Friday, December 19, 2008

It's Time

This afternoon we are heading back to Birmingham to visit my mom and see my brother. Visits "home" haven't been as much fun for quite some time. I've written about my mom before. We stopped in Birmingham last week and I was able to see Mom for about five minutes.

Mom has vascular dementia (looks like Alzheimer's Disease) and has been in a nursing center for four years. She was in an assisted living facility for almost a year before that. (The photo to the left was taken about 4 1/2 years ago.)

Because of our distance (I live in west Texas and my mom and brother live in Birmingham) Mom's decline is always very noticeable, as it was this time.

Mom was put on hospice a couple of months ago. My brother was reluctant to do so, but I encouraged him to check into it to see how it could benefit he and mom. He saw the benefits.

My brother, Bobby, and I discussed Mom's journey through this dreadful disease last week. Certain dates have escaped my memory. He reminded me that she hasn't known us since May 10, 2000. That's right. She knew us on May 9th. Eight and a half years.

This afternoon when I visit with Mom, I'll do all the talking as Mom can no longer speak. Mom cannot do anything for herself. Someone has to feed her pureed food. In fact, they have to wake her up for each bite Being in the retirement living industry we call patients like Mom, a feeder. Mom is a feeder. Crass sounding when it's your mom.

I may try to feed her, but my biggest goal this afternoon is to take her somewhere where we can be alone. That's a challenge in itself in a nursing center. I want to rub lotion on her hands and arms. I want to remind her of the many ways she has been a great mom. I want to remind her of the rich legacy she is leaving. I want to play the music box I'll have with me that plays "Que Sera, Sera". This is a song she sang to my brother and me when we were children. I want to thank her for being my mom. I want to tell her that our loved ones are in heaven waiting on her - - my daddy, her mom, her dad, her sister, her brother and many more. And, finally, I want to tell her that it is o.k. for her to leave us. It's just like Mom to stay here with us thinking she can do one more thing for us. I want to encourage her to go on ahead and get things ready for us.

Mom never wanted to live this way. I've asked God so many times why this happened. I don't think I'd understand his answer. It's o.k. I don't have to understand.

I'd appreciate your prayers as I have this one sided conversation with my mom. I believe she will hear me. As always, I'm



Suzanne said...

This reminds me of my grandmother's last days. I can hardly imagine how it must be to go through that with your mom. My heart goes out to you. And I will pray for you.

Sheryl said...

what a beautiful post! praying even now for you as you spend time with your mom. what a blessing you are to her! i don't understand why God allows such things either, but we both know He wouldn't allow it if He couldn't bring a greater good. maybe someone needs to see the devotion you have your mom.

love and prayers for you today,

Vann said...

You have the most beautiful heart of any one I've ever known. Your beautiful spirit shines through these words that are so honoring to your mom.


Anonymous said...

I admire you so much. You're in my prayers. <3


JoAnn said...

Precious Friend....I'm praying for you and your mom. with love,
Jo Ann

Sharon said...

It is true love that allows you to let your mom go.

Having worked in health care for a number of years, I've seen such love in action several times, but it became very real when seeing my husband give his own mom such loving permission.

When Mike's mom reached the last months of her life, we had the privilege and honor of having her and her husband live with us. (Her husband was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's himself, and could not care for himself, much less care for Mom.) When Mom reached the point in her coma that we knew she needed to go more than we needed her to stay, Mike sat down beside her bed to talk to her, as he often did, and essentially gave her permission to go on Home, in much the sweet way you are planning.

I've shared all this to tell you that it was only a matter of hours that she did go on Home. It is amazing that, even in a coma, a person is able to hear what is being said. I am praying that your mom understands that the task God gave her here on earth is complete, so that she can allow herself to go on Home. You know how long she's been looking forward to it.

God bless you for giving her this loving gift. The limbo you and your brother have been in for eight and a half years has tortured you long enough, and you both need relief from it. May you all be comforted.

Trish said...

Thanks for this post. Experiencing a parent's slow cognitive decline often seems too much to bear. I'm sorry that you are having to go through this, but your strength and resolve in letting Mom go is a mark of character; a mark that many people do not have. Thank you also for your witness of faith in such a difficult time. I hope you can take comfort in Romans 8:26, which says that the Spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. Even in the grips of dementia, God has made it possible for the bridge to be gapped. Peace to you.