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Update on my Mom

This past Sunday, I had spent my usual Sunday with my Mom. She seemed to be the same … lacking an appetite, except for some coffee ice cream, tired, sweet, loving, cute as she is, you just want to hug her and hug her and hug her.


Then early Wednesday, we get a phone call from her nurse manager saying, Mom is not doing well at all and has announced she is going to die today.

Whoa. That came on quickly.

Thankfully, I had the day off from work, so i took a shower and went straight away to be by my mother’s side.

Her breathing was/is incredibly labored; she was restless physically. Hospice and her nursing staff started giving her a liquid form of morphine and an intense expectorant to help her feel more comfortable and be able to breathe more easily.

Sis3 flew in from the East Coast, though all three sisters have been here to be with Mom and said “good-bye” to her twice already since January.

Mom’s physical state was all over the place yesterday. Yet, by late afternoon, I asked her if she was going to die today, and she said no. I know what may have caused this change, but it’s too long a story to elaborate.

With continued doses of morphine and expectorant, she has stabililzed, though it is clear she is continuing to decline. She has neat moments of lucidity with us, then falls back to sleep.

The one thing clear: Our Mom is in the active stage of dying. Judging from books we’ve read on the last stages of life, our Mom is in the one-to-two-week phase of her life.

Our mom is a strong-willed woman, and could possibly hang on longer. For her own comfort, I hope she doesn’t. Though the expectorant and morphine are helping, she is in constant discomfort and now pain.

Thankfully, my family and i have been slowly getting things organized for when our Mom does die. It’s not done, but we’re close.

I feel like I can focus most of my freetime attention on being with my mother, instead of running around getting things done on her behalf.

Peace and love to you all.

ellie

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Comments

( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
huggscancer
Jul. 7th, 2006 06:43 am (UTC)
*Huggles tight*

im soooo sorry to hear that you have to go through this.

i hope you all find peace in being able to be with her

hang in there hun

loves

kirsten
lost_tumbleweed
Sep. 1st, 2006 01:28 am (UTC)
finally, i'm responding ... though you and i have exchanged thoughts here and there since my mother died.

thank you, kirsten, for all your huggs and supportive words. you've been through so much, yet you really have found much solice in being supportive to others.

i hope you are taking care of yourself!
girl_next_dork
Jul. 7th, 2006 06:47 am (UTC)
It was so eerie when my grandfather was within a week of dying. I'm too young to understand it surely, much less know what to do. It's just really emotional to witness those last days.

I'm sorry that she's coming to the end of her road, but she must be so proud to have such a wonderful and caring daughter by her side. You've been so great to her. And it sounds like your relationship has been wonderful. I hope she doesn't suffer too much.

I'll be thinking of you.

-C
lost_tumbleweed
Sep. 1st, 2006 01:39 am (UTC)
Hi C'.

I know exactly what you mean about "... being too young to understand ..." My father died when I was 19. He was my best friend and mentor. It was a very difficult loss. I was compelled to be strong and responsible. I didn't allow myself to do much grieving. Even though I had read Elizabeth Kubla Ross. I knew it was important to allow those emotions their freedom. Unfulfilled grieving comes out in various inappropriate ways.

It took loads of therapy and time to grieve in a healthy way.

That's how I approached death as a younger person.

You may have read in a later lj entry that my mother had what was probably the most peaceful death a person could have. She didn't need any pain or anxiety medications for the last 12 or so hours of her life. It was amazing, especially after watching her older roommate have a most difficult few days of dying roughly 36 hours prior to my mom's.
kayre
Jul. 7th, 2006 11:27 am (UTC)
Oh my.... I hope that her passing can be peaceful, and a time of closure and healing for you and the rest of the family. I'll be praying.
lost_tumbleweed
Sep. 1st, 2006 01:41 am (UTC)
Thank you, C, for your uplifting thoughts and prayers.

My mother's passing was incredibly peaceful. If we could all be so fortunate. It made it easier for my sister and me witnessing the process.
(Deleted comment)
lost_tumbleweed
Sep. 1st, 2006 01:43 am (UTC)
Thank you, Misfit'. :)

I like your "prayer-type" thoughts.

