In the twilight, I watch my mother sleeping. She’s been in and out of it all day, barely awake enough to eat a few bites for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The hospital bed that was delivered to the house today has made her more comfortable, but it seems to me that she is sinking fast. Her vital signs are still good, but she is so weak that she can hardly take, even with strong assistance, the three baby steps needed to get to the bedside commode. Her mind is wandering a bit. Twice in the last hour she has asked to do things that are part of her morning routine and has been surprised when I’ve told her that it is evening. “It is?” she asks wonderingly – but her eyes are not open and she is clearly not quite here. Once she called out my name, but when I asked what she needed, she muttered that she didn’t know.
She crashed so quickly. A mere two days ago she was still doing some of her housework, still planning and preparing some meals, still using the toilet in the bathroom, still spending the night by herself in her bedroom. I think she will not be long in this world and I fight the choking sensation that I get when I think of life on this earth without her. Tonight, for the first time, there is the smell of decay and death in the room.
My brother is driving out again on Sunday, but, in truth, I’m not sure she will still be with us.
She may rally. My brother actually believes that, or at least so he keeps telling himself… and me. I suppose it’s possible that Mom may come back a bit, but I think my brother is in denial. Maybe that’s because I am here with her, watching the struggle, seeing the decline as it gathers speed with every passing minute.
I miss my husband so much. I miss my kids and my dog. I miss my home.
There is a part of me crying out in grief for the loss. I keep that part quiet during the day because she needs me to be strong. But she can't hear me in the middle of the night, and that's when the grief is probably most acute anyway.
It feels good to be needed -- Mom had always been so very independent -- and I wouldn’t have missed this precious time of ministering to her needs for anything.