Thursday, January 21, 2010

On Death

I think that at some point brought on by age or illness or perhaps both, you will know when you're going to die. My dad knew he was going to die. He told me so. I tried to do the "brave face" thing for him. I didn't want him to die. When we were called and told that he had gone into a coma we immediately went to the hospital. He was struggling to breathe. I encouraged him but somehow, I realized that it was a losing battle, a struggle of great effort without hope. I was holding Dad's hand when I told him it was all right to let go. He did. I know he heard me. He heard me and responded to try to breathe. He stopped when I said it was ok to do so.

Now Mom is in that way. She's been afflicted with Alzheimer's for about 8-10 years. She's only had to be in an assisted living facility for a little over a year. This past couple of months has been bad for her. She had been gaining weight. Last week I was sitting with her talking about whatever and she said something. I couldn't hear her. I leaned forward and asked her to repeat it. She said, "I want to die. I can't take this anymore. It's too hard." I told her I loved her and she said, "I know," and slipped back into the abyss.

On Tuesday night she had a bit of blood in her mouth we could not find the source of but it appeared to be some gum bleeding. I took her to the bathroom to brush her teeth. She said, clearly, "it is too hard." I asked, "Are you ready to go back to bed? "Yes," was the reply. Weighed today we discovered that since the 14th she's lost 13 pounds. Yesterday morning she told a caregiver that she was going to die. I was told that she again had sounded very lucid.

I think that people in such circumstances know the time of their passing. I think her doctor suspected as much when we took her to see him just before New Year's day. I suspect it is near her time. I hope I am wrong and I hope I'm right.

I don't want her to die. I don't want to think that maybe, if I had done something differently, asked different questions, brought her different food or toothpaste (or something), if I had convinced her to see the doctor about her memory loss sooner that she might have lived longer. BUT, I believe that when that time comes she'll go to a better place, that she'll be with the people she loves, that she'll be without limitation. She's been a great mother and she deserves that.

Mom passed from this world to the next at 10:25 AM on 23 January 2010. She was reasonably comfortable, had been commended to God, and was in the company of her loving family. While she was apparently aware she was dying, we didn't know until very close to the end. Even as debilitated as she was she reached out to us telling us we had done well, that she loved us and we were good people. She continued to teach us lessons of forbearance and patience to the end.

Many expressed their love and respect by way of their calls, notes, food, fellowship and attendance at her graveside service. We are deeply appreciative of everyone's contribution(s).


Paul Moreland said...

Well, my friend - there's not much I can say other than I do, in a way, understand what you are saying. This is a difficult situation to be in and I believe you've done your level best to provide for your mom's needs - and that's all any of us can do, the rest is up to our Lord.

David aka True Blue Sam said...

I am sorry that you and your mother are having to go through such a long ordeal. There just is not a good way. You are a good son, and I am sure she is glad to have you watching over her.

Keith said...

My prayers are with your family Hobie