8 hours of driving. Of wondering, speculating, crying, wishing and fearing the unknown. I went straight to the hospital where my brother met me. Never saw this before… the worry mixed with relief on his face. As we walked in, he talked a mile a minute, explaining what I was walking into. We got to her room and I peered in the window. Her frail frame laying in the bed. Angry looking contraption on her face. The tv was on and I kinda hoped she was awake, but she was asleep. Kenny and I decided to find some coffee and check in on her in a bit. Again, he filled me in on everything. Doctors, medical status, her paperwork… it went on. We cried and we laughed and we worried together for the first time in years.
Mom was asleep still when we checked on her again. I was tired. He was tired. So it was decided we would return in the morning. We got to his house and I think we were still a little wound up so we went through some of the paperwork, and the pad of paper he was reading all this overwhelming information from was in his handwriting. He has spent these last few days investigating all the medical aspects and all the legal aspects. The time he must have spent to have so much information! I was quietly impressed, and secretly relieved.
I am nervous as we drive there the next day… how am I going to handle seeing her in such a sad state? How will put on that brave face and not show the fear I feel? Every step closer to her room my feet seem to gain weight.
Deep breath, I walk through the door and there she is… sitting up, no mask with a surprised smile on her face… “well what are you doing here?” I was stunned. Kenny was stunned. Neither of us processing that she seems to be herself. Gosh I was so glad to see her! All that worrying about things unknown. It’s dawning on me, wait a minute, I had come to terms with this in my mind and now what’s this?? A reprieve? Hope? Please?
For a few days now I have seen two things… This woman, my Mom, is willing herself back to what she wants… to go home. But I also she the fear and acceptance of a life lived, of the reality of the end of her life. She knows it’s close.
My sister arrived Friday night from Switzerland. We had a telephone conference with Mom’s main doctor. Very thorough he was. With great respect, he delicately explained exactly where Mom’s health is. The beauty of the last couple days is my lovely Mom has been herself, joking and cuttin’ up. Being the sassy-self she is. The situation is very grim though, regardless of this wonderfully hopeful resurgence. Doctor tells us her choices are she goes into an assisted living facility and her medical needs will always be top priorty, they will use all means necessary to keep her alive, or she can go home with hospice, and ride out the rest of her days. Now, in either scenario, her time is (“I don’t have a crystal ball and can’t truly say how long”) really limited to just months.
After a long discussion between us, we will go in today, surprise her with Karen, and deliver the worse news anyone in any condition will ever be prepared to hear. This is where we have to be the strong adults she so diligently raised.