Warning: this is a bit stream of consciousness.
This is day 4. Mom has been on Hospice Care since July 11th. This is October 7th, but this is day 4. Over the past couple of weeks, I have noticed a steady decline, but on Thursday, she got on the roller coaster and went over the big hill. She came back up on Friday, but yesterday and today have been more down than up.
It’s stressful. She takes breaks of 40 seconds or so between breaths sometimes. Her hands and feet will be icy cold one day and then back to nice and warm the next. She has talked to my dad and on Thursday she wanted a cinnamon bun. When I questioned that, her response was, “Jesus was at the head of the table and I could just smell the cinnamon.” I didn’t have any cinnamon buns, so I made her some cinnamon toast. She enjoyed it.
It’s not that I want my mom to die. But this waiting is horrible. My daughter sucks in every emotion in a room and then feels it with intensity and spits it back at me. We’ve decided to try and be extra nice to each other as we go through this, but it’s hard. Standing at the door to her room and watching to see if she will take another breath is exhausting, and I’ve been doing that for weeks now.
With my dad, it was different. Alzheimer’s took him away from us long before his body died. I had no problem and no guilt praying for him to die. He was no longer my dad. He was a shell. I didn’t want him to live like that.
Mom is the opposite. Her brain will not give up. Her body is so weak, but her mind is still strong. When she is awake, she is usually alert and able to have a conversation and joke about things. She was doing crossword puzzles two weeks ago. But she can’t get out of bed. And she can’t move her legs. Today, she couldn’t pick up her pills. I had to put them in her mouth and then hold the straw up for her. I know she is prepared to die. And I thought I was prepared for her to die. Until Thursday. When it looked like she could actually die any time. Things changed. My emotions are all over the place. I sit and watch for her next breath. She is not in pain and I want it to stay that way. That is the priority.
I’ve been doing so well losing weight the past month and a half. I’ve lost about 15 pounds and I feel great. On Thursday, I had pizza for dinner and then ate many handfuls of Teddy Grahams. They are a weakness. They are calling to me right now. On Friday I drank a Dr. Pepper. Another weakness. It was really good. I haven’t had ice cream yet. I don’t even consider it a weakness. It is a part of life. I have had it even while I’m trying to eat Keto. Ice cream is what makes life worth living. Now it is calling to me too. I don’t want to undo a month and a half of hard work with emotional eating. But oh my goodness that is hard. (Full disclosure: I just had a handful of Teddy Grahams. But that is it.).
I have thinking about speaking at Mom’s memorial service. I don’t know if I can do it, but I feel like I need to. I’ve certainly cried in front of a group of people while speaking before. It’s not something I want to do, but it won’t kill me. I’ve also considered singing, but that I can’t do well while crying so I think I’ll skip it.
Someone said to me the other day that this slow process is helping me prepare. If she had died suddenly it would be such a shock, but I have time to prepare. I’m not sure if that’s true. I probably would have agreed on Wednesday, but after Thursday, I don’t think so anymore. She didn’t even die and it threw me for a loop. Every time I watch for her next breath, it is with anticipation that it won’t come and dread that it won’t come. When Dad died, I got the call at about 5:30am. I came upstairs to tell Mom. I remember her saying that morning that she thought she was ready for it, but she wasn’t. (I just went into the kitchen and didn’t have any Teddy Grahams. Yay me. But I really wanted them.). It didn’t make sense to me because I was ready for Dad’s death. But I had gone to see him in those last few days. She didn’t want to. Maybe that made a difference.
My daughter tells me quite often, though not every day anymore, that she is worried that I am going to die. I can remember feeling this way about Mom when I was her age. I don’t think I ever said it out loud, but I did think about it. It scared me so much. And now here I am sitting beside her bed waiting for it to happen. Wondering how long this will go on. Feeling a bit selfish because part of me wants to move on from this. But that is the part that isn’t ready yet.
I’ve been trying to make myself clean the house these past few days. People have come to see her and I know there will be people coming after she dies. I need to clean out the fridge and make room for the food that will come. My daughter doesn’t understand this part. She doesn’t want people to come over, but if they do, she wants them to bring cookies and ice cream (I’ve taught her well). She has also said that she doesn’t want to go to the funeral. I don’t want to make her go, but I think she should. I talked to her yesterday about it and what she can expect. She doesn’t remember Dad’s service.
I think I’m going to make cinnamon buns. Not for me.