Saying Goodbye to Mom in Hospice Part VI – Mom’s Hanging on!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

A beautiful sunny day. One of the rare ones we’ve had of late.

I spend the weekend at Mom’s facility, wanting as much time with her as I can.
Most of the time, Mom sleeps. But each time I sit on the edge of her bed, she rouses and looks up at me. This time she reaches her arm around my neck and says, “I love you.” We hold hands and she slips off to sleep again.

Another time she wakes up and says, “You’re a good girl.” I write this down, wanting to commit it to memory.

While mom rests, I go out for a little bit to enjoy the sunshine, the gorgeous day. These rooms can close in on you and you can lose perspective. Our world can get so small that we forget that there’s a whole world out there just waiting for us.

Lancaster is beautiful with it’s farms, Amish and cute little shops. I decide to take a ride, clear my head, feel the sun on my face. I buy some homemade jam in one little shop.  Then I sit on a bench to enjoy fresh peanut butter ripple ice cream and people watch. It’s pretty busy here. It seems like everyone has turned out for the same reason – it’s the first sunny day in a long line of rainy grey days!

I remember visiting this place, Kettle Kitchen Village, many years ago, with my parents when my children were little. We have a photo of the family sitting in a carriage waiting to be pulled by 2 black horses. It was another sunny day. And for a moment I am there again, with my mom and my dad, my young children. Years later, I took Arthur here and we sat and ate ice cream. So much has changed. And suddenly I am overwhelmed with grief. All the losses. Sometimes it catches up with you, blindsides you on a perfectly gorgeous day.

Yes, I sit in the car and have a good cry. Then I drive back to the Assisted Living.

When I enter Mom’s room she’s gone and for a moment I panic! I feel like I’m in an alternate reality and I’ve walked into the wrong room or I’m in the wrong place. Did she die and has her body been moved already? All these thoughts in a split second. Nothing that dramatic happened. The caregivers were able to get her out of bed and wheeled her to have dinner. Not that she eats. She wasn’t interested in food, but did drink some lemonade.

I want to share the sun with her in the enclosed garden before the day cools off. Mom loved the sun, the heat. I wheel her chair to the garden door but she refuses to go out. “Mom, it’s so warm out. Let’s just sit for a minute.” She shakes her head no. “But you love the sun!” Nope. I ask her why she doesn’t want to go out and she says, “I’m scared.” I guess this happens when you stop going outside; it becomes a scary place. I try one more time. And she says in a strong, firm voice,  “Angela! I want to go back to bed!”

There she is! That’s my Mama!

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