Friday, April 30, 2010

Resting Peacefully...

I cannot believe that it is Friday! The last time I wrote about mom, I had no idea she would be here for so long. I really thought we would be having a funeral by the weekend. She is breathing and we are still with her. My theory is that she is hanging around because she is enjoying seeing all her "kids" hanging out together. It has been an amazing week being able to spend so much time bonding and I know it is making mom so happy! Today, mom is breathing very calmly and she seems very comfortable...for that I am so thankful! I have found myself not wanting to leave her today...

At 10:30 this morning, I was sitting with mom writing this blog and before I could passed away...very slowly and peacefully. The day has been crazy...I am tired....later I will share the experience. I love you all!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other. Then somesome at my side says: "There, she is gone!" "Gone where?" Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear the load of living freight to her destined port. Her diminisherd size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says:"There, she is gone!" There are other eyes watching her coming and other voices ready to take up the glad shout:"Here she comes!" And that is dying! -Henry Van Dyke

I have been avoiding writing on my blog for the past week or so because I have been trying to figure out what was going on with mom. My heart has been so sad and I was afraid that if I wrote my feelings down...her family would feel my sadness and wonder why we have not called to tell them that she is dying. The truth is...until the past few days we were not sure...just suspicious that perhaps the signs we were told to watch for were beginning to show their ugly little faces. A few days ago...our sweet Hospice Nurse sat down with Ann and I and used the term "terminal restlessness" and a feeling of peace came over me...finally a term to let us know that what mom was feeling was so normal that there was an actual name for it. Why that brought me peace I cannot explain..but it did. Maybe if I describe what I was seeing.....

My day with mom would start at about 7:30...I would hop out of bed and go to her room to see how her night went...asking Susie if she slept...did she cry much...seem like she was in pain???Usually...Susie would say she did not sleep at all...cried alot...seemed to be hurting heart would race....what can we do??? Susie leaves at 8:00. I spend an hour alone with mom(I cherish that time) and at 9:00 Annie comes in and I fix mom's breakfast. Mom would be content during breakfast...then the restlessness began. Usually she would have a BM and that used to help...but lately that didn't seem to make a difference. We would put her into bed and she would begin the ritual. Sleep for 10-20 seconds, moan,roll over, moan, rollover, sleep for 10-20 seconds, moan, roll over....this would go on all day long for several days. Annie and I would sit on each side of the bed and just talk to mom...rub her back...try so hard to bring her some comfort. We found that if her little cat nap lasted a minute...chances were she might be in for a longer nap and we would creep out of the room. Sometimes we might be able to get a few errands done around the house and we would manage to grab a bite to eat...but we knew that the naps were not going to be very long. Up until about 10 days ago...we actually were able to get her to the table for 3 meals a day using the lift and wheelchair...then it dwindled down to 2...then 1...then she could not get up at all. So we learned to raise her feet on the hospital bed...then her head and it made a great "chair" that put her into a good position to eat. Most days, Annie and I would look at the clock at 3 or 4 o'clock and not be able to believe that is was so late...the days just flew by. About 4 or 5 o'clock, Ann would come over and I was always so glad to see her. Joni would show up after work...6:00 or so...a ray of sunshine! About 8:00 Susie would come take over for the night. Most nights, I would fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. Barry said he could see that I was sleeping so good that some nights he would go to the camper...just so he would not disturb me. I love that man and his willingness to take this journey with me! He has been so amazing throughout this process. I am not sure what I would have done without Ann and Joni to look forward to as well as having Larry taking over on the weekends. About 3 days ago, mom began to lose interest in food. She still tossed and turned and moaned...but just would not eat. I wrecked the kitchen one day trying to find something she would eat. Ann went and got some baby food...still no interest. Hospice nurse said this is part of the dying process. Terminal is part of the part of the process...but so hard to watch!

Today, we are all here. Larry, Ann, Shirley and Steve...all my siblings. We are watching every breath. Sometimes we panick...2 breaths per minute...then it changes for awhile. Sometimes we cry...sometimes we laugh...sometimes we feel strong and ready...sometimes we are weak and not so ready...but we have each other. We are there for each other and the petty things just do not matter anymore! I love my family. Last night we prayed together in a circle...all 6 of us...just like when dad died...remember that chain I mentioned when I wrote about my brother Larry??? That chain is still made sure of that...and mom and dad would be so proud! Mom and dad... together again soon! I remember telling mom a few years ago that when she was going to take her into his arms and give her the biggest hug and tell her how proud he is of her...and then they will dance...she laughed and said..."I'm not ready to go yet"!

