My mother passed away Wednesday evening. It had been a full week since she had become unconscious, stopped eating and drinking and started actively dying. At least that was what the hospice nurses called it. She had nurses around the clock. We never met the nurses who worked from 7:00 pm to 7:00 am but the nurse that we spent our days with, Caroline, was terrific. I feel we are fast friends now. Lots of time to talk as we watched my momma breathe and quit breathing periodically, just to be sure we were paying attention.
I hated watching her die. Yet I was glad that she could take this journey of her last days, virtually pain free and calmly. She laid quietly as Jordyn and Kendyll played, we ate meals and Lauren iced her aching arm. At one point, I think Lauren would have liked to join her Nanny in the hospital bed just for so pain relief.
Each night, we would say good bye, believing that she would not live until the next morning. I would hold her tight, tell how much I loved her and tell it was okay to go on. I would be okay without her, clearly I was better with her here but she needed to let go and let The Lord take her home.
Anyone that spent any time with my mother knows she took her time getting ready to go out, lingered (seemingly forever) over a good meal, spent more time in the grocery store buying five items, than I spend getting a week’s worth of food. There is a Brad Paisley song about Waiting on a Woman, and we all waited on my mom. Her death was not any different. We were told from the first day that she was so tiny that she couldn’t last more than day but she did. And then she did, again and again.
It broke my heart to see her shrink away day by day, with sunken eyes and cheeks. It broke my heart each night to give her what I thought was my last kiss and last “I love you” only to return to do it again the next day.
My father and sister have been gone for many years and it has been her and I against the world. I can’t imagine life without her.
Amber, my oldest daughter came in from Denver Tuesday night. We spent Wednesday with my mom. Amber held her tiny hand and as a nurse tried to get a pulse or a blood pressure. But yet momma kept breathing, shallow, hurried breaths. All the girls, Jordyn and myself held her, kissed her, and told her we loved her, forever and forever.
Later, just before Caroline’s shift was to be over, the phone rang. I had dreamed of the phone ringing with just this news for a week. now I was paralyzed. Our favorite nurse had called with a tear-filled voiced and told us momma had taken her last breath. I loved her so!