Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Fond Farewell

I haven't posted in a while. The past few months have been filled with much stress, new challenges, learning experiences, and sorrow.

Just after the holidays, my mom had been complaining of pains in her lower tummy. We took her to the doctor, and they poked around and determined it was a UTI and gave her meds. She seemed a little better for a while, and then the pains returned around early March. One day, she mentioned she had a large lump in her belly, and I felt it and immediately called the doctor. We had her in for a CT Scan the next day, and found she had a mass on her colon measuring 3" x 3.5" in size. She passed away at home one month later.

After caring for my mother at home through many years with dementia, I wasn't about to stash her in a home because she had cancer too. After consulting with her doctor, I decided to have Vernon County Hospice come in a couple of times a week to help me. They were a godsend. As her illness grew worse, they were coming almost every weekday, and arranged for someone to stay with her to give me a couple of hours respite time once a week. They supplied a hospital bed and all of the personal care items we required. Of course, we only needed them for a few weeks, but I was so glad to have the help and support. Even 6 weeks later, the Hospice Coordinator is coming to my door to check on me and offer his support.

Watching your strong, independent mother suddenly become so frail and weak and relying on you for everything is very sad, and having her sleep away her last days and not be able to talk and laugh together as we always did was even more sad, but I was privaleged to spend her last days and hours with her.

Even though I had to take care of all of her physical needs, she was still in control. On her last night, as she lay there deep in sleep, I held her hand all night and and assured her many times that it was okay to let go and go home, but she hung on. The next day I was so tired, I couldn't stay awake, and told her I was going to lay down for a little while on the bed I'd made across the room, but I'd be right there if she needed me. That was about 3:30 in the afternoon on April 16th. At 5:30 the phone rang and woke me. I found Mom had slipped away quietly while I slept, and I believe she passed just after I fell asleep, because of the coolness of her skin. She needed me to take care of her and couldn't refuse the help, but she could still hold on and spare me so that I didn't have to watch her die. That was how Mom was. Always taking care of her family.

Mom has been gone for several weeks now, and I miss her companionship, but I know that she is where she is happy and free of pain and confusion. She is with my Dad and her parents and family, and is smiling down on me and is grateful that she raised me to believe in taking care of the old folks at home so that they could live and die with dignity in a place where they were comfortable.

Rest easy now, Mom. We got this... :)