Good Enough

A good enough moment

Mom took her last breath at 9:40 a.m. Monday June 13. The time is not precise, the moment wasn’t perfect. They were good enough.

A good enough daughter

For many reasons, uneasiness shoots through my body when people tell me, “You’re a wonderful daughter.” Writing about mom’s journey with Alzheimer’s, I’ve included many tender moments, and some of the choices we made with each other along the way, but I know (and I point out when I write) that I haven’t made the most sacrificial choices, I haven’t been heroic in any way.

A good enough goodbye

By the time I walked from my house to my parents’, mom’s lungs had been still for a couple of minutes. Her body was done.

And now

We had reached the part where you look at each other, “What now?” Where you look at your phone, “Who else do I need to call?”

Making peace with the moment

In my head, I had planned this moment. I’d be with her, and, with the sitter’s help, I’d bathe her. “We just bathed her,” the sitter explained. Mom was clean. I could feel the warmth of life in her hand, I rubbed my fingers across her knobby knuckles, still moist and soft with lotion. The moment wasn’t how I imagined it would be, but this moment was good enough.

Perfectly Good Enough

It’s interesting to listen to the anecdotes about how the dying choose the moment. “He waited till we all left” or the other end of it: “She waited until every last one of them was in the room.”

  • Mom died on Monday, June 13, not on Sunday, June 12, not on her granddaughter’s birthday.
  • Mom died in the morning on Monday, when I was fresh out of the shower. Not two hours later when I would be halfway to New Orleans for my work trip, not Monday evening when I would have been at dinner with my work team.
  • Mom died mid-June, three and a half weeks before the third house on the farm would be occupied and unavailable for family; not late June or early July, when we might have to make hard decisions about accommodations.
  • Mom died on Monday, not Tuesday, and early enough for me to make my first engagement.
©Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2022



Louisiana-based author of women’s fiction and sci-fi and World Languages editor.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Pennie A Nichols

Pennie A Nichols

Louisiana-based author of women’s fiction and sci-fi and World Languages editor.