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!


  1. Mom,

    My thoughts are constantly with you. I hope you feel our love.


  2. Beautiful post Gail! WE saw all those same things with my Aunt Mary and it was painful to watch at times. On the last day she said to me, "It's's just time" and I knew she meant that it was time to go. You're in my prayers.