It doesn’t get any easier

Mom has been in hospice for four and a half days now since late last Thursday afternoon. I’m usually there by 8 a.m. and leave between 6:30 and 8.

It’s been a rollercoaster of highs and lows.

Friday and Saturday found mom awake for  a bit of time, sitting up in bed, taking a little pudding and some ice chips. She knows who everyone is and understands what is said. She has also been able to “speak” to family members on the phone, including her beloved T, whom I had record a song he often sings about her on my phone so I can put it up to mom’s ears and have him serenade her.

Saturday was particularly special because D., L., and I went wedding dress shopping for the very first time. It was especially meaningful because we were able to take pictures of D. in several dresses and show mom. The girls and I sat on the side and at the foot of her bed softly talking to her, lovingly look at her and holding and caressing her hand.

Sunday was different. Mom did not easily awaken when we called out to her and she was much less awake for much of the day. I wondered if we might have over stimulated her the day before. Her blood pressure was low. J. and R. stopped by for about an hour before heading back to Dallas. The girls came after.

The doctor gave us his assessment, which was met with tears and questions. Swallowing pills, regardless of them being crushed up into pudding is proving to be more difficult. I agreed with his recommendation to stop the two pills she was taking. Friends came by to visit and to give me some company. They have been a source of tremendous comfort. Many of my friends have unfortunately lost their mothers.

R, a dear, dear family friend – actually part of my extended family – came in from Dallas to visit mom and me. When she called out mom’s name, mom opened her eyes and smiled at her. R kept me company for about three hours as we got caught up with each other.

Today, mom was a bit more awake this morning  and  it was a fairly busy day of visits by friends and our rabbi. Her  blood pressure was up so perhaps part of the reason she was more awake. Good friend D. stopped by for a little while and brought me some magazines.  I had T. talk to her and in the course of the conversation mom said quite clearly, “Oh, T.!” If there’s anyone who can spark a reaction from her it’s T. I have a number of his love letters to her and going to bring them with me tomorrow to read to her. D. recorded a message for mom on my phone as did my niece and nephew, my brother’s two children.

During the afternoon, mom was given a small dose of pain medication, which pretty much had her sleeping for the bulk  of my remaining time with her today. L. visited for a while, followed by my husband, M. Shortly after L. left, her husband J. came by and by 6:30 we left.  By this time the doctor still had not made rounds and was told he would be making them by 2:30 a.m.! I kissed mom goodbye and told her I was going home but would be back in the  morning. She nodded her approval.

As she lay asleep, she looks very peaceful and beautiful. Since all of this – from her hospitalization to hospice – nothing matters to me other than her. All of my energy and focus is centered on her and has to be. I’m grateful that she’s still here for me to watch over her, touch her, kiss her and love her.

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