Monday, June 26, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 06/25/17: Gratitude, Mom's Sunday, Best Shots Dinner

1.  I think I'll start taking my Chromebook to Mom's room so that I can more readily express my gratitude on Facebook and by email to all the people who are writing me comments and notes of support and who are letting me know that they, too, have experienced the complexity and range of emotions that come with bearing witness to the terminal illness of a loved one. I am very grateful for all the kind things people have said. While witnessing the diminishment of my mother is difficult, having friends and family express so much compassion and goodness moves me and helps me experience the ties that bind so many of us in grief. Thank you all very much.

2. All of you who have accompanied a loved one toward death know that you are always looking for positive things to say, even about the smallest accomplishments of the person who is ill. I am deep into this way of talking about Mom. Ask me how Mom's Sunday was and I'll answer, "Well, she ate about five bites of pot roast." I don't mention that she also started to eat her paper napkin. Or I'll say, "She drank her milk shake." I don't mention that she also spilled about a quarter of it on herself because of the spontaneous twitching in her hands. Nor do I mention that these spasms in her hands made it very difficult for Mom to put the bites of pot roast on her fork and into her mouth. I will mention that I volunteered to feed her. Her response, "You don't know what to do, do you?"

Mom's right.

Before I arrived to see Mom shortly after 10 a.m., Paul told me that she was dressed and up in her chair. I arrived and Mom asked for help to go to the bathroom and when the staff person wheeled her from the bathroom back to the vicinity of her bed, Mom asked me to take her out in the hall "to see the other ladies." I uttered a quick prayer of thanksgiving. Mom refused to leave her room the last few days and I was uplifted that she wanted to get out.  A nurse changed the oxygen tank on her wheelchair and we were off. We didn't really see the other ladies, but we did go outside and admire the petunias and carnations and other flowers and had a good sit in the shade. It was hot in Kellogg today, but we were out before the heat intensified and enjoyed an occasional late morning breeze.  Mom didn't talk much. We were out for about a half an hour before she said she was ready to back in.

Back in her room, Mom sat in her wheelchair for several hours. I was with her until around two o'clock when Zoe arrived. I returned around four o'clock after taking a nap, getting myself some groceries at Yoke's, and visiting with Christy who spent the day cleaning her house. Shortly after I arrived, Mom told me she didn't want me to wear the tan cargo shorts I had on anymore when I come to see her. "I want you to wear something clean." (The shorts I had on had just been laundered.) Then she said she wanted to get into her pajamas and go to bed. I left the room while a staff person put Mom into her night wear and, when I returned, Mom was asleep and for this moment she was not twitching or groaning. She was asleep. She was still. She was at peace.

I returned to Mom's house.

3. Christy and Everett and I ate dinner at Best Shots. It was relaxing to take a break from cooking for each other and to enjoy a couple of drinks, some food, and some wide-ranging conversation.  When I headed over to Best Shots, I thought I might go somewhere else afterward, but when we were done eating, I came back to Mom's and flopped to sleep right away.

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