Saturday, February 10, 2018

Some family visits

My mother's health is declining steadily, but she remains in good spirits. Last night, I visited her after bringing my niece on a college visit, and I was pleasantly surprised to see two nephews from Maine visiting her. They brought good news about their family, and they came to wish their grandmother a peaceful goodbye.

She was comfortable enough but there was a lot of activity around her. Some of her sentences were inaudible and incoherent, but you could tell that she was pleased to be surrounded by so many people. My nephews showed Facetime conversations with their children, and my mother loved speaking to the young kids.

My mother was picking away at some piece of her blanket, which is a sign of her deterioration. She might fixate on a routine that she repeats. She is trying to make sense of her loss of control and she is working out her preparations.

She nibbles on food and drinks sufficient Ensure. As long as she stays hydrated, she can carry on for weeks.

She is in discomfort. She complains that her legs and butt give her pain and she tends to move into a fetal position on her left side. The staff will adjust her and she reverts immediately to her left coil. If they shift her over to the right side so she does not get bed sores, she finds a way to get more comfortable going immediately back to her left side.

She brings her legs up to chest level and the mere touch of her legs sends her howling. You don't have to move them. Just a gentle touch and she will howl. The nursing staff does monitor her pain levels and they adjust as needed.

On my way to see her today, I stopped for half an hour at Tower Hill Botanical and took some photos. I needed a bright spot to the day. Gloriously, the sun emerged for fifteen minutes, but it was sustaining. The floral arrangements at Tower Hill were inspiring. I'll post them on my blog.

When I parked my car, I saw my sister from Maine. She and her boyfriend were visiting from Pennsylvania en route to Maine. She shared with me her amazingly good news. I was so happy to hear of two personal successes she had. I'm sure my mother is so relieved and happy for this news.

When I visited her today, she was very peaceful. She smiled a lot and we had a nice conversation. Early on, I say, "I love you." She smiled and nodded. Then I said, "I'm sorry," and she smiled and nodded. Then I said "Thank you," and she smiled and nodded and fell asleep with the smile on her face. She looked angelic.

I asked if she wanted communion and she was very enthusiastic. I gave her a small piece of the host and she chanted the Our Father. We prayed it together, and they she said it twice separately. Then I prayed Psalm 27 with her to give her comforting words, and she nodded.

My youngest sister arrived and we talked with our Mom for a bit. We also talked about my sister's daughter's college visits yesterday and the intricacies of financial aid applications.

We took photos of my mom as she was wearing a flower in her hair. I suppose my sister put it in her hair. Someone also painted my mother's fingernails.

My mother talked so softly that we could not hear her. She talked nonsensical things too, but we simply agreed with her, and she was content. She kept nodded off and waking up and nodding off. She just held our hands and kept adjusting the blankets over her. She was warmer than she had been. Part of these last days is alterations in body temperatures and some agitated movements. Everyone wants to help, but the best thing is simply being with her and giving her the space she needs to do her internal work.

Many in the family are coming to say goodbye. This is the time to do so. Everyone will say goodbye in her or his own way. Mostly, prayer from any distance is what is needed. God will take her soon, and she is doing so well in getting ready for that day. She is at peace and is fairly happy.

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