Sunday, August 30, 2015

Saying Our Goodbyes

Keith called this morning to tell me that Mom's condition had deteriorated sharply in the last couple of days. I hadn't been to see her since Wednesday but was planning to go this afternoon. I dropped everything and hurried over to be with her. The phone really isn't much of an option with her anymore unless someone is there to handle it for her and that's not likely. I stopped calling her several weeks ago opting to just drive to visit her instead.

When I arrived in her room she was sleeping but I gently woke her to let her know I was there. Her eyes lit up like they always do whenever any of us comes into her presence. She can no longer speak. She tries so hard but she's unable to. Sometimes a whisper escapes but I could never make out what she was trying to tell me.

But she can hear.

I had some quiet time with her for a couple hours before anyone else arrived. I told her how much I loved her and thanked her for all she'd done for me in my life and I told her how beautiful she looked. I think I detected a small smile when I said that. I told her that Tammy sends her love but that she couldn't be there. I just sat next to her and stroked her arm and held her hand and sat quietly in her presence watching her breath, sometimes labored breaths. She mostly sleeps.

She's receiving regular doses of morphine now to help with pain she's experiencing from a fall a few nights ago. She has very little strength. The nursing staff is so attentive to her as they have always been. They were stopping by every 90 minutes to turn her and check her condition. One of the helpers quietly wheeled in a cart of snacks and coffee for visitors and placed it along the far wall.

Her sister Eva called while I was there and I was able to put the phone to her ear so she could listen. She drifted off to sleep after less than a minute but I'm almost certain she knew who was on the other end.

My brother Tim stopped by to see her and I was so pleased he did. I gave him some time with her and found a quiet place to phone Tammy to give her an update. Before I left, Jackie, Jerry, Erin, Clayton and Anja drove in from Maple Grove to say their goodbyes and be with her. Others in the family would arrive throughout the afternoon and evening to see her, maybe one last time.

We're pretty much at that point now.

She hasn't eaten in close to 3 days and she's not receiving any fluids to speak of. I tried several times to give her a sip through a straw but she only pursed her lips not wanting any.

I was so pleased to see the attention she received today and I honestly feel that she's at peace and realizes that it's okay to go. We were all abundantly clear in our love for her and I know she knows that.

It's okay to let go, Mom.

You are very loved.


rich kessler said...

Kevin, Tammy & family, these are difficult times in a person's and family's life. I've gone through similar experiences with both my parents and other relatives. For my mom, we stayed with her and spoke to her to let her know we cared. Lucky for me I had a smart phone and could play music for her I knew she loved and enjoyed. I held her hand. I only hope it made her feel as comforted, loved and at peace as it did for us who were in the room with her. It's obvious (to me) your faith will help her and your family though it all. May you all find the Peace and Love you need at these moments.

John Hill said...

Blessings of peace to you and your family, brother!

Kevin Gilmore said...

Rich, thank you. I like the part about playing music that she loved. I think I'll download some Andy Williams or Perry Como, two names I recall her listening to years ago. I'll bring an earbud to allow her to hear it as best she can.

Faith is a beautiful thing. I'd be lost without mine.

Kevin Gilmore said...

Thank you, John.

I didn't want to jump the gun by writing an update like this but I do believe she's about to leave us very soon. She's a tough old Finn though and I know better than to underestimate her.

Steve Claypatch said...

My deep felt sympathy to you and your family. Wishing your mother a painless and peaceful passage.

Kevin Gilmore said...

Thank you very much, Steve.