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Bittersweet Mothers Day

Thursday, May 15, 2014

I had a nice mother’s day with mom at her nursing home in California, she was awake and perky for most of the visit.

My younger brother came down on Saturday, and visited with her. We called my sister via FaceTime and asked for a tour of her new home in Pittsburgh. My younger sister is still having trouble with her Coumadin dose regulating blood clotting, and she cannot fly, so the phone FaceTime is probably the only way she will see mom. Mom is so frail and weak I don’t think she has much time left on earth. She is ready to fly into the arms of the Lord.

On Saturday, I provided Sunday brunch for my brother-in-law and niece in mom’s nursing home room. I brought the traditional menu that mom always wants – quiche, fruit salad, and a celebration cake. (Brother-in-law brought my sister’s asparagus recipe). Since I stayed at a hotel, the meal was purchased at a good quality grocery with a deli; the food was very good, and mom ate a few bites. We called my older sister in Mexico, and she gave us a tour of her apartment in Oaxaca via FaceTime. My older sister has been coordinating much of mom’s care, and I realize how much we all rely on her to notify us of changes in mom's condition. Mom's best friend Betsy now has a heart condition and can't visit her or update us on Mom's condition.
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The next day mom was exhausted. She slept for much of the day. She slept through a fire alarm test at the nursing home. She slept through a visit from the hospice chaplain. I had a great talk with him; he has given much comfort and caring to mom. When she woke, she was fretful and forgetful, and she could not enjoy any food.

I did not meet my exercise and eating goals during the week; I ate too much (including the celebration cake!) and I spent a lot of time with mom, just sitting in her room while she slept. I did exercise daily at night, including one longer hike.

I admit I am very nervous that she will pass away next week while I am on my hiking vacation. I am hiking lodge to lodge along the Rogue River, and there is no easy exit from the trail. I am leaving the phone numbers for all the lodges with my siblings. This is mom’s 4th time on hospice. She is 95 and very fragile. Her medical conditions include congestive heart failure, lymphodemia, cancer (skin cancer that has spread because they cannot do surgery), and infection in the bones. She is so thin now, she has lost over 50 pounds; I feel that she is wasting away even though the staff makes every effort to entice her to eat. I don’t think she has much longer on this earth, and I pray that her end will be peaceful and painfree.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I am so glad you could be with your Mom on Mother's Day. In France, Mother's Day was today, and I spent the afternoon with my Mom in the garden of the nursing home. It was a lovely time.
    I can imagine what a difficult time this is for you, and I am very glad you could go on your hiking vacation and have a great time.
    1491 days ago
    That IS very bittersweet.

    Yes she is not long for this world. Don't worry about eating the cake etc. If there was ever a 20% time to depart from healthy eating, that was definitely it.

    Are you hiking with a group? If you're alone, celebrate her life in memories, make the hike a memorial to her, and let the tears of mourning run freely. Out in nature is the best place for that. Very cleansing and freeing. It helped me to grieve my mother's death ahead of time, while she was in an alzheimers unit that I was unable to visit. I still grieved when she died, but the load of grief was not so deep all at once.

    Certain small rocks, leaves, etc collected at different points can be associated with dif memories of her & her strengths & gifts. You can use those things when you get back home if you wish, for example around the base of a candle, in memory of her.

    I will keep you in my thoughts & prayers.
    1496 days ago
    God bless you, friend. What a wonderful daughter you are, which is evidence of your mother's good parenting, I'm sure. May she go in peace to her renewed wholeness, knowing how well she was loved in this temporary place.

    Chronicle precious memories of her while you make new ones for yourself as you hike.
    1500 days ago
    The love you have for your mother is so evident in the precious words you shared with us. I'm glad you were able to be there for Mother's Day and all the ways you included your siblings who couldn't be there was so special for you mom. Your hiking vacation sounds amazing and it's in my neck of the woods!
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    1500 days ago
    Good comments here! Glad you got your visit in with your family and your Mom. The hike will help you to de-stress and try not to worry. You are a good daughter and have done a lot for your Mom. Be happy. Hugs.
    1500 days ago
  • DR1939
    Remember it is what you do when she is alive that counts and you have done much and loved her much.
    1501 days ago
    This is a tough situation. Hopefully, she won't suffer. Enjoy your hike.
    1501 days ago
    I too think the fact you were there for your Mom on Mothers Day means more than anything you might or might not've eaten too much of. :)

    And I imagine she would want you to go on this hiking adventure that sounds so wonderful! Go and have a great time, and dedicate it to her.
    1501 days ago
    What a precious Mother's Day for your mom. I'm glad that you were able to spend it with her.
    1501 days ago
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