recipe
Sep
29
2007

Where to start?

This has been some of the hardest days of my life.  Mom is still with us in body though I think she knows little of what is happening around her.  I spoke a good while with her doctor last night catching him up on this weeks progress, regress or whatever we are calling it.  Honestly I havent had time to really talk to him before then.  She did so well for a couple of nights sleeping from 11 or so to 7 or so the next morning but all that changed abruptly night before last.  I went to bed about 10:30 and at 11:30 Hannah woke me up.  Mom was calling me and I was so sound asleep I didnt hear the baby monitor.  Just sitting makes one so tired.  Much more tired that work.  So I got up.  She was restless and talking.  Mostly about people we know who have already passed.  She needed the phone she said to call Dessie and Orville.  Orville and Dessie have been dead since 1978 and 1980 respectively.  Then she asked me when my dad would be around to see her.  We talked and talked and finally she said she had to get up.  I thought she meant to the potty chair but she meant up.  Just up.  She hasnt been able to walk by herself for weeks.  So I convinced her to get back in bed and rest.  She did only she was pretty peeved at me.  So I went back to bed.  This scenario played out all night long.  She as just completely and utterly restless in her body.  Thrashing about and agitated.  At 8 am I called hospice (I hate calling anyone in the middle of the night if I can help it…yes, I know they are on call…)and they told me this was part of the process and to give her a dose of her lorazepam (1mg tablet) and continue to give them every 8 hrs.  I told them I hated to just dope her.  They explained that she cannot control herself at this time.  Her thoughts and emotions are jumbled and it makes her scared and anxious and quite frankly she is miserable when she is in such a state as she was during the night.  I took their advice but when her dr called last night I got his opinion and he concurred.  He asked me how it made me feel to watch her, I told him miserable and anxious.  He told me to think about how then she must feel.  And told me not to withhold any of her meds that help her rest.  She is in a state between two worlds and it is a very hard place to be.

Earlier in the day hospice had sent out a booklet about the last stages of dying and of course nothing was set in stone but it did help me to realize and understand that her state is very normal and at the same time unique.   Her picking at her clothes and flailing her arms and legs are responses to this process.  Her talking to and about people who have passed is completely normal.  Her very slow and erratic breathing is just the way things progress.  Her blood pressure is very low and I know the time of her passing is very near.  At least I hope for her sake it is.  I personally think she has suffered enough.  She hasnt been herself in weeks now.  Miserable, in pain, restless and wanting to let go of this tired and useless body.

The fact that I know I have done everything I can to take care of her these months is a great consolation to me.  Now do not get me wrong.  I have not always done it with a glad heart.  I have been so tired at times.  And resentful at times.  While I was happy to do this for her, it is not my nature at all.  It did not all come easy to me.  And at the same time I wouldnt have wanted to be any where else.  I hope this makes sense.  People have said to me that they admire me.  Family members have said they appreciate me.  Believe me when I say those are certainly not the reasons I have spent the last couple of weeks at my mom’s side almost 24/7.  I did it because it was the right thing to do.  She needed me.  And how could I have lived with myself if I hadnt been there?  Family members have said they couldnt do the things I have done.  You know why?  Because I was doing them.  If I hadnt been able, I am sure someone would have stepped in.  Surely.  I know my children would have.  Any one of them.  Benjamin, Rachel and Hannah have helped me turn her.  Get her straight and comfortable in the bed.  Get her on the potty chair.   My oldest son has spent the night with her tending to her so I could get some rest.  He got up and down no less than a dozen times that time.

Just before Husband left for Tunisia, I said to him “I dont know how long I can do this.  I am tired and it is so very hard to watch.”  His reply ” Until it is over.  These are extraordinary times.  They call for extraordinary actions. You will be fine.  You will do what is right. Your mom needs you.”  Of course I cried because I felt I had neglected him while he was home, and my home and my children.  He assured me he was not neglected and things would be back to normal soon enough and I would have no regrets.  No regrets.  Two very important words.

Here is a picture of us on a better day.

meandmom.jpg

Thanks for all your kind words.  I will be in touch again soon.  Have a wonderful weekend.

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Your post has touched me beyond words. With tears in my eyes, and a yet a gentle smile on my face, I have read your words. You most certainly are doing the right thing and you will have no regrets.

Christiane

It’s difficult for me to find the words because i’m a French mom, and my English is not very good…I like your blog very much, and in such a time, I want to leave a comment to say that I think of you and pray for your Mom and all your family…Your Mom has given to you all her love since you were a baby (what a lovely picture !), and now you give her all your love … And love is stronger than death …

I, too, am in tears after reading your post. I am a basket case anyway right now with my oldest about to get married and move away. I’m missing my mom more than ever now at this special time of our lives. Thank you for sharing your pain with us, for opening your heart and life to us. You are in my prayers.

Louise

As I was reading this it brought to mind my hubby’s uncle’s passing. He also thrashed around and was going back in time,and thrashing some more…like he was fighting to stay here…Then my aunt leaned over him and said,” George, I’ll be okay. I’ll be fine. You can go now in peace.” And he passed away just like that. It was as if he was trying to stay to look after Katie. Maybe you mom is doing the same..
And I know how you feel about looking after her. My situation is not the same in that my mom isn’t dying but she IS old and blind. I feel days of resentment for having her here with me but I wouldn’t have it any other way. You and I both know it is all for the best. So big hugs to you.

