried to talk, but could not really get more than two or three words out before the thought would leave her. She had some juice and then closed her eyes to sleep. I didn't know that would be her last verbal communication. Her eyes opened a few times that day... but there was no vision in them. The only thing we have heard from her in the last couple of days is her increasingly rattly and irregular breathing.

My sister arrived late Saturday afternoon. I haven't seen her in 20 years, but nothing is really important now except that Mom has her three children together. We are waiting together. Deciding together how to handle things as the situation progresses. We do not agree on everything, but on two points we are in complete harmony. The first is that we each want what is best for Mom. The second is that my brother makes the final decision. My brother and his family have literaly dedicated their life to caring for my mother these last few years. I will never be able to adequately express my gratitude for all that he and his amazing family have done for our mother.

The goal is now to keep her as comfortable as we know how.

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