I asked if she had passed and she said, "I'm sorry, yes ma'am she did. Do you want to see her?"
I said, "Yeah, we'll be right there." Thinking this must be normal although nothing seemed normal right then. I didn't cry, I felt relief. She was on her deathbed and I didn't want her to suffer.
Mike's call was the hospice nurse Andrea. She gave me the details as they had been given to her and my head was kind of spinning while trying to get dressed and get on my way. Then the social worker called as we were leaving the house or as we got to the hospital. Not really sure now but I told her we knew and thanks for the call.
When we arrived, they ushered us into room 218 where Mom looked like she did when I left her, except her chest was no longer going up and down. I watched her breathing all week to make sure she was still with us. Occasionally she would moan, choke a little, but mostly just sleep. The pink had left her cheeks and her skin was getting cold but still touchable. I stroked her cheek and told her I loved her as tears rolled down mine.
It is a relief to know Mom is now praising Jesus in Heaven. I know she was met at the gate by my Granny and Grand-dad, Dad, Charlie, her best friend after Dad and Granny went to Heaven, and so many others too numerous to name.
No one wants to lose a loved one but no one wants to see that loved one suffer. It's is a hard thing to do, but it was good for me to spend the last few weeks spending extra time with Mom. She lived with us but we are always so busy with life that we don't often slow down and spend time just talking. I spent every lunch hour at the nursing home or hospital and every night someone went by to visit and keep her in the present and out of the scary other worlds her mind took her. She had some good days and some bad nights. Mom had always had a sharp mind. She was a crack crossword puzzle solver so it was hard for her to lose her memories. And she knew it was happening. She had moments of normal followed by fear and confusion then back to normal but she remembered much of the confusion as real. Then she'd realize she was losing it. She told me two weeks ago when she got her ability to talk back briefly, "I didn't want to go this way." Heartbreaking.
If I have one takeaway from this experience to share with others, it is this; spend time with your loved ones. Go visit your parents, visit with your children, call your friends, stop and smell the roses, then pick some and take them to someone who needs a little cheer in their life. Life is too short to be mad, sad, rushing, fearful or confused. Mom ended up very confused with dementia but you could see her personality even in her confusion. Be careful how you live because all of your traits, good or bad, are magnified when your mind starts to fade a little. I want to be happy, do good, make a difference, be at peace, so when someday should I get dementia, forgetfulness, or confusion, let my true self show through with beauty, grace, and no fear. I want my legacy to be, Karen gave of herself and her heart was full of love. I want to be a giver like my Mom. No one could go hungry around her, she'd give off her own plate. Literally, "Here, eat this. I won't eat it." Even if she just took her first bite.
Mom loved her Bingo. She had Bingo friends that she missed dearly since she hadn't been able to go in a year. She had church friends from forever that she still talked to often. I grew up sitting in the laps of her, dad, and all of their friends while they slammed dominoes on the table boasting their victories. Mom was a ferocious player. She liked to win and she was good. My brother and I grew up playing with Mom and Dad in every kind of game such as 42, pinnochle, hearts, spades, even double nines, tri-ominoes and anything else we could find to play. As Randy got older we had to hog tie him to play with us but Mike came along and we became partners with Mom and Dad in the weekly games. We were just like the old folks playing dominoes. As a kid we had fun vacations and always had our games with us to keep us busy in case of rain. Mike and I continued that tradition even to this day we take extra things to do or play. That may be why I love rain and don't mind rainy vacations.
Autumn just brought me a Grandmother's Memories book that we gave Mom and we didn't know she had filled it out. Oh my, now this brought tears to my eyes reading her memories. Pastor Russell asked me tonight if she had a favorite bible verse and I didn't remember one. Here it is in the book.
2 Timothy 1:12
King James Version (KJV)
12 b for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
I had some tears reading some of her answers.
I know there is a God because
I feel His presence.
I believe when I go to Heaven
I will meet my loved ones face to face.
An important lesson I hope all my children and grandchildren learn
To always be honest, serve the Lord, and be kind to one another.
Someone who helps me be a better Christian today
Your Grandmommy (me)
PePaw Charlie (her companion for 25 years)
Something I have learned about getting along with others
Do not criticize, be a good listener, which sometimes I'm not because I guess I want to talk.
(anyone who knows my Mom knows this is TRUE.)
My best friend now
Actually I have always said your Grandmommy is not only my daughter, but also my
best friend, which I think she is.
Nuggets of silver and gold left behind for us to find.
Thank you Mom. I will always love and miss you.
So Goodbye. For now. I'll meet you on the other side.