Friday, April 23, 2010

They Said She Wouldn't Have Any Pain...

My Mom.  They were wrong and I'm upset about it. With whom, I don't know. Just the situation I suppose. I'm glad my Mom lives with us and that we can help her on this journey, but the oncologist said she wouldn't have any pain. He said she would just get more tired and sleep more and more, and then peacefully go to sleep one day and not wake up. That was over four months ago. She wasn't expected to last this long. She is still pretty much taking care of herself except for dinner, which we prepare and have with her. Hospice workers come 3 times a week to help her bathe and they clean up around her place. Hospice has several people coming... a pastor a nurse and a massage therapist all once a week. This past week she started having back and abdominal pain.  She of course is taking medication for the pain, but we just didn't think it would come to this.

I haven't written about this in a long time because I don't like to make people sad. But this is real and my life, and I want to be able to look back on all of it, not just the pretty, fluffy fun parts of it. It is very controversial... talking about one's personal life on one's blog, but I think that belief misses the point (for me anyway).

My life is good, and it is usually happy. It will become "normal" again someday, it will just be a new "normal" that will take some time (and patience) to get used to.

One night in February I went down to my Mom's (we built a house with an apartment/dual living feature for my Mom 6 years ago)....  I had jumped out of bed and had to run and tell her this in case she didn't make it through that night.  I meant to just tell her I love her, but it turned into something more difficult.  I was crying uncontrollably and all I could say was "I don't want you to go, I just don't want you to leave..."  Poor Mom.  She said "it's time, baby."  Of course that made me cry harder.  I meant to go comfort her, and here she was having to comfort me.

The other day when I was thinking about her pain something dawned on me.  Maybe she couldn't leave because she was staying for me (after my big embarrassing production a few months ago).  I am 53 for Heaven's sake!  So yesterday I went downstairs (I started crying again. UGH, what's the matter with me)??  I looked her in the eye and said "it's okay for you to go.  Really it's okay, I will be fine.  I know you will be here with me.  I hope you give me a "signal" so I am positive you're here :).  It will be nice for you to see your Mom and Dad and your Granny and your baby you didn't have the chance to hold much."  She said "it's time."  This time, I said "I know, Mom.  I know, and I will be fine.  You will be happy and I will meet you there.  It's okay for you to go."

I'm not sure, but now maybe she will feel like she really can go and we'll be fine.  She is very sweet, and I have never heard her say a mean thing to anyone (ever).  Unlike me, she is very quiet and doesn't feel the need to tell people (even her children) exactly what she thinks or tell them her opinion, or that their decisions or choices might be wrong, or what might be a good idea for them to try instead.  She knows people will figure things out for themselves anyway.

My Mom is 74 and my Dad will be 74 in May if he makes it. They are young.  I know people in their 80s and 90s who are living full lives. My Dad (Pop), is in an Alzheimers home in Spokane.  My brother who lives there has been taking care of every detail for him since his wife died unexpectedly over a year ago.  Right now, he is dying.  A story for another day.  My message here I guess, is that life will go on, and to appreciate everything in the moment, because you never know if you'll have a moment like that again.  I bet you already knew that.


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  1. Oh, Sheila, you are so brave... You have me crying, it must be so hard to let go.... I'll be thinking of you and your mom... Big hug!

  2. Even tho' we know it is inevitable, we are never ready to lose our parents. You will always miss her but you will, also, always remember the good times you shared. I am sorry about the pain, the folks from Hospice might be able to help with that. Blessing to you and your family.

  3. I was 36 when I told my mom it was ok for her to "go home". She was at her 5th year of beating breast cancer, we wanted to celebrate, but then the cancer came back, full of rage, nothing was going to stop it. It attacked her bones first, then everything else it could in her little body. She was barely 5' and 100 pounds. We were told 3 months and almost to the day, she was gone. I was with her every day, watching the cancer take her from me, the morphine the nurses gave her allowed her to sleep, I don't know if it took away the pain, she was no longer talking, I hoped it did. I knew the moment she was gone, when her spitit was soaring. It's hard to lose your parents, I can say that it will ease over time. For me, it's the memories I keep close and remembering them keeps my mom close also. I find that I do alot of things she used to do and I smile. Wishing you strength as you travel this road with your mom and blessings knowing you will see her again.

  4. You are so blessed to have parents that you love. You have been a wonderful daughter for them. It is never easy to see your loved ones pass on. God Bless you and your parents. sandi

  5. Sheila just know God is holding you and your mom in his arms and will carry you both all the way, feels his love and warmth. Hugs to you. Florence

  6. Sheila, you are so right. This is part of your life also. We all experience pain and everything isn't always fluff and roses! Good for you for posting exactly how you are feeling through this horrible ordeal.
    Your mother sounds like an amazing woman. I am sorry to hear that she is in pain. I was so hoping that you would all be spared at least that.
    My mother was also 74 when she passed away. That does indeed seem so so young. Just yesterday I needed to talk to her so much. Isn't it so weird that women in their 50's can feel like such little girls some times.

  7. I'm so sorry you are going through this life experience. I too watched my Mother go through cancer - she held on for almost two years (a year and half longer than they had predicted) - but she was only 67 when she died. It's been 19 years without her and I recall it as if it were yesterday - and you're right - life does become a whole different 'normal' again - you learn to life with the void in your heart that never goes away ... Everyday I seem to miss my Mom even more. Snuggle the warm memories and fun times with your Mom close to your heart - it will help you get through a lot of the difficult moments ahead. Prayers are with you and your Mom ... Blessings, Patti

  8. Hi Sheila,
    I am so sorry to read all this about the sad journey you are taking in your life right now. I feel for you and my heart is aching for you, even though I don't know you. Be strong though, it will get brighter again in your life. Two years ago I lost my father to a very lengthy battle with heart disease. In the end the disease robbed him of all of his faculties,both mentally and physically. It is sad to be left as the child watching your parent slip away. It will be two years this May that he has been gone. I always prayed to keep my parents on this earth for ME as long as they could be here. Then I realized how selfish it was of me to keep him holding on for my sake and not his. I changed my prayed and left it up to God. It was at this time two years ago that it was so dark, knowing that any day would be the day he would go. I am sure you understand all those feelings. It is absolutely terrible, like a big gaping wound. Just remember, the wound will heal one day. You will be left with
    a scar as a constant reminder, but the pain and bleeding will subside. You will hopefully have good memories to remember her by.

    You have given your mother the biggest gift by telling her it is all right to go. I have heard so many stories about those who are dying that have been able to pass shortly after being given permission to do so. It is amazing what the soul and will can do even when there is little physical strength left to fight. I know that same thing happened with my father once he was told it was ok. Even through all the dementia, he understood. If you believe in heaven and a higher power you can rest comfortably in knowing they will be going to a better place soon. It is not easy for us, we are the ones left to deal with all the grief. I am sure you have a great source of family and friendship you can draw on for emotional support at this time. If you ever want to talk and have someone just listen, you can come to me. I will be saying some prayers for you and your family.
    God bless you Sheila,

  9. Hi Sheila,
    I just wanted to share with you; I lost my own mother when she was only 49 years old from a terminal brain tumor, I was 25 yers old at the time. To me, it was so difficult to think I had to go through life without her and without my mom there for life's significant events. However, I will tell you I have found throughout my life (and as you and I both know, I am 53:), she IS STILL ALWAYS THERE FOR ME.
    I live my best life for her and because of her. You too will know that she will be at peace without pain, and in turn, she will know she has raised a lovely daughter and its alright for her to go.
    Always keep this in the back of your mind, she is ALWAYS WITH YOU.
    Hugs dear friend,
    Terry B.

  10. There must be hundreds of people praying for you and your mom. I don't know what we are supposed to learn from going through these things with our parents but I think it is one of the most difficult things we have to do in this life.
    Maybe you have time to talk to your mom about what her childhood was like and to record her happy memories.
    Hang in there, you are stronger than you think.

  11. Oh Sheila, I don't think there are words for what I'm feeling right now! My brother passed away 25 years ago when we were in high school, and whenever my mom finds a feather or a butterfly wanders across her path she knows it's him just passing through. I hpe it was ok to share that, your words just brought it to my mind....please know that I'm thinking of you.
    Big Hugs,

  12. Oh thank you everyone for your wonderful words. They are more comforting than you know. I'm glad I can reply back to most of you. Kay, I need your email address! Hugs and thank you everyone for all of your caring and prayers.


