When I called the Reverend at St. John's to see if we could hold Mom's service there, she said "when your Mom dies, it's like the tectonic plates shifting." I didn't get it at the time. As executor, I had a lot on my plate and had since Mom's fall on March 31st.
Now that her service is over, I've had some time to reflect. I miss her like hell. I'd walk into her house, and her face would light up. She loved to hear what I was up to.
Perhaps the fact that I wasn't scared of losing her made me the perfect caretaker for her. After her 2nd round of in home PT - she looked at me as we sat together looking out her bay window; "I'm tired, I don't want to do this anymore." I said, "You don't have to but that means we have to shift gears." We stop the PT and OT, and call in hospice. Her eyes lit up, "YES, let's do that." It really was just like that. My sister and I pulled our grandfather's old wheelchair out of the attic, and took her to see her primary care dr. She was scared he wouldn't be on board, that he would convince her to try and live. He didn't. Mom had a lot of health issues besides her broken ribs and partially collapsed lung. She had had back to back heart attacks and strokes in 2009. She was on a lot of meds. She couldn't just stop them all without a dr.'s help. Chronic pain was her biggest issue. She was relived that her dr. was supporting her.
A couple of days later, the hospice intake Nurse Practitioner came out. She asked Mom a lot of questions - had she tried this for that, had she seen this type of dr. for that problem, etc., etc. I could see Mom tighten up - she was feeling judged. She had the look of a little girl who was feeling guilty because she wasn't trying hard enough. She had been such a life force her entire life, an outspoken proponent of suicide prevention, and here she was giving up. She didn't want to disappoint anyone - she was feeling anxious, uncomfortable, and guilty.
I had to interject.
I explained first to the NP what Mom was feeling and then I explained to Mom why the NP was asking all these questions. I explained that she had to make sure Mom knew what she was doing ( Mom had her wit and humor until the end ). She had to make sure I hadn't talked her into this. Mom needed to understand that the NP had to defend her decision to admit her into home hospice.
This led me into my own questions about active vs passive suicide. Mom was ready to die. She didn't want to kill herself, she was ready to stop trying to live. I'm still exploring those differences.
Three weeks after Mom entered home hospice, said her goodbyes to her family, she died at home. You have to admire her strength. It wasn't quiet, her labored breathing that night sent me back to my own bed, and Lisa to another room. One of my regrets is that I didn't stay with her that night, but honestly, I'm pretty sure if I had she would have waited until she was alone anyway.
We had a glorious celebration of her life, and I know she was here the whole time because of her signs. There is a Red Bud tree over at our family gravesite, she loved red buds. The morning of her service, I went over there to write what I was going to say. I looked up from the small bench I was sitting on and there was a small heart shaped leaf just glowing.
And then, my friend Wanda, who was headed home to VA. after the party sent me a text about a license plate she just saw. MEMEE4 ---- Mom was MeMe to her grandkids and her birthday was the 4th. The day after her celebration.