October 03, 2011

Loss of a Mom

My Mom has been in a care facility for the last few years.  Alzheimer's is very hard on loved ones.

In August she had a fairly bad fall and we feared the worse.  Her head injury was treated but not surgically.  That may or may not have hastened her demise today.

Recently there has been a joyous occasion, a wedding of my Nephew and his beautiful bride.  My mother was in a pretty good condition and the care facility brought her to join in the festivities.  I had a very nice visit and she recognized me, introducing me as "Her Baby" for the first time, in a long time.

When she had her fall, I was in Canada and not sure how I would make it back before she died.  As I waited for a phone call, I had lots of thoughts about Mother and that last memory stood out as a good last one to hold onto.  I had placated myself with the possibility that good memory would be my last one.  She seemingly recovered and appeared to be on the mend, even regaining words to the songs she used to hum.

This Friday I got word that she had collapsed and the prognosis was not good.  The care providers gave her a week.  I had the option to head  South to say goodbye.  I wrestled with my August nice memory and haunting thoughts of the last time I saw my Grandmother.  Something that I wish I could have un-seen.  I decided to keep myself a little distant.  We went on an outing to Crater lake on Saturday with Connor.  Something he requested to do prior to winter closing the area.  I went to a going away party for a manager at work.  Although, I felt odd and detached from the festivities.  I left early and had a run home.  Neither night had me sleeping well.  Sunday we missed Mass due to a schedule change we had not heard about.

I had spoken to my Pop, who graciously gave me the option to come down or not.  I sent an e-mail to my two oldest friends explaining the situation.  They responded in kind, that being there was important and I should re-consider.  This struck me hard as I went to work Sunday, I actually felt a pressure above my heart as I kept busy and my mind off events.  I spoke to a few people, including management, who immediately suggested I take some time off to do what was needed.  I thanked them for their support and went about my work day.  I had a few well-ups of emotion but nothing I could not work around.  As the end of shift came around I realized that I had left my wife out of the equation.

It only shows how compromised I was emotionally that I thought I was going to have to go through this alone. My wife had a wonderful relationship with my Mom and equal rights to be there.  I called and asked if she wanted to go down and without hesitation she affirmed.  Which sent me relief as it exposed my wrongful thinking.  I asked her to come get me and told Management that I had to leave.

Now I felt an urgency to head south,  we hastily packed overnights and headed down the ninety minute drive.  My Pop and my sister Nancy were with mom.  We talked and cried and watched the care staff, who had genuine affection for my Mom.  Dad had spent the last few nights as had some of my siblings.  He constantly gazed at her and saw to her comfort.  He was jovial, sad, pragmatic and emotional.  As it got later, everyone needed rest.  Tina and I headed to Pops house as Nancy and Pop spent the night with Mom.

I gave her a kiss goodbye and told her that I loved her.

The next morning we got two calls.  The first call said she was not doing well and the second was she had passed.  I broke down sobbing, Tina was there.

We headed over and Mom had been washed up and lie in the bed.  Looking peaceful and asleep.

Early that morning, while her breathing was labored.  My Pop, holder her hand, leaned over and told her it was time to leave.  She died, with the love of her life gently holding her hand and a large outpouring of love which filled the room from her last few days.  The attendance remarked how amazingly peaceful her passing was, of the likes they  rarely see.

All things come to an end.  My Mom's passing was a beautiful example that matched her beautiful life among us.

1 comment:

shoo said...

Your Mom was one special person. You'll find she will still be teaching you for years to come.

Watch after your Dad. He may (unconsciously) decide his work here is done too. It is very common for spouses to pass away within a year of one another.

Interesting how your Dad told her is was time to leave. I said something similar to my Mom, letting her know how much I loved and appreciated having her for a Mom, but it was OK for her to go when she was ready. She was gone within two hours.