We are in the midst of the dying process. I guess you could say that we have, since the end of June, been in the midst of the dying process but we kid ourselves that we have control and we look for excuses to lessen the reality.
But now, we are DEFINTELY in the dying process. Mom had a goodbye conversation with me on Wednesday. She thanked me for everything I have done for her and told me I was a good daughter. She told me that even though she was telling me she was ok that something was "weird" and that she knew she was dying. I told her not to worry about me and I told her that I loved her. I tried hard not to cry, but could not help myself. My mom cried at first, but when I started to cry, she stopped. When I asked her if my crying bothered her, she said no – in fact, she rather appreciated it!
On Thursday, I thought she was going to die. She was in a lot of pain and required much more morphine – the nursing home had to call hospice to get permission to raise the dosage. She was breathing irratically, and showed signs of apnia (not breathing for seconds at a time) but later in the day her breathing stabilized and she just sounded like she was sleeping.
On Friday she appeared much stronger but at one point she asked me what was happening to her. When I asked her what she thought was happening to her, she told me she thought she was dying. I told her that that was true – and if I could, I would spend all of my money to make her well again (if that would do it) and that I would give anything for her not to have to go through this. I brought one of her favorite movies – the George C. Scott version of "The Christmas Carol" and played it for her. She watched for a while and made mention of her favorite part, and then she closed her eyes and listened. After a while, she opened her eyes and told me she did not remember that movie at all (she has seen it dozens of times) – and so it becomes so apparent that her mind goes in and out.
I got there early on Saturday and the first thing she asked me was if I was mad at her. I sad no, and when I asked her why, she told me that she thought I was mad at her because I had not been there in a long time (just most of the day on Wednesday, all day Thursday and all day on Friday). I spent some time with her, but then left as I had a lot of stuff to do at home.
Today, hospice called and offered to have a nurse spend the entire day with mom to monitor her.They wanted to do it for a couple of reasons. First, they wanted to note when she was in pain to better be able to determine how to administer her pain medication. Second, they wanted to watch her to determine if they could somewhat speculate on where she was in the dying process. I really appreciated that, as the past few days have been the worst roller coaster ride I have been on for a while.
I cried so hard on Wednesday after we had the goodbye conversation, that my eyes hurt for the rest of the night. They hurt so bad, I had to put a cold compress on them for most of the evening. Then the next day, she is stronger. But I understand, this is natural, and her ability to rally will become less and less.
Today when I got there, she knew who I was, she told me she loved me, but she said some things that I could not understand. For most of the time I was there, she slept. And the nurse is going to call me this evening to give me an update on what she observed all day today.
I called my brother and told him to be prepared. I keep telling myself to be prepared – but I know I can’t. Every time the phone rings, I jump. I struggle with what to do with work at this point as so much is going on there – but this is my mom and the last days of her life. I just hope I make the right decisions.
I want her to be out of her misery and I want her back to where she was, but that cannot be. So I pray that dad will take her hand, calm her fears, and gently help her over to the other side – and then when she’s ready, that they dance like they used to.