Monday, September 24, 2012

My mom

Mom passed away at 2:13 pm on Friday.  I am sooooooo grateful that I made it home in time.  And that hubby was able to get back to his parents to attend his mom's funeral on Friday.

Who could ever fathom the timing of this.  Both of our mom's going a week apart.

Both of us separated by more than a thousand miles.  I know he wants to be here with me, but he has to be there.  I feel like I need to be with him, but know I have to be here.  We bury my mom tomorrow.

It is certainly a mixed bag of emotions.  I know I'm not doing well at processing any of this.  I knew mom was dying.  But I didn't really think it would be this soon.  I sat and watched my dad die 20 years ago.  But this was different.  Mom's fingers and the palms of her hands started to turn purple.  The hospice nurse (oh! they were so kind and gentle with her and with us) explained the process.  They thought she had an hour left.  Her heartbeat was 138 beats per minute.  Her breathing was 26 breaths a minute.  They said equated to her running a marathon.  She ran that marathon for 4 more hours.  I personally think her heart gave out.  They kept her well sedated with morphine.

I was sitting on the right side of her bed, praying for her to be out of her pain and I thought her face had started to turn purple like her hands had done.  So I stood up to look at her whole face, and it looked rosey pink.

I walked over the the other side of her bed and sat down and started counting her breath rate.  Still the same that it had been for the last 4 hours.  I prayed that it would slow down.  I knew she was still running her marathon.  That was 2 pm.  At 2:05, I counted again, still the same.  I don't know why I was counting so often, but it gave me something to do.  My 3 sisters were out in the kitchen talking.  My brother was sitting over on the sofa.  Most of us had severe back pain at this point, but I couldn't leave her side.

At 2:08 pm, she suddenly did not take a breath in.  I sat up straight and started counting seconds in my head.  At 30 seconds I said to my brother, "tell the others, mom quit breathing."  Just as my sisters walked in, she took a deep breath.  And for the next 5 minutes - what seemed an absolute eternity, she would quit breathing, then take in a breath....probably less than 1 breath per minute.  Her face drained of blood, her tongue had literally turned black.  We had heard the death rattle for the last 4 hours.  We knew it was time.

I could not look at anyone for the tears.  I just sat there.  I was so relieved because she was out of pain.  But I was in so much grief I thought I couldn't breathe.  Know that she had been in such excruciating pain that at times, she would cry out for God to take her.  My heart just ached for her when she did that.

And now it was over.

We had so many people to call and tell.  So many emails to send out.  She had 5 children and each of us grieve so differently.  I needed to be creative....and was.  The sister next to me rearranges furniture, the next one drinks that youngest one cleans and my brother called me every hour just to connect.

It's been 3 days and it seems like time stopped the moment she quit breathing.  When my hubby called today I told him that I have to stay here as long as my siblings need me.  He agreed.  But his brother flies home tomorrow and that will leave him alone with his dad and he said he was so afraid that his dad would die before I got there.  I said, "Sweetie, you simply have to prepare for the fact that your dad can pass at any second and the only thing you can do is call 911."  And in all honesty, I do not expect his dad to live much longer at all.

How much grief and loss can one person bare?  Yes, Tom's Wife, I know I'm still recovering from my own surgery which not even 3 weeks ago.  I noticed yesterday how painful my right breast has become.  I am trying to take breaks, sit and rest, watch a little TV, as I can.  The good thing is that when I get to sleep, I am sleeping well.  But I am having trouble getting to sleep. My brain simply won't turn off.

I am so worried about my hubby.  Can he survive this?  Will he be the next to go?  I know I need to get back to where his is as quickly as I can.  But I know I need to be here to support my siblings.  I told one of my sisters today that I'm just not functioning right.  She knows how stressful this has been for me.  She came over and we just sat and talked all afternoon.  It was great.

I've now seen both of my parents die at home.  Dad took 6 weeks, mom took 8 weeks.  My husband's mother walked around the side of the bed and had a massive heart attack and was gone in a minute.  I can certainly say that while the latter is a huge shock to the survivors, I would much prefer to go that way.

Life is certainly hard.  It just seems this year we have had so much happen.  Hubby lost his job, retired, we moved, we had my cancer scare, his mom died and now mine.  We have to be at 100% for something going wrong with us physically.  I am trying to stay calm so I can stay healthy.

Tonight, I'm just numb.



Carolyn said...

The process that happened to your mom sounds exactly like what happened to my grandmother, a natural death. In this century we aren't familiar with it and it's disturbing, but over 100 yrs ago that's how people passed at home, and it wasn't foreign. I think she is really okay now :) You were there with her, very nice.

I'm sorry that you now need to deal with what comes next, and possibly what comes next for husband's family too. But I guess this is a normal cycle? That doesn't make it easier, just it's happened like this for a whole lot of time.

Lilly said...

My heart breaks for you as I read this. So much like my own mom's passing over 10 years ago. It is never easy! Feel like I have "abandoned" my old diabetes blog/online friends lately, but went through some major depression, where survival was about all I could do.

Take care,