coming out of my shell

coming out of my shell

Sunday, March 1, 2015


I am sad to say that my mother is dying. I flew to Northern Indiana early Wednesday morning to be with her and help my siblings care for her in her final days. We have spent the last few days making sure all of Mom’s 16 grandchildren have had a chance to talk to (at, really) her on the phone and give her their love or say their goodbyes from whatever part of the country they happen to be in.  

Mom has been unresponsive for most of the time I have been here. It is best when she is unresponsive, because she is in so much pain when she is semi-conscious. She rarely opens her eyes now. 

It is likely she had a significant stroke overnight between Monday and Tuesday. She has a do-not-resuscitate directive in place.  Interestingly, terminal DNR patients are not taken to the hospital. The nursing home simply tries to make the patient as comfortable as possible until the end.

The first couple of days she was in agony, and she was not tolerating morphine well to combat the pain.  It was awful. My brother called Hospice and a kindly team of nurses and aides came to the nursing home to take over pain management for her. What a truly wonderful organization Hospice is. They care. Of course the nursing home staff care, too. They have been very sweet to all of us. They moved Mom into a private, larger room which can accommodate the many children and grandchildren who are stopping by. We are keeping a constant vigil in her room, day and night.

ERB told me that on Tuesday afternoon a number of family members were in the room with her, including 3 grandchildren. She, of course, is comatose.  However, in the midst of their visit she suddenly tried to sit up and open her eyes. Then she laid back down and said "God, it's beautiful!" I was happy to hear this story, and even more happy that some of her grandchildren were there when it happened. That story will stay with them as long as they live, and it will reassure them that death and dying can be a beautiful part of life. 

1 comment:

  1. Reminds me of the stories I have been told of when my grandma, your mom's sister, was dying. We have been told she was in much pain and receiving plenty of pain medication. There are funny stories of her thinking she is sewing and "holding" pins in between her lips. Even thinking she dropped one and my mom had to act like she picked it up for her! Tho I don't recall, some of us grandchildren were ushered into her room during a brief moment of lucidity to see her one last time. We had at-home Hospice for my dad and I wholeheartedly agree with you...they are wonderful creatures, who lovingly do a job that has to be heartbreaking. My love to everyone. Please whisper my love to your mom. I bet she is looking forward to seeing your dad and some of her sisters. It's been a very long time since she saw your namesake. :)


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