I'm sitting inside watching huge snowflakes drift down this morning...s'pose to get up to 8" today. Making my weekly visit down to see Mom yesterday proved to be the right timing...today the roads are awful...but my plan is to go back down again tomorrow.
I've mentioned before that Mom is in the very end stage...10 years after diagnosis and placement in a wonderful Alzheimer's Facility. This has been such a long journey...and I'm so ready for this to be over....
I remember when we (6 of us "kids") first toured this place...7 buildings on a cul-de-sac...6 huge Victorian homes facing each other, then the sprawling one-story building at the end of the road. I had a difficult time when we visited this building...clients sat in contorted positions...a few with dolls tucked into their arms...vacant eyes staring nowhere...I cried knowing Mom would eventually be here...and that's where she has been now for almost 5 years...at the "end of the road."
My "Mom visits" are perhaps really "me" visits...she has not recognized me for over 5 or 6 years...and for the last several months has not even made any response at all to my weekly visit. A year ago, she could smile and acknowlege my presence, sometimes sing a few words along with me, and at least she knew I was someone who loved her...........now, it is very rare for even a tiny response.
Her weight is under 90 lbs...and I realize what is happening. The caretakers offer gentle shoulders and know I want what is best for Mom...they want it too..........for her to find the peace she so deserves.
Yesterday's visit left me with a smile in my heart; something that does not often happen. I found her in a big chaise-type chair...tiny body pulled into an awkward position...leaning curled-up to the side, knees partly drawn up, and hands carefully tucked under a blanket by a caretaker. Her constant motion trying to re-arrange her body makes me think she's in more pain than we realized. I pulled up a chair facing her and carefully wrapped my arms around her...and started singing familiar songs as I pushed back her hair. No response at all to me.
As I sat there, a couple came in with a little terrier. It ran back and forth between their legs, anxious to explore. They sat across the room with their loved one and pretended not to watch as I kept on talking and singing to Mom. When I sat back in my chair, I realized that little dog had crept across the room and lay at Mom's feet!
The couple were surprised that active little dog had come over and settled down close to Mom. I thought Mom didn't know I was there...they told me her feet had kept perfect time to my music...
When I first visited this final building...I prayed the whole way home that Mom would pass before placement here! Those prayers continued several days until I realized there was just so much I had to learn about how this disease affected Mom, my family, and others. It was really pretty selfish of me to think how bad I wanted Mom to die...and I had to re-arrange my thinking.
Did I want her gone so I would not have to face the challenges...to prevent the division of my family...stop the huge amount of time this has taken out of my life......?? What I really wanted for her was "peace". I now realize how much I still had to learn...and how Mom was still teaching me.
Please, please send gentle prayers for her to find the peace she so deserves................thank you, my friends...Pam
Here's a thought. It is quite possible that an earlier 'going home' would have been better for both you and for your Mom. BUT - who knows what lessons need to be learned and are still being learned by the people who care for her? Perhaps her continued life is for that reason. One or more of the staff are learning patience, acceptance, how to deal with the daily care, and more. Meanwhile, she is still alive, so there must be a reason for it. My prayers are on the way. We have the same snowstorm. Beautiful - but isn't it about time for Spring?
What a beautiful post. Your writing is so discriptive that I can see you and your Mom and the little dog too. Lessons learned from our LO's are priceless. I'm so sorry for you and your Mom. Its been a very long time for you to have to watch your Mom suffer.
My prayers are with you both. How lucky she is to have you for a daughter. May her journey be over soon and bring you the peace of mind that you so deserve.
Thinking of you and thank you for your beautiful heartfelt words Pam.
Pam, your post was a lesson for me. I do understand your wishes and they are for both of you. That both of you be released. Yet we don't know why things happen the way they do. We have to believe that there is a reason and something to be gained from the experience. Yes, we have to believe that there is a purpose. Thank you for the lesson in patience, caring, and finding the moments that get us through.
For now I will send you and your mom my prayers for a soft ending to this long sad story. I pray for the strength and comfort that you and your Mom will need. You are both in this journey together, wish for the same, and need the same.
Enjoy the falling snow and the memory of yesterday. It is those little moments that take us through the days.
When they start to lose the ability to eat, it is slowly coming down to the end. It's not guilt to prayer for the end of her suffering. if I couldn't have my mother back the way she was 8 years ago, I didn't want her back at all. As far as I was concerned, she died about 3-5 years ago when she loss the ability to write, or talk to let us know what her needs were.
It became a guessing game. I'll keep you in my prayers
What a sad but beautiful post.......your words really gave me a picture of your visit with your mom.....
I am sending you those gentle prayers Pam......I think we are all looking for those these days.....
Love, Caroline xo
Someone asked me today if I could have one wish what would it be..I said that my mom's body would give out before her mind. I guess we all think the same thing..
If my mom has more to teach as some of you have noted I would be okay with that if I could be sure she wouldn't suffer any torment.
Your post brought me back to the day just a little over a year ago when we toured the buildings of days yet to come. We're not there yet but your words of your experiences will light the path ahead for us.
Thank you for that.
I thank all of you for that.
I pray for all of our loved ones and I pray for all of us too.
what a wonderful person you are. i cried while reading your post. i think we all feel like this. seeing my mother with dementia is so very hard. but you are right, my mom says exactly what she feels and she is still teaching me. thank you for that post and my prayers are with you and your mom.
Having been there just so recently, I know of what you speak. I sat by mom's bed waiatng for her to pass. First with impatience. Wanting Mom to be through with this awful disease so she could be at peace. It hurt to watch her be there with just the oxygen and knowing that there was nothing left that I could do for her. I had tried everything humanly possible and there was nothing left to be done..and that hurt.
It's a difficult journey that we go on. We hope that we can force the pace of finality to our tempo. But god and our loved ones have other things on their minds. Why they chose to draw it out is something that only they will know. Perhaps it is show us that there is a need in our lives to slow down and appreciate the passing of life. We come into life over a period of time and so we must leave in most cases. Per haps they want to teach us that even though they have this horrid disease there is a dignity that they have and want us to respect in their passing. Perhaps they just want that last hug and song that you can sing one more time to them. How do we know. Perhaps its just a time for you to have memories of you mom and you together one more time.
Pam, I know that it's a hard time for you, but I also know that you will cherish these last times with her. Even though when you look at her she isn't the woman that you remember raising you. You are being incredibly blessed by this now frail lady who is hanging on for some reason..perhaps she loves you so much it's just hard for her to say good by also.
You and your momma are in my prayers....and in my tears
What a beautiful post...it brought tears to my eyes.........
Spoken from the heart of someone who's obviously come full circle through this painful journey. We are all so lucky to have you, Martha, and now Diane to help guide us through the rest of this.
We are so blessed to have each found each other....
Pam, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Your post brought tears to my eyes as well. I felt those same thoughts when my dad was terminally ill.
May God allow your mom to go in peace, with no more pain or suffering, and may he hold you up and be your strength during this difficult time.
Thank you all so much for keeping us in your prayers. Mom is still holding on...how she's able to do this astounds us. I was down there Friday afternoon after school, then again this morning.
Her little face is just so sunken in. The caretakers said she is still taking in small bites of food...and liquid. Just a couple weeks ago, I was positive she'd be gone by this time, yet she still lingers on.
This morning when I wrapped my arms around her and said..."Is this my Momma?"...she slowly nodded her head. No other response at all...but she does still seem to be able to hear. Bless, bless, bless her caretakers for continuing to give her love and respect! I'll keep you posted.....Pam