Thank you to my siblings, Barry, Joni, Larry P, Kira, Rusty,Linda, our boys and their families, the Pattersons, the Peoples, the May family, and the list goes on and on! I love you all soooooo much!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Cale's Visit...

Cale came out to see us on Wednesday and left on Sunday. It was so good to see him although the visit went by so fast. I regret not taking the time to do more with him. Mom was out of sorts most of the time. On Friday, I did leave mom alone with Annie long enough to go down to the pond while Cale was fishing. I wanted to get a picture of him and Annie wanted me to take him a bucket to put the fish in so she could take them home for dinner! He caught a few bass...but not big enough to keep. This pond is on the property of James and Peggy May. James was one of mom's brothers. He died several years ago and we sure miss him...but are always happy to "Aunt Peggy" . James was one of those people who always made me feel so important...I love that man! He and Peggy loved to see the boys fish in that pond...and mom always kept the fishing poles and tackle ready!
Having Cale here was helpful. He has been a nursing home administator for the past few years so he had some fresh insight for us. He was able to observe her and call some of his medical staff and describe her behavior and come up with some more ideas to make her comfortable. She slept a couple of days after we started a new med..One thing I know for sure...there are no clear cut I wish there were!
We went to Raleigh to visit Kira and Rusty while Cale was here. Kira and the boys have always been such good friends! I miss the days when they would put on plays for us or entertain us with some kind of dance. They had some great times together!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Meet My Brother Larry!!!

What can I say about Larry...except that he is an amazing guy! When Daddy died, Larry was in junior high school. I remember the priest taking us into a room and having us stand as a family in a circle holding hands. The priest then said that we were like a chain and that we needed to always be there for each other so that the chain would never be broken. He then turned to Larry and said..."You are the is up to you to take care of your mom and brothers and sisters". (I am sure these quotes are not exact...but it has been a few years!) As I look back on that situation, I think about what a burden that was to put on such a little boy, but Larry seems to have taken that challenge to heart. He cared so much about each one of us and I always knew that I could call on him no matter what I was struggling with. I think what touches my heart the most is how much he loves our mom. When she was strong, he loved to take her traveling. One time he took mom and Aunt Doris to New York to do some Christmas shopping and Aunt Doris told me that he was so patient and kind to them. He would take bags to the room for them when their arms got too full and he never seemed to get tired or frustrated with them...but that is just Larry! Mom went all over the world with Larry and she talked about their trips every chance she got!

When I got married, Larry did not stop caring about me and he showed it by the love he showed Barry and our boys. We were so broke when we got married and he managed to find little ways to help us out. He bought the boys an Atari game system one Christmas which was something we never would have been able to afford. Flying was always a big part of Larry's life and the boys really learned to love flying from him. He had a small plane and they always looked forward to trips with Larry every chance they got!

Larry lives in Sanford which is a couple of hours from here. He comes home every weekend to be with mom and give me a break. I look forward to the break...but also enjoy the time we spend together. Seeing Larry and mom together is so sweet...they have a special bond...I know he is having a hard time seeing her like she is...we all are...But one thing I know for sure...that chain that the priest was talking is an eternal chain...and our family will be together's Heavenly Father's plan!!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Where did the week go???

This week has gone by so fast that I am not sure where to begin! We did go the the beach last weekend and it was lots of fun. We were able to go back to the Kroboth Beachhouse and as was so fun and relaxing. This time Rita and Vernon Dickerson met us there. It was fun to be with them. The weather was nice so the beach was really crowded. The hot tub was amazing! This is a picture of Ann and Larry having a romantic moment in the hot tub...I tried to get them to snuggle for the such luck (maybe they were afraid they might end up on a blog or something?)!!! I am in love with that beach house! Thank you Rusty and Kira!

Kira and Rusty's little baby is due any day now. Every time Ann's phone ring...we all jump! I cannot wait to meet little Asher! Kira and Rusty will be amazing parents!

Mom has had lots of ups and downs this week...but all in all...I would say she has had a good week. We started her on a new medication that was recommended by a nurse that Josh knows. For the first weeks...she is sleeping more hours at night then she is staying awake. As a result...she seems happier (for the most part) during the day. I think the real change I have noticed this week is that she is keeping her eyes opened more and looking at us when we talk. Every once in a while, she will even look at her beautiful azaleas blooming in the yard!! When I think about it...I guess if I were up for days on in...I might not want to keep my eyes opened either! She is still irritable...don't get me fact as I write this..I can hear her in there with Susie...whining and fussing...but we do get some fun moments with her...and for that we grateful! I just wish I could get into that brain...and understand this mysterious world that she is living in!

Larry is coming tomorrow. He is usually here on the weekends. Ann and I are going to Raleigh to take Shirley to lunch for her birthday. It will be fun to see her.