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Pat Dryburgh

It’s an easy date to remember, July 7, 2014.

7 / 7 / 14

7 + 7 = 14

We discovered the mnemonic that night.

Each of us said our goodbyes a few days prior. The morphine drip had been increased consistently for a couple of weeks and had gotten to the point where it had sedated her completely.

The family had spent the evening going up to our parents’ bedroom to check on her, but by 10pm the nurse was the only one there. I don’t remember whether Dad had gone to bed, but my sister was in the family room while my brother and I smoked outside.

Around 11:30pm, my sister came bursting through the garage door. Her tears were a dead giveaway. After a four-year battle with mesothelioma, Mom finally let go.

The funeral home was notified and indicated they’d arrive in a couple of hours to collect the body. My family and I huddled around her bed, crying the first of many tears to be shed that week. We left her head uncovered until the funeral people arrived. It was shocking how quickly her body turned cold.

We wrapped her body in bed sheets and I kissed her head as we carried her out of the bedroom. She felt so light on the stretcher. The funeral people hopped in their white hearse and drove away into the night.

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