My friends...this has been a long, long journey! Ten years after diagnosis, Mom passed away Sunday, the 15th.
We knew the end was near...her weight dropped below 80 lbs...and she no longer would open her mouth to accept either food or liquid. Mom went 7 days with no nourishment or hydration...but I'm very aware of the fact no pain is involved in passing like this. Her little body was just so darned healthy...10 years is a very long time to last after diagnosis.
Mom lay motionless for the 7 days after eating...just breathing heavily. I was determined to be there when she passed...and it worked out that I was.
My husband had taken me back Sunday morning... the Hospice nurses told us it would probably be another 24 to 48 hours...so I left to get the last couple items of clothing we needed for her to be buried in. We almost went back home...but I just wasn't able to. I've written in another post about telling her it was O.K. for her to "go"...and the 3 brothers living nearby had also done so...but there were still 2 siblings far away. I called my AZ. sister and offered to hold my phone to Mom's ear...thru tears, she didn't think she could do this...then suddenly asked me to do it. Mom, who had been totaly motionless for a week, blinked her eyes the entire time my sister talked to her! I also called the older brother in VA. and offered to do the same...and he had a tearful conversation with Mom too...again, Mom's eyes blinked quickly! She DID seem to recognize their voices!
As we sat by her, the hard breathing became louder and more raspy...we knew it would be like this...but it was still difficult. Just an hour after hearing from her last two "children", Mom took 3 very long and quiet breaths.....then no more. At the same time, several petals fell from the tulips my niece had brought to her a few days before!
There were tears...but mainly tears of joy for finally leaving this life and going to the beautiful place her faith has prepared her for. We called the siblings and most quickly came over.
I was taken with how important it is for our loved ones to actually hear permission to "go"! I know mom was waiting to hear from those far-away kids!
One more thing that tugged my heart; one brother texted his wife the words..."MOM IS GONE"..........what actually came thru to her was...
"MOM IS HOME".........kinda neat, huh?
I worked on her flowers this afternoon...visitation is tomorrow, then my brothers wanted a simple graveside service Thursday morning. She'll be placed next to my Dad who passed in '77.
She always loved what I call an "old fashioned" arrangement; yellow roses, pink mini carns, white daisies, and purple statice, baby's breath....so that's what I used...and it does look like "Mom". Please keep us all in your thoughts and prayers................Pam
Last edited by petal*pusher; 03-17-2009 at 08:44 PM.
Yes Pam, your Mom is at home. She is at peace and she is happy and whole again. Your post was so touching. I hope when the time comes I can handle the situation with the same courage, grace, and strength that you did. Your Mom's journey was long and from all you have told us she had the same courage grace and strength that you have. I am sure your siblings are glad that you gave them the opportunity to speak to Mom. What a wonderful thing for you to do. Yes, some of the tears were joy that Mom was finally free. I am sure you will miss her presence in the coming days and months. I will keep you and your siblings in my thoughts and prayers. Use the next few days to celebrate your special mom. Remember the lady she was.
Dear Pam, I am so sorry that your mother is gone. Yes, I know it is a good thing for her - and that she is truly home. Her death and the last few weeks of her life are almost identical to my Mom's death in december 07. Mom went down to 75 pounds.
As you mourn for her, make it a celebration of her life.
You are a wonderful daughter and your Mom would have been proud of you. Now she is.
Now you and I are both 'veterans' of dementia care. It is a life changing experience. I will never see an elderly, helpless person in the same way, never criticise someone who doesn't seem to 'get it' or who is extremely slow at the checkout ... always suspecting dementia has started taking over their lives.
And being thankful every day for my life, and my mother's shining example of a life well lived. God bless you and your family as you go through the funeral procedures.
Your mother was greeted by many when she arrived. She's happy, she's healthy and she's whole. She also gets to pick what age she wants to be forever and God lets her look like that.
It will be okay.
You were a supportive, wonderful, loving daughter and while you had two siblings who lived away, their love for your mother was no less than anyone else's and they're going to feel the guilt heavier that they weren't able to be there for her and you, etc.
Your kindness in including them in the end is great and it should be a testament to how others should be
My prayers are with you Pam. It was one month ago, this past weekend
My sister is suffering mightily and really wants my Mom back but at least she admits she doesn't want her back as sick as she was. The way she died (exactly as your mother) is what fills my sister with guilt. She feels that she denied her food and water instead of getting it through her heart that it was Mom's body that failed her not my sister.
