Hospice – Preparing to Go Home

May 8th, 2023 – Post #77

Yesterday the conversation between my mom and I went something like this:

She asked, “Do people know?”

“Know what?”

“That I’m dead.”

“Well mom, you’re still alive.”

“Yes; but do they know I’m dead? I think you should tell them. You should post about that, so they can know.”

“But you’re not dead.”

“Yes; but do they know I’m dying?”

“I think people probably do know. We’ve been trying to prepare them.”

“Well, you should tell them I died, so they can know.

“I can tell them you’re not doing well; but that would be pretty premature to tell them you’re already dead. I don’t want to spread fake news, you know.”

She seemed to accept that; but it’s important to her that the people she loves understand how she’s doing, and that she doesn’t believe she has much longer here on this earth. For the past four days, she’s suffered from continual vomiting. Before, this seemed to be brought on by motion, or medication; but at this point, it’s happening throughout the day and night, with no apparent cause and effect.

As soon as we hear a little coughing, we know we need to get her into a sitting position right away and get a cup under her mouth.

What We Have Been Told by Hospice

The Hospice nurse explained that this symptom is due to the pancreas shutting down, saying that at this point, my mom’s body has no other way to get rid of the waste. In her incredibly weakened state, with almost no fluid intake, it’s heart wrenching to see her suffer like this. She has very little muscle left on her body, and she just trembles like a leaf, trying to recover. We have been told to expect vomiting for the duration of the disease.

In the midst of one of these episodes, she looked up at me, so sadly, and just said, “I want my mom.”

I tried to assure her she’d be seeing her mom very soon, and this seemed to bring some comfort.

Then she asked me, “Do you miss your mom?”

It was so touching. I told her I didn’t miss my mom yet, since I still got to spend time with her; but knew that I would be missing her very soon.

I do think it will be soon. Honestly, I hope it will be very soon.

Her Body Is Showing More Signs of Shutting Down

My mom’s body is showing more signs of shutting down. Her blood pressure went way up this evening, and her oxygen saturation plummeted. Her core temperature has dropped considerably, into the eighties, though she complains of feeling “too warm”. The Kennedy Ulcer on her sacrum has begun to bulge. This has the potential to become very painful.

Right now, my mom seems comfortable; but she’s been in a battle for days.

I know this may sound silly; but my mom has always been particular about being able to push her hair behind her ears. I was so glad today to realize that it has grown out long enough, since chemo, to do that.

She’s Still Singing

Just before she fell asleep, I was singing the song, “Softly and Tenderly” to her. Though most of the time she can barely whisper, she joined in to harmonize on the line, “Come home.”

As much as I am going to miss my mom, I want the Lord to take her Home very soon.

There is an album by Joey and Rory Feek, called, “Hymns That Are Important to Us”, that I highly recommend. Joey passed away after her own battle with cancer; but left behind a legacy of music which has blessed so many. These hymns have become more and more important to me, as I have precious memories listening to them with loved ones who have passed away.

These two songs, especially, come to mind tonight, as I sit here with my mom:

Softly and Tenderly

Recorded while Joey Feek was enduring cancer treatments

Suppertime

And this one reminds me so much of my mom’s mom standing at the storm door of their farmhouse, waiting for us to come inside, where we loved to gather around her table. I imagine she’ll be greeting my mom very soon, to a seat at the greatest feast ever…

Please continue to pray for strength and grace to endure this difficult time. Thank you for all of your love and support. A phrase from scripture that keeps coming to mind in the midst of this exhaustion is, “though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed from day to day,” from II Corinthians 4:16. I’m so grateful for God’s miraculous sustaining during this season. He has been, and continues to be, so good to us.

Much love, Jody

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It’s Cancer

Jody

I'm not sure what to say here: I once got second place in a dog-look-alike-contest? I know how to fold a fitted sheet? I'm pretty much a poster child for social backwardness - at least as far as social media is concerned; but I have some stories I think I'm supposed to share and am attempting to do that here, in this space.

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