May 29, 2006
My mom died Sunday morning about 11:30. It was as peaceful as you could imagine. She simply stopped breathing, and died in her sleep.
Thursday evening my dad brought in a hospital bed and they set it, and her, up in the family room. The windows there look out on trees and birds and is quite lovely. He said that she was still talking a little bit then. I arrived on Friday and she opened her eyes and recognized me but didn't speak. She was still talking a few droppers full of water every so often then. Saturday the hospice nurse came and, after she recorded my mom's vitals, took Dad and I aside to tell us that she expected Mom would die within 24 - 48 hours. She proved to be prophetic as Mom died almost exactly 24 hours later.
Chris and Lisa came down for several hours in the afternoon. Throughout the day and into the night we were giving my mom liquid morphine, and placing cool compresses on her head and wrists to cool her off. She never exhibited any signs of pain or discomfort so I believe she was comfortable. I stayed up with her so my Dad could get some much needed sleep. During the night her breathing became labored and very raspy. Early Sunday morning it was very labored but around 9 o'clock it seemed to calm down. She was breathing very shallowly and softly then. We (my dad and I) were in the living room talking and I came into give her the next dosage of morphine at 11:30 only to discover she'd stopped breathing. She wanted to die at home and she got her wish. One time several weeks ago she told me that she thought dying in one's sleep sounded like a peaceful way to go, and it was.
Having known this was coming for some time now has helped me to prepare somewhat for the aftermath. Although I am sure it will be several days before the full impact hits me. We are planning a memorial service and a private family graveside service for next weekend.