April 23, 2006
Seeing my mom this weekend was wonderful and bittersweet. her vitality is greatly diminished, and she is sleeping a lot now. The medical staff warned her and my dad that she would sleep more and more as the end got closer. Also that the amount of pain she would experience would increase. While her pain level is creeping higher it isn’t debilitating yet.
I know that the past fourteen or fifteen months have taken a real toll on my father as he has had to single-handedly tend to the house and care for my mom. Home health care is coming several times a week, but he has stepped up and taken care of everything possible. The affection and concern I see in him when he assists her, or makes her a smoothie, is touching and very real. I am proud of my dad for the grit and character he is showing as he watches helplessly from the sidelines as his wife of forty-five years dies.
While I was there the two of us went the funeral home to see what options they had to offer. My mom has given him some indication of the music she like at the service, and he wanted to compare the chapel at the funeral home to the sanctuary at their church. No firm decisions were made yet, but my dad was able to ask several questions and have them answered, which I know helps him.
My mom and I had a couple more good conversations, filled with tears and laughter. As I was leaving there this morning she held my hands and told me that she didn’t want me to make a heroic effort o come to her bedside when she is dying. With it being such a long drive she doesn’t want me to take any chances. As she said, “I don’t want anything to happen to you.” Even now as I write this the love and caring in her voice and eyes leaves me crying.
Originally my plan was to return there every weekend until she dies, but the length of the trip and the time it takes is wearing me down. This week I am going to monitor her decline through my dad over the phone, and late in the week I’ll decided whether to return in seven days, or fourteen.