And your usericon at the moment is great ... very Dorothy Parker. I'm sure it wasn't the icon you had showing when you wrote your comment.

Do you know any works by Dorothy Parker?
mollywog
Jul. 7th, 2006 12:41 pm (UTC)
*hugs* I'll be praying for your Mom and all of you concerned.
lost_tumbleweed
Sep. 1st, 2006 01:45 am (UTC)
Hi Mol', though we just exchanged thoughts, I still want to thank you for your prayers during July.

You are a big hearted woman. I've known that from the moment I "met" you.

Peace, my dear.
volvocowgirl
Jul. 7th, 2006 08:37 pm (UTC)
i'm so sorry to read this and i will keep you and your family in my thoughts. i'm glad your mom has you as a daughter to care for her like this.
lost_tumbleweed
Sep. 1st, 2006 01:46 am (UTC)
Ah, D, thank you for your thoughts.

I need to catch up with your life. I know you're enjoying life with your little ones. I hope all is well with you.

Nancy
emschin
Jul. 7th, 2006 08:40 pm (UTC)
I know this is a difficult time. I can see you've prepared well, not only for practical things but for the dying process. My heart is with you!

For your Mom's sake, I hope she doesn't linger long in pain. I'm remembering my brother's and sister-in-law's recent death and the care my niece gave them. I hope it's a comfort to you that you've been such a good and caring daughter. Even in her pain, I know you are a comfort to her.
lost_tumbleweed
Sep. 1st, 2006 01:57 am (UTC)
Hi again, M.

Thanks for the kudos you say here.

Preparation for the practical things was the difficult part.

Since I was in my 20s, I've worked hard on facing the emotional side of life. My father's death in 1984 helped me to work on facing death and dying. Though we were very close, I didn't know how to "act" around him. I could speak my feelings to him only. Yet that was fine.

With Mom, I learned to be more comfortable with "being" with her. Cuddling up with her and comforting her with a gentle touch or an arm draped across her body. So many people lay dying without human touch. I believe it's something they long for, but either don't know how to ask for it or simply can't ask for it.

My mom did have pain, yet her final days seemed to be incredibly peaceful. In her final days, she didn't want cuddling. I understand. She needed to go through the final process ... between two worlds. Cuddling only interfered with that process.
m_leprae
Jul. 8th, 2006 01:19 am (UTC)
I'm sorry....

You'll all be in my thoughts.
lost_tumbleweed
Sep. 1st, 2006 02:00 am (UTC)
Hi C.

Thank you for your thoughts, and for being such a good guy. You really make a person feel good ... and you're funny as all hell.

I'm fortunate to have you as a now long-term friend. We may not communicate much, but you're there in my heart.

Peace, Guy, and go chop down a tree ... if this email is too mushy. :)
i_dread
Jul. 8th, 2006 04:24 am (UTC)
be well, rest, eat... it's about all I can say.

Your moms is loved...
lost_tumbleweed
Sep. 1st, 2006 02:02 am (UTC)
'Dread,

You are a special individual.

We don't exchange thoughts much, yet it doesn't matter.

Thank you for the positive "take care of myself" thoughts.

And never ever change.
wisdom_seeker
Jul. 8th, 2006 06:44 pm (UTC)
Oh, my. I wish I had the magic words to make this all better, but there are none. Instead, I wish you peace through this difficult time.
lost_tumbleweed
Sep. 1st, 2006 02:09 am (UTC)
wisdom_seeker,

Your reply alone helped lift my spirits (as much as they could be lifted during that time period). Thank you.

It has been a difficult time, but with time it continues to get better.

Someone once said on NPR about the death of a loved one:

"You may never get over the death of your loved one, but you can get through it."

That says so much. And it's so true. I lost my dad in 1984. I still miss him very much, yet I'm still here. My life is different with him in a different state of being (a guardian angel?). So many memories make me smile.

One more thank you: Thank you for your wish for peace during this difficult time. It's been 50/50. Maybe if we all put our thoughts together and focus on peace, it may appear more often.

:)
celie
Jul. 10th, 2006 11:59 am (UTC)
you have my thoughts. x
lost_tumbleweed
Sep. 1st, 2006 02:10 am (UTC)
Always your thoughts and your amazing photographs, Celie.

Thank you.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

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