Monday, April 30, 2012

last rites

She said I did not have to do it.

But I could hardly imagine not doing it.

 The Hospice nurse that showed up at my door early Sunday afternoon was a new face, it being a Sunday and all. She was extremely welcomed because having someone in charge was important at that particular time to all of us.

 It would be the last time I would assist in cleaning my mother's body. The body that had carried me for nine months and  had given birth to me. The body that had grown old and could no longer function. The body that had died.

Now she has a new body. I smiled as I took an afternoon walk with the thought of her walking again, running even...a new body that is no longer sick or riddled with pain. And with a mind that functions perfectly.

(I ran across this several months back when reading about those who had sat with dying parents. It touched a part of my heart and says with a precious simplicity what my heart is feeling  right now.)

Gratitude for a precious relationship,
and sadness that it is over,
all combined with relief that frailty and pain are gone.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

one long week later

Does the road wind uphill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day's journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.
                                        -Christina Rossetti

They call her a fighter. Sunday she "woke up". But as the day wore on we could tell even though she might have returned to us in some ways, the pain had only intensified, extreme pain became her blanket.

Against every deep desire in me I have begun administering the heavier meds. She was in pain and I knew I had at hand's reach the little drops to give relief. She wears a pain patch on her skin now which has helped greatly unless we go to move her and then the pain is stirred like a pot of hot bubbly oil. I cry along with her. 

Ice chips between her lips, her only intake. Lips that are cracked and peeling even with the continual applications of lip balm. This afternoon she got agitated when I put it to her lips. Her words are so low it is very difficult to understand her for the most part. Sometimes you might understand what she is trying to tell you. I long to know so badly.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

sea glass

 Rose loves to collect sea glass.  She spends hours combing the seashore amongst the shells seeking for the pieces of colored glass that have survived the rough turning of the ocean tides resulting in the metamorphosis of magical fragments of beauty. I like the thought of the glass I am presently walking on being like the smooth washed- up glass of the sea.

Every morning I wake up and before I even open my eyes I pray for grace and wisdom. Life goes on here even though for some it is inevitably shorter and harder, a struggle. The sharp edges of death are being pounded by something my visible eyes can not see. A metamorphosis taking place.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


"I go to prepare a place for you..." John 14:2

She has had no food today. The little sip of water attempted choked her. But even without the pain meds there is no pain that we can sense, though there is a horrible sounding cough which acts up from time to time due to the congestion in her lungs. It causes us to wince. But other than that she rests quietly for the most part.

My sister and her husband came this afternoon from out of town. My husband, Charlotte, and I went out for lunch then on to a few random errands. I believe with all my heart my mother knew my sister was here even though there was no words to let us know that was true.

 I am wearing a path from her room.

We wait.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

a baby spoon

The past two days have displayed a mood of dreariness outside my windows. It is cooler and the sun has taken a vacation behind the clouds.

 It fits perfectly with the mood in the rooms on the inside.

 Mother has not been well. A spell which we believe might be the beginnings of pneumonia. She is not eating. The only amount of nourishment is a tad of applesauce. She  will open her mouth just a little bit which allows me to slip a baby spoon with applesauce containing her medications. In the evening she clamps her lips shut and will not take anything. I know I have backup suppositories, but then I must roll her over and in the evenings she is not feeling her best. I despise her pain.

She will open her eyes when you call her. She speaks little. Today I smiled at her and told her I loved her  and I knew she understood.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

a file to tender

There are those who upon hearing of you providing care for a parent in your home get almost affronted. They do not understand the nature of what is involved with the care of a sick and elderly parent full time and their embarrassment is understandable. The physical care is the first thing they may think of and to them it seems like such work, an adult sized baby needing complete care, changing, cleaning, feeding, turning.

 But truly that is the easy part. I have been "trained" as a CNA, and all it would take is certification to make it official, on the job training. That is the part I can do, it has become automatic, a daily duty of care.

The emotional side affects, however, are gruesome. Recently I realized I had emotionally withdrawn from my mother. It had become too difficult to bear her emotional pain and suffering and I found my heart had developed a huge callus.

Today I prayed the LORD would remove that callus. The journey is her journey and it is mine. Calluses rob the victory in the end. And there is an expected end.

And it will be glorious.