I can write this today. I can share this at this moment in time because my heart is still full from the family visit. After I do, I will have to put it away again; so I can go on. No dwelling, there is still Hubby to look after. I cannot be there, and it hurts too much.
Since I shared my family’s journey with my mother’s impending death, there have been changes. She told me when we spoke on the phone awhile ago, “I didn’t think this would take so long.” Mama became too frail and weak for the family to care for properly at home. Over the last decade she had two encounters that left her in need of physical therapy. The facility my sisters were able to find was wonderful. In fact, the second trip my mother took there was at her request. She knew if she went to the Villa she’d get stronger faster. And she did.
So when the time came, the sisters discussed it with Mama and she agreed. It was time. Some of the staff that she grew fond of and vice versa were still there. This made the transition a little easier. I remember the day in January that they moved her. I remember the time. We were still in “exhile” at Motel 6. I saw my watch hit 2 PM. My heart ached–for my mother, for my sisters. This would be her last ride. This time there is no amount of therapy to help this frail, yet alert and joyful, 104-year old.
Time passes now. Where I used to get to speak with her a couple times a week, now it’s just occasionally; my older sister tries to put Mama on her cellphone when she’s having a good day. My niece sends pictures of Mama when she’s spiffed up for an event. Mama called to wish me Happy Birthday last Friday, the best gift I’ll ever receive.
She sleeps a lot now and is sometimes confused. My sisters make sure she has visitors everyday. As in most families, it’s down to the core group that can be counted on to come. Both the sisters who are the primary caregivers and their grown children are the ones who are there all the time. My mother has six children, 21 grandchildren (all adults now), 40+ great grandchildren. Yet it falls to a few. I would love to be near enough to visit her daily, to help my sisters. If things were different now with Hubby, I’d be up there in a heartbeat. How can they waste the valuable time? Each day she wakens and has a smile on her face and the love in her heart for all of her family, is a gift to us all.
One day the dreaded phone call will come. We know it will. My sisters and I talk about it. We think we’ll be prepared. We won’t. Our lives will never be the same. The sky may be brighter with one more angel star, but I know how heavy our hearts will be. She is loved dearly by many.