Sharing A Daughters Thoughts and Coping With Her Mothers Death

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Donna Mae Scheib

Sharing A Daughters Thoughts and Coping With Her Mothers Death

Posted by Donna Mae Scheib on January 06, 2019

Sharing A Daughters Thoughts and Coping With Her Mothers Death

It hasn’t been a month yet when Mother passed away. We took her to the hospital as the staff at her memory care facility said she was not eating much and that she had difficulty swallowing. She was also fidgeting a lot and could not sleep at night.

After the emergency doctor ran some routine tests, he released her and we drove back to the facility. The head nurse was going to administer some morphine to help her sleep and to calm her. I told her that I would call in the morning.

My husband and I went to visit Mom the next day and brought with us some of her favorite foods to eat. We got her to drink an Ensure and to eat about half a yogurt and a chocolate cupcake. She seemed better and I helped put her to bed.

The next morning when the phone rang, I was surprised to hear that she was not doing well. When the hospice nurse asked me what I thought was going on, I replied that the emergency hospital doctor had checked her over and there was “nothing medically wrong with her” so she was released. I also added that she had rebounded before so I thought she would do that again.

After a short pause, the nurse asked me if I wanted to know her thoughts. After agreeing, she told me that she thought Mom was dying. She told me that Mother’s extreme fidgeting and making repetitive motions with one’s hands is a typical change that people go through in their end stages of life. I thanked her for her insights and asked what more I could do for my mother at this time. In the back of mind, I held onto the hope of her getting better, as she had done many other times.

When we arrived at the facility, I was surprised to see extra chairs and refreshments set up in the room. Soft music was playing. The nurse was taking her vitals. Mother was alert in bed and resting. She talked with us and even laughed but did not want to eat anything. She said she wasn’t hungry.

Our four children had planned to come home that weekend for a mini-reunion (before Mother got sick), and they soon would be flying in from Montreal, Denver, and Kansas City. Another son was driving from Milwaukee. Now with Mother’s declining health, I called my sister and three brothers who all live in different states. They booked flights and arrived as soon as they could.

It was a sunny Friday and Mother was in bed, but able to look out the window at her birdfeeder. She could see the bright-red geraniums planted nearby. She was very cognizant and enjoyed how everyone was talking with her. Each person took a turn talking closely to Mom and sharing a favorite memory, giving her a hug and showing other signs of affection.

My sister asked for an extra mattress to be brought in for her to stay the night. The on-staff nurses, caregivers, and Hospice staff came into the room every half hour to turn mother, wash and change her, to dab her mouth with water and apply Chapstick to her lips, and to readily supply any needed oxygen and morphine throughout the night.

On Saturday morning, my husband and I along with my brothers dashed to see Mother after my sister called and said Mother was not doing well. We arrived just when the chaplain did to join him in prayer and song. My mother enjoyed Susan Boyle’s Amazing Grace and so we played this CD.

Within 30 minutes, my mother slowly stopped breathing. She was at peace. We were clutching her hands and telling her we loved her.

It was Mother’s lifelong wish to donate her body to medical research. I had called the Medical College several times that week to ensure an understanding of this possibility and to sort out all of the details. (I had arranged the services of a funeral home as a backup plan.) After Mother passed away, the head nurse needed to call the college and answer several medically-related questions to see if her body qualified. And I was relieved when it did; Mother’s wish would be granted.

The chaplain had a short prayer service for our immediate family outside in the courtyard overlooking the lake. And we were able to see my mother one more time before she was taken away.

Although it is sad when someone you love dies, I know that I did everything I could for my mother in this lifetime and I harbor no regrets. I am happy that there were family members who came to help at this time and that collectively we could share in both griefs and in comfort. I am grateful to the many staff members who showed such depths of compassion and care. And I am thankful to God that He was there with us throughout the entire journey and how my mother who suffered from advanced Alzheimer’s and paranoia, for nearly a decade, could pass away peacefully and without pain surrounded by so many who loved her.

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