I’ve been reading your blog for a while and find your posts about your mum so moving. That picture of you both is beautiful. It’s certainly a sad and difficult time for you and your mum and I wish you strength to get through it.

i simply want you to know that you continue to be in my heart and prayers. cindy is right, in a little while, you will look back upon these bittersweet days and know you’ve done the right thing and your heart will feel your mother smiling down on you!

How very brave you are not only to comfort and care for your mother at the end of her life, but also to share your experience so poignantly with others.

Audrey

God bless you at this time. I will pray for you. This can’t be easy but you are blessed to be with her and she is blessed to have you there.

I sooo know what you are feeling. You may remember that my mother passed in May after quite a time with Alzheimer’s/Parkinson’s. The end days are hard to watch.
Very hard.

I went through the very same thing with my father not very long ago. What you are describing sounds very much like what my father went through.

It is hard to watch.

But, you will never regret being there for her. I promise.

Michelle

Hey there, I have been on the go all day and afraid to call you in case you were finally able to get some rest. Shannon and I are here if you need us, don’t forget it!
We love you all so much!!
I love the picture of you and your Mom! I have never seen a picture of her when she was young, you look like her. Its nice to have things like that.

Oh my…just that you are there for her is so important at this time. She may not seem to know you’re there, but I know she does.

We lost my Mom this past April and I know it’s so incredibly difficult to go through. (understatement!)

God is all around…and remember He will not give you more than you can handle.

God bless you and your family. I could go on and on, but won’t. I’ll pray for you and yours.

Still praying for you and your mother. I am tearing up just reading your post. I have not had to go through this yet, but I know the day will come.

Thank you for sharing your pain and your happiness. I have been thinking of you daily and checking at least once a day for an update.

Please know we all care for you here, and we will be here for you till the end and then some.

Much love and blessings,
Pat

I’m praying for you and your mom. May the Lord give your mother “peace” at this time and you the “extra strength” that you need to help your mom in her passing. Life is a journey and your mom is near the end of her journey. You are a good daughter to walk the last few steps with her . . . hand in hand.

Blessings!

I will keep on praying for both you and your Mom. You are so awesome…and you are doing all you can. She knows. hang in there.
Much love,
Jenny

Kay

Your post just wrenched my heart! I feel so badly for what you and your mother are going through. The words brought me back to the days of watching my own mother’s passing 37 years ago. It is a very painful time and my heart just goes out to you. Sending BIG Farmgirl hugs your way and prayers to heaven!

dear dear Susan..I send to you a big hug at this time…and one for your mother too.

Sue

No matter how hard it gets, treasure this time with her, it will be one of the greatest gifts you will recieve. I lost my Mom last year and wasn’t able to help her like you, I did get to make the trip to see her one last time before she passed, but that is all I have now. Blessings to you!

Ann

Susan, your description of this road you and your mom are on brings back my own memories (I also didn’t hear the baby monitor, with disasterous results), and it’s both the hardest thing and the best thing you could be doing. “No regrets” was also our mantra. You say it all so well. Big farmgirl hugs!

I’m praying for peace, for both you and your mother. You have such admirable strength, whether you recognize it or not. God bless.

Wow. There’s so little to say in response, other than thank you for your profound post. Praying.

Laura of Harvest Lane

Hi Dearie,
Your post brought to memory the last times I had with my mother.

May God give you precious moments with your mamma with her in her right mind. I know it’s close, but He can give you those moments.

God give you strength and grace and peace for you and for your mamma.

Laura

My thoughts and prayers remain with you and your mom. I so admire you for all that you are doing for you mom. She is very blessed to have you by her side. (((HUGS))) Your words touch me to the core.

I’ve been following your blog ever since the Spring when your Mom was diagnosed. My Mom turned 82 a few weeks ago and while she’s doing ok right now I know someday I may be doing just what you are and I hope and pray that I’m as strong as you are and handle things with the strength and grace that you are. You’ll never regret going through this with her. You and your Mom are in my prayers every day.
Cheryl

There are no words . Just love and understanding from me to you and your Mama.
God Bless You.
Lindy

((Hugs))

cheers,
~The Bella Modiste~

Laurie

This is my first visit to your blog. I was very touched by your honest and heartfelt entry. I am sorry that you and your mom and your family have to go through this, I know it is so very hard. I also know that you will always be grateful for the experience, sad and difficult as it has been. Wishing peace for you and yours.

Quite randomly, I got to your site. mysteriously directed by forces unknown.

I did not read any post past this one as well, I simply regressed to another time and place in my life and could not. I have walked in your shoes and am intimate with the hardness that you are enduring.

God bless you and your strength and your weakness and all of that.

Your husband is wise, you will live thru it, it will be the hardess thing you ever live thru, but you will do it.

If you need to vent or cry, there are so many of us who sit vigils, email me if you feel inclined and know that we are your inspiration.