I’m still coming to terms with the idea that my mom is dying. It hardly seems possible. I mean, I knew, eventually, she would die. But death felt faraway. It still feels far away. If she is dying, it’ll take time. My mom was in OK shape, physically, before her sudden decline; she was decently hydrated, and like I said, the woman has a knack from coming back from the brink. She’s done it before. Why couldn’t she do it again? Never mind the fact that she hasn’t really eaten in six days … just a few bites of sorbet and sips of water through a plastic pipette.
It doesn’t feel like she’s dying. I don’t feel an overwhelming urge to sit by her bedside until she finally passes away. Maybe I should, but what is the point? Nothing is happening. She’s lying there, corpse-like. Sometimes her eyes will open, and then she’ll fall asleep again — eyes still open. I can tell she’s sleeping because she starts snoring. I don’t know what to do with myself, so I squeeze out a large dollop of citrus-ginger scented hand lotion and quietly massage her arms and hands. I say a few prayers, tell her it’s OK to leave this world. And then I shake my fist at God.
Really, you’re going to drag this out to the bitter end, huh?
It has been ten years — give or take — since I noticed something was wrong with my mother. That’s more than 3,000 days. And here we are. Waiting. Waiting on Him. He must be Latin, just like us… we’re always late.
My mother’s family is very religious. Everyone is praying for her. And if they’re not praying for her, they’re thinking of her. There are a lot of thoughts and prayers are floating around … “You’re in my thoughts,” “Recite this prayer,” “Tell her we love her.” I’ve also been told that God will take her when he’s ready. I realize he’s very busy these days, what with mankind slaughtering one another (in His name), but surely he can move her up the list… I see it sort of like a transplant list. He’s transplanting her from Earth to Heaven. But this dilly-daddling is total bullshit. I find it difficult to believe in a loving, kind God when a) he takes his time escorting her through the pearly gates of heaven and b) this is how he saw fit to treat her these last ten years. With a terribly grotesque disease that has rotted out her brain. My mother who devoted herself to her church and to God. Frankly, I’m surprised the woman never became a nun. A life of prayer would have suited her, I think.
So here we are waiting. Waiting for her to bounce back and resume a life of nothing or waiting for her to die. Peacefully, I hope. And in a timely fashion.
You have been through an amazing journey and helped so many people in the process. I’d like to share this upcoming event that may help you and others as well.
I’ve never been through what you’re going through, the waiting, but from what I’ve read, the coming of death can take days. I hope you can give yourself permission to say goodbye and then leave so that your mom has permission to go on when she is ready. You are a good daughter and you have done a great job caring for your mom.
I’m sending the best wishes for you both,
Kathy, my heart goes out to you – I know exactly how unreal it seems. How can you be surprised when your mom dies, when she is in an inpatient hospice facility?… but I was. Your mom is comfortable now, and you are doing exactly what you can do, which does not seem like much, let alone “enough” but it really is everything. Hugs, prayers for peace; I know how the grief changes you forever, to go through this makes life ever after so much different, but you are a strong and good person and you will be okay.
One of my good friends’ mothers suffered from dementia and though it wasn’t a member of my own family I could definitely feel how much it weighed on her. Luckily for her and her mother she had a great support system of friends to lean on. I hope the same is true for you. Bless.
Wow, so well written. I am envious, actually. I went through the same thing, and I wrote about it. But you expressed my feelings, better than me!