Strange viewpoint from a 50something

Posts tagged ‘waiting’

Living While Dying..

I’ve spent the last week tending to my Mom. The time has been fun and easy, as she is such a good soul. She doesn’t require much ‘babysitting’, in fact she hates the hovering! Still the most independent person I know, she insists things go her way. And as restricted as she is, she wants the last word!! Haha!! The most that I have been doing is cooking her meals and making sure her coffee maker (which is positioned next to her bed) is ready to go for the next day.

We had a visit yesterday from one of her doctors. (Who knew some still make house calls!?!?) I found out after he had left that it wasn’t a doctor/patient visit… he came and sat with my Mom as a friend. I am… overwhelmed. This man took time out of his day and came to her home, and just visited. And when he left… he hugged my Mom. In this day and age, any doctor who takes a personal interest (like this housecall) in their patients is so very rare. And you could tell, as they interacted, that his concern was genuine.

In 90% of her mind she is sure that this way of life will not last long… (and I am NOT talking about her anticipating her death here!) she is determined to live life on her terms! She truly believes that she will work herself back to life lived alone. I love her spunk and determination.. even if she tires easily she still wants to do it herself. Currently she can only move herself from bed to bathroom, and back again. Or from bed to her chair in living room. Now these excursions are not more than 10 to 15 ft, but it takes a good 10 minutes for her to recover.. the air use to just move that little bit of space overloads her very damaged lungs. She is such a trooper though… still believing that she can bring herself back. From where I sit, I don’t see how she can recover from all the damage, but I do see a woman who has great hope and faith. Talking to my sister by phone, we came to the same conclusion… it’s because of that hope and faith that she is doing as well as she is. Had she gone into some sort of care facility or senior home, she would have already given up and died. But being at home, in her own environment… that’s made the difference.
The other 10% of her mind is spent thinking of all the things she wants everyone to have. Out of the blue she will direct me to something stashed somewhere in her huge house and tell me to get it out and give it to ______ (insert name here). Nothing found is super important.. (bows for my daughter?!) but to her it’s very important! While I’m here, any request to do anything will be fulfilled. No matter how insignifigant it might seem to me, if she asks I will answer.

The funny thing about all this is the term – “death watch”. The sibs and I were told that she is going to die. The doctor explained that she didn’t have long to live. But the more I think of that.. the more I realize how stupid it is. Death watch. We are all on it. And not just for other people but for ourselves as well. (I remember when I was young and I finally understood what death meant… damn I was mad!! In my little girl mind I just kept coming back to one thought… why would people bring children into this world knowing that the end result is death? How unfair!!) So what makes this different? We are all going to die. So because of Mom’s unique situation, we are suppose to sit around and wait for her death? My Mom isn’t. And what am I learning? That I won’t either. Her inspiration is so very strong and I hear it loud and clear!!

What a turn of events… this living while dying thing.

Advertisements

When there’s a way.. the will isn’t far behind,,

I am a few days away from returning to St Louis. My Mom has found a new wave of life to ride. So much more restricted, but she lives on. In talking to both my siblings, I’ve learned that she is even being left alone for a couple hours at a time!! I know my Mom has been insisting on this… to go from ~happy she lives by herself to having one of us there 24/7~ I can only guess that she is rejoicing in the quiet! I’ve spoken to her on the phone and when you’re not there, you picture in your mind what you want to see. So in my mind, she is her old -I-can-do-it-myself- Mom. In reality though, she is doing well, she’s found a new routine for her day, with very little movement involved. Her voice sounded tired this last chat I had with her… but her scrappy attitude is still intact!!

I am back in the state of worry I was in when I came home a couple weeks ago. The situation has not changed. It’s still the same reasoning. I am there to watch over my Momma. To take turns with my siblings, to wait an undetermined amount of time until she dies. This ticks me off. So not fair. If there is one thing I have learned… life is not fair. In fact, it’s harsh as hell. But the small sliver of bright in this muck is that I can still talk to her. All my life I have told Mom things, I have confided in her, shared more with her than most women do with their Moms. She has always been my go to girl when it comes to advice. I find it difficult to see my life without her ear and her words.

During the 10 days I was there before, so much time was spent learning how to care for and deal with my Mom as she loses her battle with emphysema. Hospice had multiple visits to acclimate us to all her needs now and in her short future. These days there is a new flow to her day that I will fall into. A routine for me to learn and be a part of. For 2 weeks I will have downtime that I cannot find in my real life. With my erratic schedule (thank you AltasAir!) I have no normal type of daily ritual. Time to do things always seem to be interrupted by something or other.

So for me to just…. sit. And…. wait.

I will enjoy all the days I have remaining with her. I will tell her all the dramas I have always told her about… I will tell her the secrets I tell only my momma.. I will share my latest craft idea which will invoke an idea that she will share with me.. I will share the funniest things I can come up with to hear her laughter..

I will..

I will..

I will..

I will find all the will I will need.

Before I get there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And so life resumes…

My Mom is at home, and she is stable, after a week with her and not seeing any decline in her health, it was time to peel myself away from the situation and return to my life. I’ve missed Del. I’ve missed my job, my friends. I returned home to Alabama. The drive was long, filled with memories and tears. What if I never hug and kiss her again? The ‘what if’s’ ravaged my mind the entire ride.

Now that I’m home, I am overwhelmed. There is so much to get back to but I just can’t find the motivation. I feel lost. My mind is in St Louis. Busy worrying about the one thing I cannot change. It felt good to go back to work, the activity of moving around is a mood lifter. By the time I finished for the day, I was so physically whooped. Seems it just doesn’t matter though, my mind is still at full throttle. My sweet Mom, her independent spirit is still very much alive! Her will to control what is happening is there, but it’s just not working like it used to. I kissed and hugged her before I left. My last image of her was the helplessness and the fear of waiting I saw reflected in her eyes. How can I stop thinking about it??

I am proud that my sibs and I have come together to make sure she knows one of us will be with her until and at the moment. We three worked out a schedule where we will each be there to help take care of her. Even though hospice is involved, their time with her is limited until her health really declines. I have been home almost a week and the phone calls I’ve had with her – Mom sounds so amazing!! I know she is more restricted than she has ever been, that will never change. How can we possibly be waiting for such a thing as her death? The doctor told us to expect it soon. She doesn’t have much time… but to talk to her, it just seems unreal. She said to me today that she wants to know how much longer. How do I answer that???? And if all this is hard on me, what must it be doing to her?

She has been the one we have relied on for guidance and love. Where do I find the guidance I need to help her through this? Is my mind trying to deny her condition? Is it how I am able to function day to day without my mind taking me where I don’t want to go? This is not how it’s suppose to be! The little girl in me is stomping around and kicking up a fuss..