Waiting for Freedom

Mom is very close to the end. She quit eating and drinking a few days ago, which means no more antibiotics. Our focus has shifted to keeping her comfortable and surrounded by love. We are waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Now that we have no chance of recovery for her, I want it to be over. She hasn’t spoken for over a week now, and is not responding to things around her any more. I want her to have freedom from her body, which won’t do what she asks it to do. I want her to have her new one. I want freedom for her.

Yesterday, I had a discussion with my brothers. We decided to give Mom’s power chair and wheelchair van to my sister, who is facing a hip replacement on Aug. 16th and has limited mobility. The van will give my sister a sense of freedom, in the same way it gave Mom freedom from her house when we bought it last spring. My sister is pretty excited, and very touched. She was not expecting that, as she knows Mom’s money is nearly gone.

I’ve been busy taking care of Mom and handling her affairs. I’m Mom’s Power of Attorney, but my brother is the executor (hooray!). I don’t want to leave him a mess, and there are things that are easier to handle now.

I’m doing okay, I think, just very tired. My sister lined up family members to sleep beside Mom at night. I did it for the first several weeks after she got sick on July 2nd, and my husband and I have been taking turns since. We are both exhausted, but don’t want to leave Mom alone. If I try to sleep in the same room with her, I listen all night for her breathing, afraid I won’t hear her if something changes and she needs more medication.

I guess, in a way, I’m waiting for freedom, too. But I can’t really think that way yet. I can’t even begin to imagine life without her, or without caring for her.


12 thoughts on “Waiting for Freedom

  1. Avatar of JenniferJennifer

    I’ve had you on my mind so much lately. I haven’t had time to post for days – Paul is doing radiation and has just gone on a pain med patch which helps but has him pretty “slugged out.” This makes me think of how potentially awful it sounds to me to say I’d rather see him gone than in pain – which, of course, made me think of you and your mom.
    I know we’re nowhere near the end, but feeling that selfless love of wanting peace and freedom from pain for our loved ones has made me think of you often this week.
    Paul was playing some Beethoven this afternoon for a few minutes; I sent it out to you and your mom.

  2. Sharon

    Shandi,you have “fought the good fight,” and you have been such a loving and caring daughter to your Mom.

    You will have many emotions in the days ahead, but I am so happy for the peace you are now experiencing.

    I loved your comment, “I want her to have freedom from her body, which won’t do what she asks it to do. I want her to have her new one. I want freedom for her.” Eternity is a wonderful truth.

  3. Avatar of The Unit Known as ShandiThe Unit Known as Shandi Post author

    Jennifer, I’ve been playing hymns, Bach and Beethoven for Mom. I’m feeling very much more like Chopin, or anything with a minor key…but Mom has always loved the major keys, so that’s what I’m playing right now.The pain is the toughest part for me. I know it could be much, much worse…but it’s still tough. I hope Paul adjusts to being on the pain patch. Denise told me recently that after a few weeks on a narcotic pain medication, things level out. I hope that’s the case. Your husband sounds like a highly intelligent man that values his intellectual abilities, so I’m sure you’re both frustrated with him being “slugged out”.
    Sharon, thank you for your kind words. I have been an (imperfect) loving and caring daughter to mom, but nothing close to the way she has loved and cared for me!

  4. Karen

    Everything you have written and shared here has displayed your love for your mother and your caring devotion. I understand your desire for your mother to have freedom from her failing body. I know how hard this is. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  5. Meryl

    Shandi, you have been such a caring daughter throughout this whole time for your mom. I know it must be so hard to come to terms with certain things but sometimes we don’t have a choice and the only thing we want more than anything is for them not to suffer. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family and if you need anything, please let me know ((hugs))

  6. Avatar of The Unit Known as ShandiThe Unit Known as Shandi Post author

    Thank you, Karen and Meryl.

    I just spent about an hour curled up with Mom in her hospital bed (that took a piano bench to hold my behind and a whole lot of pillows…my Mom is 4’8″, but I’m 5’10″, and I probably weigh three times what she does at this point because she’s lost so much weight).

    I have told her before that it’s okay to let go, but I told her again. I explained that I know her mind and heart is still with us, but that her body just wouldn’t let her stay. I told her that Daddy was waiting for her, and her brother and sister. I told her about the arrangements we’d made, where her service would be, and that she had enough money left to cover this (something that was important to her). I told her about all of us deciding to give her van to my sister.
    She has lost her ability to eat, drink, smile and talk.

    She hasn’t lost the ability to pucker and give me a kiss.

    I know she heard me. She would take deep sighs at pertinent times during our (one-sided) conversation. I could tell she was listening intently.

    She’s still in there. I don’t know what is holding her here. I think she just doesn’t know how to quit. She’s never quit anything, ever.

    This is just torture. The little girl in me wants her mommy, doesn’t want her to go. The adult in me wants her to be free, for it to be over and her to have a new, healthy body to match the incredible spirit that she is.

  7. Bette

    Hi Shandi,
    The special relationship you have with your mom continues to be so evident.

    I hope you can rest in knowing you have been such a wonderful daughter and caregiver to her.

    Thinking of you and your family. I’m glad you have emotional and physical support.

    Take Care Shandi.

  8. Avatar of LilianaLiliana


    My thoughts and prayers are with your mom, your family and most importanly you. Every blog shows how much you care for her and what a great daughter you are. Please know that we are all here for you.


  9. Avatar of DeniseDenise

    Hi TUKAS–When my aunt was dying, we all gathered, day after day, in her room. We prayed as we held hands. We spoke with her. Someone was always with her. Finally, after five days of Aunt Nancy holding on, Hospice told us to leave the room, to give her the space she needed to leave. We left the room and she was able to leave for the next world within minutes.

    I understand the feeling that it’s important to have family with her. Sometimes, it’s harder to leave when family is always near. Because you’ve shared your peace with her, I wonder if it would also help if you gave her space?

    Hope this helps.

  10. Avatar of JaneJane


    I have loved reading your posts about your mom. It is clearly evident how much you love and care for your mom. She is lucky to have you for a daughter.

    I know when I had to make the decision to take my mom off of life support I hoped/prayed so much that she would breathe. I wanted her to stay with us I couldn’t imagine my life without her. Just as the doctors predicted she was brain dead and passed quickly. Just because I expected it didn’t make it easier.

    Your mom is lucky to have such wonderful children.


  11. Trish

    Shandi, Your post and the follow up comments you’ve added are so touching. My heart is with you and your mom and your entire family. What a generous gift you have given your sister. Further proof of what a remarkable family you all are. Please find comfort in knowing you have done all you can do. Wishing you peace. Take care.

  12. Jennifer

    I’m thinking of you so much! I hope to do my own post within the next hour or so, but I just wanted to let you know you are on my mind and in my heart.


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