Archive for March, 2009

So much has happened since I last posted.  My mother, age 89 passed away on January 29th, 2009.  I don’t care what anyone says, she died a painful death. She had a stroke but the good thing was, each decision that needed to be made, was made for us by the natural causes of heading toward death.

First she had the stroke which left her with no speech and the inability to swallow. The Doctors wanted to do a feeding tube but then her white cell count showed an infection.  She developed pneumonia. After the pneumonia, her lung collapsed.  The Doctors wanted to inflate her lung but then the cumidin which they were beginning to take her off of, caused bleeding from her lungs and blood pouring out of her mouth.  I spent several hours sponging the blood out of her mouth so that she wouldn’t choke on her own blood.

When the bleeding stopped, her kidneys began to fail.  At this point her living will clearly stated to allow her to die comfortably, so we had her on morphine every six hours.  The last three days of her life she had 106 fever, she was unconscious, she was in respiratory distress and I told her throughout the nite that it was okay to leave us, that we would take care of dad and that her mother was waiting for her. Though she was being given antibiotics and a cold thermal blanket to try to get her fever down, she continued to deteriorate.

On the last day of her life, all the grandchildren (except for one who was out of the country and except for my father who was at home sick) were in her room to say goodbye to her.  I had been sleeping at the hospital because I did not want her to be alone.  On January 28th at 11:30 p.m. I could see her breathing was deteriorating.  The nurses came in to turn her because of her bed sores and I asked that they leave my mother on her back at a 45 degree angle and requested they administer the morphine.  I found out during my sleeping over at the hospital, that the nurses only gave the morphine if requested and I certainly requested it when I was around.

At 11:45, my mother was given the morphine. I lowered the sidebars and layed down next to her, placing my hand over her heart to feel the beats.  I am hearing impaired and knew I could not hear the breathing and just wanted to hold her and lay my head on her shoulder.  I knew she was leaving and I wanted to be with her.  At 12:20, January 29th, my mothers heart stopped beating, her breathing seized and I waited and I cried.  I called the nurse in who checked her vitals.  My mother was gone.  She lay still, no pain, no awareness.  I couldn’t help but wonder where she was at that very moment in time.

After the burial, the shiva, the condolences, the surreal feeling of not knowing who, what, where and how, I cried.  Six weeks later, my father passed away very peacefully in the hospital.  Prior to his passing he spoke to my mother and reached out for her hand to take him.  On March 16th, she took his hand and they were joined together. My father celebrated his 90th birthday exactly a week before he died.  He was happy and so his death was a shock.

I feel consumed with mixed feelings of relief vs. lost.  I find myself crying in the middle of the day. I find myself crying when I go through the mail and find condolence cards.  I find myself reaching for the phone to call them, realizing, they are not there.  I’ve learned a great deal about death and dying over the past two months and I worry about my children and how I my life will end.  And then, there is life, the living. I want to live so badly and do everything my parents never did and couldn’t do.  I want to live.