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April 7th, 2023 – Post #70
During a season like this, maybe I should have been writing every day – for my sake, as well as for those who love my mom. I know memories fade, and some of the precious moments from the past month or so will quickly fade away. I’ve tried to record snippets, so that I can return to some of those stories, and maybe someday share them with you; but for now, I have felt that the most important thing is to slow down, put down my To Do List, and just enjoy being with my mom while I still can.
For the past month, she has been in a transition phase; losing the desire for food and drink, talking less, having little interest in the things happening around her.
There has been a childlike sweetness in her eyes. She is content, and for the most part, free from pain. I can’t tell you what a relief that is to me, especially since her body is no longer racked by that continual cough she acquired in January.
Almost two weeks ago, she did have an episode where she was violently sick. Thankfully, that did not last for more than a night, and when Erica and her kids arrived the next day, she perked right up. I was glad for this; but I’ll also admit, it pulled at the nerves inside my stomach. I knew this was probably what people refer to as “A Rally”, which generally comes when a person who is very sick seems to revive in order to enjoy their last time with loved ones, just before a final decline.
I know my mom has had her strength renewed many times, in astonishing ways; but there are multiple hints pointing to the fact that it’s probably time to let her go.
Erica and her family left on Tuesday.
At this point, she has no interest in food, and very little in fluids. She is having a hard time swallowing, and mostly just gets liquid through a syringe, or by sucking on a sponge; but often, does not even want these.
Her breathing is much more shallow than normal, and Apnea has become an issue. Her respiration rate often reaches around 30 breaths per minute, followed by long periods of not inhaling at all.
When she can speak, which isn’t often, she says, “I’m so tired,” and “I’m not really up for a bunch of visitors.”
It is very difficult for her to engage in conversations, and she often just slowly turns her head toward the window, instead of looking at the speaker.
She tries to pick out her words; but can usually only form partial sentences. Sometimes this does make her laugh – as if she’s playing a guessing game with herself, like Pictionary, to pick out the right words. Her voice is usually not more than a whisper, and we have to stand still and bend over to hear her. Sometimes even this doesn’t help. Every so often, she will seem to get some volume from out of nowhere; but it quickly fades away.
She has not had the strength to be pivoted to a chair in a couple of days. Her hospital bed is still in front of the big picture window, and she spends the day looking out at the birds, squirrels, and various flowers popping forth from her flower bed. All those years on her knees in the front yard is definitely bearing fruit, giving her something interesting and lovely to watch as the hours slip into days. Spring has sprung, and there is much beauty to behold.
We hold hands, and we sing hymns. She can still join in at times.
She is at peace.
There are so many little moments I want to share with you all; but time seems so precious right now. I am having to just set them aside, and trust that maybe a better time will come. Perhaps those anecdotes will be more of a comfort to me and to you, in the future season of grief, rather than now, when we are readying ourselves to say goodbye.
I have been praying for a while about these posts, and whether it is appropriate to continue them on Caring Bridge once my mom has gone. I am very grateful for the forum they made available to people here. For a person who isn’t very tech savvy, it has been a blessing to be able to simply type a post without having to build and maintain a website from scratch.
At the same time, there has been an awkwardness in me each time I see a pop-up suggesting a donation be made. I don’t want to put people in a position where they feel any sort of pressure to give money to something.
I had been meaning to build a website for a while, for my other writing; but just hadn’t gotten around to getting started until the end of last year. That site is still very much just a construction zone; but I have decided to go ahead and put the posts I have written about my mom up over there, so that people can read freely, without those pop-ups asking for financial help.
In saying this, I don’t at all intend to disparage CaringBridge, or the help they have been to me in communicating with those who care about my mom. I’m just saying, at this point, I think it’s best to taper down my dependence on them, so that their resources can be better used to serve people who don’t have their own sites.
I’m hesitant to list my site here, since it is far from being fully set up; but I think I should go ahead and take the plunge, because I tend to get paralyzed by perfectionism.
It is MoreOnMyMom.com, or if you go to JodySusanWrites.com, you can click More On My Mom.
For now, I will probably post both places; but eventually, will likely just share my thoughts and reflections over on my own site, to make things more simple. I hope that makes sense.
Thank you so much for all of the love and support you have shown to us. I will try to write a little more often in the coming days, as time permits.
With much love and appreciation for all of your support,
*To read more on my mom’s cancer journey from the beginning, or share it, please click below: