Posts Tagged ‘transition’

Life With Mom

October 4, 2014

Thursday I sent my two sister and a close friend this email:

Late yesterday afternoon, Mom’s doctor called.  She said that Mom was about to turn a corner into the last stages of dementia.  She said Mom has lost weight, isn’t really interested in eating and she had two spots beginning on her bottom.  Not wanting to eat and losing weight means she doesn’t have her systems working very well, so making sure she doesn’t get sores will be a big priority.

 She will continue to go to the Center for as long as it benefits her, then they will have to have another doctor see her at the home.  Just because of distance.  She wanted to ask if I would like to have Comfort Care for Mom from now on.  It is their hospice type of care.  It means it will be easier for Judy and Didi so that went something happens, they don’t have to call 911.  There will be people to come and decide what works best for Mom – it is for the times when the Center isn’t open.
Dr. Myre said she couldn’t predict how long, especially since Mom is still strong.  It could be 6 months, it could be more.  She said Mom’s brain isn’t connecting to her body very well – she probably won’t be walking any more and at some point she will be bedridden.  She has noticed Mom has declined a lot – I’ve noticed it the last 2 or 3 weeks.
 I went to see Mom on Monday, but she was very sleepy and a bit cranky, so I didn’t stay.  Last Friday she spoke so softly I couldn’t hear her and she was very sleepy.  I went in the afternoon because Judy thought she might be more awake in the afternoon.  When I come in the morning she has had her meds and right about then, they kick in.  She also doesn’t seem to know me, so that may be how it will be from now on.
 I am going up to the Center today to take Mom downstairs for a haircut.  Dr. Myre said she didn’t like telling me over the phone about it and if I had been there she would have given me a hug.  I said I would be there today, I will collect my hug.
I am trying to wrap my head around this and it may take a while.  I have wanted her to let go and make the transition; but now that it seems much closer, I’m not sure what I am thinking and feeling.
I received answers from all three.  This from my younger sister:
It’s hard. Yet Mom has been ready to go for a long time. A geriatric doctor friend says that when they stop eating, it’s a sign they are ready to let go of life. Palliative care (Comfort Care) is a very wonderful thing. They are focused on making Mom comfortable, and helping the entire family deal with the transition as the patient enters Hospice Care. Hospice (and Medicare coverage) begins (according to Dr. Jeannie) when the patient cannot walk, talk, or feed herself. You will have a dedicated team available there to see Mom through this. 

You have already created a stellar safety net to take Mom through the final stages of life. Hospice care opens more resources for Mom, and for you. It is also totally covered by Medicare, freeing you to focus on walking with Mom through this process of releasing. Hospice people are great, so take advantage of the things they offer. They know so much about this part of the process and are deeply tuned into the spiritual aspects of dying, as well as the practical physical aspects. 
It is very disorienting to see someone so powerful in our lives become so weak, and to disappear as the dementia progresses. At the same time, there is a strange liberation, because all the old rules don’t seem to apply any more. 
This transition time is not only about Mom making her exit from the planet. It is an opportunity for all of her children to be “born again” and reinvent our lives. The life we knew is dying, but new life is continually being born. 
And from my older sister:
Thanks for keeping me informed. Candy, your thoughts are so healing and such a help. Yes, reinvent ourselves. Love, E
And from Char, who has been through this with her Mom:
Thanks for the update on your mom.  I’m frankly not too surprised (having been down this road before), but I know it’s hard.  Do make sure they keep after those sores; no sense making her uncomfortable, if you can help it.  My mom had those, too, but of course she was bedridden for quite a long time before she died–as in about 4 years–so it wasn’t to surprising.  However, the fact that your mom is losing weight can mean not only disinterest in food but a gradual slowing down of organs, tummy not as able to absorb nutrients, etc.  Be prepared–there may come a point when she refuses to eat at all, and that will be her choice, but it’s hard to deal with.  
 
I think Comfort Care is an excellent idea; we had that for my mom, too, and it really does help.  They can help you anticipate the changes you will see from now on, and that will help you be somewhat prepared.
 
I thought your mom had declined quite a bit since the last time I had seen her, but it had been several months, so that wasn’t too surprising, really.  When you see someone frequently, the changes seem much more gradual.
 
I hope you collected that hug!  If I were there, I would give you one, too, although today you probably wouldn’t want me to–overnight I have developed a full-blown head cold!!  It started with a sore throat yesterday, and BOOM! here it is…..sniffing, dripping, sneezing, etc.  I took a Claritin, and that has helped a little, but not enough! 
Believe me, I am so glad I have begun to ask for help and let others know what is happening.  I have been glad I don’t have to do it by myself.  Plus, when I have opened up to other people, I have been amazed to find so many others with the same kind of situation.  Even so, it isn’t a cakewalk.
To be continued . . . . . . . . . . .

Relief And A Smack In The Face

September 9, 2012

Thursday was supposed to be a day for me, but it ended up mostly about Mom.  I had a call in the afternoon from Denise, the social worker – Jas had visited with Mom at the Day Center and thought she was sweet.  She has agreed to have Mom come and live in her adult family home.  She can come on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.  Yikes!!!  It was such a relief that everyone agreed to have Mom live there, but it was like a smack in the face to realize it would be next week.  I had to just let it sink in and simmer on the back burner for a bit.   When I called her, it was the beginning of family training.  I was working on quotes for a client in between phone calls, so I worked on that for awhile to let it settle and not feel so immediate.

Of course, the next thing is telling Mom and making the transition.  I called Kathy on Friday and asked if she would help me with it since she knows Mom quite well.  I also called Jas to thank her for having Mom come to live in the house and to decide what day.  I’m not sure if it was relief or just letting go of stress about it that made me feel so tired – I have been exhausted for the past several weeks.  I went to see my chiropractor in the morning and went to an engagement lunch for my friend Chloe Ann – I know her from Breakfast Club and have been living vicariously through her for the past year as she has been doing online dating.  It is something she never thought she would do, but with help from friends, she did the preparation work to be ready to find the right man.  She feels she has and they are going to be married at the end of the month.  He lives in Vancouver, Wa and they plan to live there and rent ChloeAnn’s condo for a while.  I’m glad I had some time for my own things, then I drove up to the Center to sign the papers and pick up Mom.  She didn’t know I was coming, nor does she know about the move.

I talked to the social worker and learned some things about Mom, some of the things she does at the Center and some things I didn’t know she liked.  One thing she told me was that Mom really enjoys holding the weighted baby doll they have – that was a surprise.  So I decided it might be a good idea to buy her one for the new home.  Of course I checked with my doll expert Charlotte.  She has been collecting, repairing and making clothes for her dolls and also when she worked in the doll shop.  She offered to give Mom one of her weighted baby dolls, a girl in pink.  It is a really nice one and I am so amazed at such a generous gift.  When I was at the Center, I asked to see the baby doll she has been holding so I could see if it is similar to the one Charlotte has.  I think so.  So I will happily accept her gift for Mom.  She also has been enjoying holding a very large bear – I checked my supplier and they have one I can order so Mom has another option.  I may not do both all at once, just see how things go.

I talked to Kathy today to find out how to start the process of  transition – she said we need to tell Mom now, plus she will come by to visit after I tell her to help reassure her.  So I will tell her tomorrow morning and then Kathy will come by about noon with salads to have lunch.  I’ll just tell Mom Kathy called and wanted to come and visit.  We’ll see what happens after that.  She emphasized I need to make it positive and to say that Jas has invited her to come there to live.  I am just going to ask God, my angels, spirit guides and master teachers to give me the words, actions, attitude, etc. and I will just show up and get out of the way.  Otherwise I will worry and agonized about what to say and wonder if I “get it right”.  Unfortunately I tend t0 over analyze things, driving myself nuts.

There has been a small part of me that has been feeling a bit guilty for doing this.  The social worker said something that helped me feel better about it – she said Mom is at a good stage for the transition because she is still social.  If I wait too long, it may be much harder for Mom to adjust.  Jas suggested not seeing for a week, maybe two while Mom adjusts.  Then visit for only 15 minutes, bringing her something.  then Jas will distract her and I need to leave quickly.  One step at a time.

My Story About The Transition

July 15, 2012

I never know where my posts are going to come from or who may give me a suggestion; any more than I know where or how they will end.  This is one of them.

When I saw Dr. Cheryl, my chiropractor – she is a post in itself – on Monday, she asked about my week and I ended up talking to her about Mom.  I said Mom was scared about leaving this life and going on to the next step – she wants so much to believe Dad and Josie are there waiting for her but is afraid it isn’t really true.   Cheryl suggested I make a story about the transition, with colors, smells, sounds, etc.  Then tell it to Mom and see if that would make her less scared.  My first thought was “What in the world would I create?”.  Not quite the usual response “No, I can’t do that”.  Strangely enough I pictured the ocean and a beach with a huge pile of rocks that looked as if she would have to climb them all in order to reach Dad and Josie at the end of the beach way in the distance.

As I began thinking more about it, I pictured her warm and comfortable in her bed, the covers making her feel cosy and secure.   Then a golden presence comes to fill and surround her with deep, unconditional love and a knowing she is loved because she is.  There are two guides to help her with her confusion, gently guiding her to being fully awake and  knowing the golden presence is real.  (I was listening to the radio an few days later and someone mentioned the rainbow bridge, so I added that to it.)  As they take her hand, Mom is feeling a little less scared and the three of them slowly move through the white light to the rainbow bridge.  On the other side of the bridge – that transition to the paragraph below hasn’t quite materialized yet.  Any suggestions are certainly welcome!

Then Mom and her guides are on the beach with the ocean waves hitting the sand , a very soothing and relaxing sound  Mom is noticing as she has been walking that she fees lighter, her body is beginning to be more comfortable and the depression has started to clear.  She hears the gulls crying above, flying in circles above her looking for food and enjoying the feeling of soaring.  The sun is warm on her back and the white clouds above look like huge puffy cotton balls.  A lovely cool breeze ruffles her hair and she finds herself enjoying feelings she had forgotten had existed.  She sees rocks coming up – a huge pile with sharp edges that looked as if she would have to climb them all in order to reach the other part of the beach where Dad and Josie are waiting for her way in the distance.

I thought of the rocks as a sort of maze, that her guides would take her to the rocks and instead of climbing over them, there was an opening no one else could see, that took her on a lovely sandy path through the rocks.  The sand sparkled as if it was made of diamonds and at each bend in the maze was a corner with a wonderful glow, each a different color.  There would be something there that when she picked it up, she would know one more piece of the puzzle.  With each piece, she would become more sure of herself and the way to meet Dad and Josie – that it is all true and not just a yearning.

 That’s it so far.   One Friday I went out to sit on the porch and enjoy the evening sunshine – Mom came out with me for awhile.  I had my eyes closed because I was facing the sun; behind my eyelids the light was glowing yellow/white, but it wasn’t harsh, it was gentle and lovely.  Some how the subject came up about making the transition, so I said I had made up a story about it – just how I pictured it.  So I told her – not as much detailed as I have written here because it is work in progress – how it came to me and she thought I had a wonderful imagination.   Whether any of it stuck with her, I have no idea, it just felt as if God had given me an opportunity and  maybe there will be another one so I can add the details.  Who knows, it is always one minute at a time, one step at a time no matter how impatient I am.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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