My mom, my mother, my friend....goodbye, I miss you.
Me and my Mother, Pat
My mother, Patricia, died 3 days, 10 hours ago, January 26th, 2009.
She was 77. She was diagnosed with Relapsing/Remitting Multiple Sclerosis when she was 44. Four years ago and 6 days, my Father, Ken, died of lung cancer one week after diagnosis. He never left the hospital. I was with him when he died.
My mom lost her battle to MS, but also due to the great sorrow of losing her home to Assisted Living, and then 8 months later to a nursing home. Her will to fight any longer diminished to a plea to be kept comfortable, a promise I made to her with all my heart, as her caregiver after dad died.
I ushered in help from Hospice after the resident Physician began to cut back on the drugs she was taking for her disease, and had been for 33 years. My desperate call for help was heard and hospice came in. Until her dying day I fought for her comfort. I even fought one hospice nurse, who, when I asked for an increase in the morphine because my mom was in pain, remarked that it was just anxiety, give her xanax. When I told her my mom’s right hand was swollen, she said, “It wasn’t when I was there.”
My embittered, sobbing plea for the other hospice nurse who had also seen mom to please, help me, was heard by her. We increased her morphine to a scheduled, every two hour basis. Mom was again in peace.
I was with mom when she passed. She began to panic as her lungs filled with fluid, trying hard to speak but her words were unintelligible. As the nursing home nurses were wanting to suction her, I refused so they called hospice and my favorite nurse was on call. When the room was cleared I began to whisper to my mom, “Don’t be afraid, it’s ok.” I would hum sweet hymns to her as she began to relax. “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus” was the hymn I sung with increasing volume to her as she relaxed into a breath, then a sigh, breath, then, a sigh. My promise to keep her comfortable was being fulfilled. She died quietly and without struggle after that. Without the trauma of having her lungs suctioned.
I learned, as with my dad’s week in the hospital, to be a strong advocate for my dying loved ones. To not be afraid to confront or question authority. I knew my parents, they did not. This strength has now been replaced with great weakness and sorrow, longing and fear. They are gone. I am only 49. We were close, loving…every time the phone rings I think mom is calling.
Who understands? Only those who know. Only those who know. Where are they? Few and far between. God hears, but where is He with flesh on?
I won’t soon get over this… but I will. In some ways never the same, but I don’t want to be. I want to be changed, bettered, new.
That’s the newness of MY loss. My mother, my friend. Oh, God, it hurts. These words are just spilled out, not poured over or changed over and over to get it just right..... my heart exposed and fragile. Loss overwhelming.