  13. Sheila, bless your heart!
    I hope you know that you can always share your trials, not just your joys. At least with me and those of us who care about you. You have so many friends here, we're put here to shoulder each others burdens. That's the beauty of blogging.

    You, your family, and your sweet mom will be in my prayers.

    Love to you,

  14. i am sorry for the pain you are experiencing while watching your mother in pain. It is so very hard to watch. Just love every moment you have left with her (and your father).. their pain will eventually end and they will experience Peace and knowing will feel a peace too. i just went through this with my grandmother and grandfather. My heart goes out to you while you experience this with your mom and dad. God bless you! hang in there. they took care of you and now you get a beautiful chance to take care of them and show your appreciation.


  15. Beautiful picture of your Mom. I see a lot of her in you and in Tom. It's so hard to let them know that it's okay for them to go. She's fought one heck of a battle. I know that when the time comes, she will be able to let go a little easier because you have given her that gift. When my Mom and J passed, it was really important for them to hear that and for me to tell them. I know that you will receive many signs from her, that will be one of her gifts to you. You and your family are always in my prayers. I love you and wish I could be there to help you through this difficult journey. I'm a phone call and a plane trip away. Just say the word.


  16. What a beautiful woman your mom was! I know how hard it was for you to tell your mom it was OK to go. I watched my mom die for two years and each time I'd visit (I lived three hours away), I never knew if it was for the last time. One day she said 'you know the next time you come I may not be here' and I remember telling her that was OK - but it sure was hard to let those words come out of my mouth. I'll keep your family in my prayers.

  17. Sometimes life if so hard, and even though we all have these times, when your living it 24/7 it can be overwhelming. I'm thinking of you and praying for your strength. I love you lots and wish there was something I could do to take away the heartache.

  18. Well now that we have all cried, I want to tell you this is one of the hard parts of life.I never knew that till my mother was dying. He found out 3 weeks before her death that she had cancer. I cried for 3 weeks , then 3 years, then another 3 years. After 12 years I can talk about her sometimes and not cry. she was 74. I didn't know how happy I was in life until this happened. Now I know I HAD a good life. I know we all go through this , but until it happens to you , we don't realalize how good life is when both parents are healthy and happy.
    I will say a prayer for you & your Mother.

  19. Oh Sheila - I was thinking of you all morning and wondering why I hadn't heard how things were going. Then I began to work on my blog and update some things and I discovered that somehow you - and several of my favorite blog friends - 'fell out' of my blog reader! I am so sad that I haven't been keeping in touch.

    My heart hurts for you as you are walking a path I've been with my dear father. There is no way anyone can make it easier but I want you to know that I'm here - praying for you.

    If you get a chance, stop by and see the sweet little baby girl God has sent to our family. We are so blessed. It's times like this that make the hard times easier to bear.

    With love and hugs,

  20. Your post about your Mom made me sad and brought me back to my Mom..
    Mom lived with me the last 3 years of her life because I could not let her live alone.. she came kicking and screaming, but knew it was for the good of us all. I came home from work one day and she was peacefully laying in her bed,
    the tv on and her morning cup of coffee half finished on her night stand... she was gone..
    I had flowers for her that she did not get to see...
    It took me 6 months to come out of the fog and it's 11 years, this Mothers Day.. yes she picked quite a day to go...and I still feel the pain of loosing her.
    Life must go on..
    Sending good vibes to you and your family..
    my heart hurts for you.

  21. your words are just beautiful...thank you...

  22. Thank you everyone, your words have been so comforting and inspiring.

    Blessings to you all.


  23. Sheila,
    Thank you for sharing this part of you with me. It helps me know you far away.

  24. I'm so sorry to hear about your mom and her being in such pain. I know how hard it is letting go. I had to do the same thing with my dad 10 years ago. He was holding on for my mom, he was so worried about her. I told him it would be all right and we'd take good care of her. He passed away 2 days later. I still miss him but knowing hes no longer suffering brings comfort and we'll be with him again someday. God Bless you and I hope you find the strength to let go.
    hugs Lyhh


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