The weekend is over and we are all back to real life.
Except that I'm 2000 miles from home in a coffee shop in the middle of Pennsylvania.
And my mother is dying.
The weekend went well, really. My brother and sister-in-law arrived shortly after noontime on Saturday, bringing with them a magnificent pot roast dinner that my sister-in-law had cooked at home the night before. Amazing meat, gravy, carrots, etc., etc., etc... you get the picture. We feasted, and Mom ate quite well.
She was really happy to see everyone there. But her strength gives out so quickly these days that we took a couple of breaks to drive into town simply to give her the opportunity to have a nap in her chair in peace and quiet.
My sister-in-law, Donna, is a home health aide, so she wrapped mom's legs for her - and taught me how to do it, too. The legs are terribly swollen with fluid, and they are red and starting to blister where the fluid is trying to escape through the skin. Wrapping them in non-stick pads helps to relieve the pain and irritation, and Mom was much more comfortable after we did that.
Comfort is the name of the game now. Last night we purchased a heated mattress cover, which will help keep her warm at night and decrease the need for lots of blankets (which are too heavy for her). With the heat from the mattress cover underneath her, she should be able to use a light comforter and be much more comfortable.
Tonight I'll be 'babysitting' while my stepfather attends a meeting (he's a township supervisor). My relationship with him has been good since I arrived, and I'm praying that it remains so. I feel terrible for the loss that he is going to endure -- my mother is the love of his life and his best friend in all the world. They've been together for 33 years, through thick and thin. The hole in his life will be huge.
Mom is slowing putting her things in order. She's closed her bank accounts and put all the money into my stepfather's accounts (to avoid complications later). She and I will be packing up the contents of her china closet this week - all the family china and heirloom pieces come to me. She and my stepfather have planned her funeral, picked out her casket, talked to their pastor about music and scripture, etc.
A good but bittersweet weekend, all in all.