When I went home Thursday night I knew I needed to talk with Hospice, but I just wasn’t sure how to go about it. I knew I needed help and at that point I knew it probably wouldn’t be long before she passed on, but no one had said that to me, they were still hopeful for recovery at that point. When I walked into the hospital Friday morning there was a lady there from Hospice. God, again, had worked things out. We talked and I cried, in the middle of intensive care. I don’t like crying in front of people, especially not a ton of strangers at the hospital. She said she felt Hospice was the best next step as they didn’t think there was anything else they could do for her. At that point I was going to try to bring her home and then have some nurses come in to help. I talked to the hospice lady on the phone at length about finances, which were a huge concern, and about the nursing care at home. She said nurses only came twice a week. I knew I couldn’t care for her in her current state the rest of the time by myself. By this point I was 18 weeks pregnant, with a surprise baby anmed had 6 other kids at home to care for. But I knew mom had said to over and over again she didn’t want to die in a nursing home. It was so difficult. The other issue was that she had never signed a DNR. A DNR means Do Not Resuscitate. So, if you were to go into cardiac arrest they would not try to save you. It’s a way for people who are terminally ill to die peacefully. She had never signed one. In order to go into Hospice you have to sign one. She had given me Healthcare Power of Attorney, so I had to make the very difficult decision to declare her mentally unfit and sign the DNR against her wishes. I grew up in a hurry during this time. It was SO difficult!
This was all Friday morning. While I was at the hospital I went into her room to visit her. She was in and out of consciousness and very combative and honestly, mean. It was by far the most difficult day so far. That afternoon I was sitting outside waiting on my kids to get home from school and just crying. It had been a horrible day. The hospice nurse called me and said they had evaluated her and she would qualify for Hospice house. It’s a place run by hospice where you can go if you have a week or less to live, usually. Not only did she qualify, which meant it would be free, but they had a bed at one near my house and she would be transported there the next day. God saw my situation and worked it all out ahead of time. I was terrified of taking care of her and of our financial situation as nursing care can be very expensive and God worked it all out. The next day, on Saturday, she was transferred to Hospice and my husband, and cousin and his wife were able to be there when she arrived. We got her settled in and she was coherent and peaceful, so much better than she had been the day before. We were able to talk with her and pray with her and she said, she loved us all.
On Sunday, we all arrived early at Hospice. We brought our kids, because she had been asking to see them and they hadn’t been allowed to visit her in the hospital. By the time we got there we were unable to wake her. She was unconscious. The doctor told me she had a day or so left, maybe. Someone was with her all day on Sunday and then I came early Monday morning to sit with her again. My pastor came to pray with me and she was still resting peacefully, but her breathing was a bit shallow. They told me it would be that day sometime. My friend Kim arrived at around 10 and my cousin came as well. We talked and prayed and just sat. By 1pm my friend realized I hadn’t eaten all day and went to get me some food. Just as she came back we realized mom’s breathing was not the same. We knew it was the end. So, we all gathered around and my cousin read scripture and we prayed and cried. Finally she was quiet. I put my hand on her chest and realized she was gone. I was so glad to have two of the most important people in my life with me in that moment. I was relieved that she was finally without pain. Earlier that day I realized she was having some pain and the doctor came in and gave her pain medication. They asked me if she had seen everyone she wanted to and they couldn’t figure out why she was hanging on. They told me to tell her she could let go. So, I did. I won’t even pretend that was easy. I begged her to let go. It was very very difficult. But finally around 2pm she let go and ran to Jesus.
We waited for the funeral home to come, which took a couple hours. So, I ate a frosty. I think she would find it hilarious that I was sitting in the room with her waiting on the funeral home eating Wendy’s but I needed to eat for the baby’s sake, even though I didn’t want to. There are no rules about grief. You do what you feel you need to at the time and don’t worry about what other people think. The funeral home came and we all processed behind her as they put her in the car and we said goodbye. You cannot understand what it’s like to watch someone die unless you have done it. I feel like I am apart of this club I never asked to be in. I realized my own mother had never watched someone die, how strange to have done something she never did. Some people say they wish they could have the chance to say goodbye to a loved one, but I’m not sure everyone realizes that to be able to say goodbye you must be there while they are dying. That is extremely difficult. It’s not at all like the movies, where it’s short and sweet and all that. It’s long and drawn out and honestly shocking. It’s not what is supposed to happen. We were never meant to die. It’s just unnatural. Apart of me feels like I have PTSD from it or something. It was very difficult and I won’t pretend otherwise.
The next day Glenn and I had an appointment for our big ultrasound. We found out we were having a boy and he was doing just fine. Then we went to the funeral home with my cousins to plan the funeral. That was a day of extremes to say that least and I won’t pretend I didn’t have a panic attack at the funeral home. I did. It was hard. And funerals are way more expensive then I realized and have way too many decisions. The funeral was on Saturday and I actually did pretty well through it. I wasn’t sure how I would hold up, but God had grace and I survived.
Since that time I have been seeing grief counselor with Hospice and that has helped. Life has been busy and now we are 6 weeks away from the delivery of our baby boy. And just a few days away from the one year anniversary of my mom’s first hospital visit. What a crazy year. What an emotional year. I still deal with anxiety and panic attacks at times. Grief is crazy how it sneaks up on you at the oddest times. I know there will be hard days ahead, but God is with me and has sent me so many people to hold me up through this journey and I am grateful. My mom lived a long and full life and she is greatly missed but I rejoice that she’s in heaven and I will see her again one day.