I still silently bless my sister for what she went though. And I'm humbled by what all of you are going through, have gone through or will go through.
You made the "going home" for mom a very peaceful and loving transition for her. From being their with her at her final moment, to allowing her and your brother and sister the chance to speak one more time. That was exactly what your mom must of been waiting for. Everything to take place just as it did. It takes a lot of love and courage to go through what you did. You are a wonderful and caring daughter! Our Mother's Love is a hard thing to let go of. It's something we are not always ready to give up to freely.
God bless you and your family during this time of loss. Your courage is to be commended. The love for your Mother comes through loud and clear in your post. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.
When I saw the title of your post, I quickly looked to see who wrote it, knowing that another one of us has completed their journey along side their loved one.
My sympathies Pam on losing your mother, I know you will miss her dearly.
What a beautiful post.....and what a bittersweet goodbye. No one can ever doubt the power of a mom needing to know her children are "okay", right till the end, god bless her, and keep her as she is now "home" and free from this illness.
You will see her again in a much better place, where there are no tears and no pain.
Pam, I'm so sorry for your loss, but you made her journey complete by having your long distance brother and sister tell your mom that she was free to 'go home.' What a wonderful gift you gave her! Rejoice that she is now free from this wretched disease, and is whole again.
Celebrate her life in the coming days...I know that once I saw the pictures I had selected for mom's service, of her playing the slot machines in Reno before the dementia invaded her life, that I would always remember mom this way...smiling, happy and winning jackpots! I miss her terribly, but I don't want her back in the way that she was. I know you feel that way about your mom too. They are now free, and happy again.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Thank you so much for the gentle and understanding shoulders you're offering! I have to say how so many feelings seem to have been lifted from my entire famiy. Unfortunately, my sister is unable to travel home...and she is very much missed. My four brothers and I were surprised how many people came to the visitation last night to honor our Mother.
We displayed several of her beautiful oil paintings and pastels...and my sister had made up a book of her poems that we set out for people to take. The 100 copies quickly dissappeared!
Old teachers, neighbors, relatives I didn't even know! Friends from where each of us work...even some of my students...just so many people came to celebrate her life...and when my sister's HS band director came just to see her, I used my phone again!
After seeing how tiny Mom was as she lay there, we decided to close the casket...and I think that decision helped all who came. The extra small blue sweater I'd found for her even seemed too big. We simply placed a beautiful photograph of Mom by her flowers.
The strength I needed came partly from you, my friends...and I thank you so very much! We'll be leaving in an hour or so for the graveside service, then a small dinner...Mom would have been so surprised and flattered by all of this!.......Pam
Just so you know -- We too had a closed casket for Mom. The manner in which she passed to heaven was so hard.
We rather have people remember her as she lived not as she looked in the end. I now realize it was the best decision.
Here is the words we wrote on her memory card we mailed out to people who came or gave us something: to give some background -- mom was one of 10 kids; the first 5 with one father and the second 5 with a step father from an arranged marriage made by the church, he was widower with 1 son as well so there was at one time a total of 11 kids! -- there's only the step-brother and 3 siblings left after these few years.
Even through she was not born into riches, she was truly blessed with the richness of family and friends. Although she was only able to attain a 10th grade education, she went and achieved her GED in '68 and this was also the year that after taking a refresher driving course, she started driving.
She enjoyed any kind of trip, her travel gave her an opportunity to see a good portion of the country.
She loves being surrounded by family and friends and was happy when someone requested her 'special' baked beans or her spaghetti.
She went to our Lord knowing she would be safely in his loving arms, we will miss her smile, laughter and her love.
so enjoy life, she's smiling at you and your siblings. Remember the happy memories of who she was
I'm so sorry that you've lost your Mom, yet I'm gladdened that there is one less suffering with this horrid disease. You were truly a good daughter taking care of your mom as you did. You know that she appreciated the love and attention that you gave her through the years and especially at the end. I know that she loved the phone calls from her two children that couldn't be there when she passed. You gave her the freedom to go home...
I am wrapping you and your family in hugs and prayers. YOur mother is now safe and free to be the woman she was before the disease took her away..Thank God for that.............
You have my deepest sympathy. You were a good and loving daughter to your Mother. No one could ask more. We've been gone for 4 days and I'm so sorry I didn't post earlier. As I was reading your post I was thinking that I pray that my Mom has an end as peaceful and I have the strength to endure her passing.
Again my heartfelt sympathy and I'm so glad that your Mom is no longer suffering from this horrible disease.