Thursday, March 20, 2008

One Season is Completed and Another Has Begun

Today is the first day of Spring, it is also the day before Good Friday. I have several books to post, books that I read during my Mother's illness and then death. My Mother had had Alzheimer's since at least 1992, she was diagnosed in 1996, and in 2002 we placed her in a nursing home. Mother had been in the end stage of this disease the last year. Mother had had a respiratory virus since the beginning of 2008 and had had 2 rounds of antibiotics. On February 12 she became very ill, gasping for breath, her blood pressure and other vital signs were bad, we also found out the upper part of her lungs were not working and she could also no longer swallow. She stablized as far as her breathing was concerned, but her body was shutting down, with her inability to eat or drink because she could not swallow, the waiting began for us, because death was coming soon for her. Mother lived nearly 3 more weeks. My Dad and I would go to see Mother everyday and sit with her, everyday looking for a new sign that the end was near. Hospice and the nursing home kept us updated, everytime the phone rang we wondered if it would be the nursing home calling to tell us she had died. It was a heart wrenching experience to watch someone very slowly die, you know that it will happen, but when? The last few days that she was alive she already looked dead, but yet she still breathed, her heart was still beating. It is interesting, surreal, the things that I thought about when I was watching Mother die; I thought about my own mortality, I thought about the memories that I've had with her, I wondered what was still keeping her alive. The thought that penetrated me the most was the certainty that all of us will someday die, we are not given a choice as to how, or when, or how long this will take; but we do have a choice about where we will spend eternity, and eternity is a very, very, long time. Mother died at 2:25 p.m. on March 2, once again my Dad and I went to the nursing home and sat with her and waited for the funeral home to come and pick up her body. When I first saw Mother after she had died my first thought was "this is not my Mother", my Mother has gone home, this is just the broken shell of a body that she had been in-prisoned to for far too long. I touched her body and it was still warm; but, no more breathing, no more beating heart, it is over, completion, for her and for us. This season of suffering for her, and for us as well, is completed, finished. I can with all honesty say that I have no further words to say to her and no more songs left to be sung. The night before she died I went by myself to visit Mother, I rubbed her arms, I kissed her, I sang to her, I read several scriptures to her, and I whispered in her ear to tell Jesus thank you. Why, thank you? because it was an honor to be her daughter, and an honor to have taken care of her. When I made the decision several years ago to help my Dad care for Mother I thought I was blessing them, but a wonderful and awesome thing has happened, I truly have received the greater blessing!


cathy b. said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful account. You are in my prayers.

Sugar said...

This was a very beautiful, poignant tribute to your parents! I loved how you whispered a sweet message of thanks to Jesus in her ear!