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
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.