That’s All, Folks

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After a week in ICU, Mom was getting better.  Yesterday, we moved her into a regular hospital room with a nice view.  She was alert and making her wishes known.  Unfortunately, her wish was to die.

She told the nurses to take away her heart monitor.  She refused food and all medication, even a Tylenol for pain.  When her oxygen saturation levels dropped, she refused oxygen.  At those low levels, her brain will become oxygen-starved soon, and after that, the rest of her organs.

As always, Mom attended the details.  She waited until my brother left yesterday morning before starting her refusals.  She wanted him on the road and unreachable.  She will take a few sips of ice water, but makes us fill the cup where she can watch.  She doesn’t want us slipping her any medication Mickeys.

As someone who has tried suicide, I should understand this better.  As someone who knows first hand my mom’s fierce need for control, I should have seen this coming.  Maybe it’s just that we spent the last week wrenching her back from an accidental death, watching in amazement as her 88-year-old body rallied in ways that shocked the medical team.  Strong-willed, she just chose to point that will in a different direction.

My sister and I tried to wrap our heads around this, flipping from anger to despair to resignation.  But, my nephew reminded us that this is what Mom wants, this is her choice, and that all we have to do it stay out of her way.  I can do that today.  I can watch Mom meet death the way she met life—on her own terms.

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26 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Snoring Dog Studio
    May 21, 2013 @ 07:42:24

    So sorry to hear that you’re going through this. If it were me and my 88 year old mom, who’s still hearty and with me, I’d be there to respect her wishes. I’d be there. I’d sit and hold her hand and talk about good memories. There’s no point in arguing at this time, no point in trying to sway her. All my best to you and your mom. Hope you can find some peace.

    Reply

  2. Fiddle gal
    May 21, 2013 @ 07:45:00

    I am so sorry, such a difficult time in your life! Life just is not easy! Just when you thought things were bad, things got worse! Know that I am here loving you!

    Reply

  3. Denise
    May 21, 2013 @ 07:51:19

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Your mother sounds amazing!

    Reply

  4. Michelle at The Green Study
    May 21, 2013 @ 08:29:11

    You are wise, albeit painfully so, to recognize your mother’s wishes. Take care of yourself and may your family find some peace in this process.

    Reply

  5. ManicMuses
    May 21, 2013 @ 09:09:19

    Love to you.

    Reply

  6. stevebetz
    May 21, 2013 @ 12:51:21

    Very sorry for your loss, SS. You always hear that no matter how long you know someone, you can’t completely get inside their head. I hope your mom is at peace and that you and your family can find some, too.

    Reply

  7. pegoleg
    May 21, 2013 @ 17:44:00

    Sandy, I’m so, so sorry. I hope you can find peace and acceptance, and comfort in the love of your family.

    Reply

  8. Littlesundog
    May 21, 2013 @ 18:11:50

    Sandy, I do not seem to have any words of comfort. It’s what she wants, and it should be respected. One of the most difficult, but loving things we do for those we love… is to allow. Allowing people to be who they are and to live (and die) as they wish. What a gift you and your family give her… to be free to exit this life as she wishes.

    I love you so much… I am thinking of you, dear friend.

    Reply

  9. Hope Happens
    May 21, 2013 @ 19:11:50

    I am so sorry. There is no easy way through this for any of you. Sending you much love, and praying for peace in the hours and days ahead. xoxo

    Reply

  10. LindaNoel
    May 21, 2013 @ 22:13:15

    My almost 88-yr old happy, musical, fun, nature-loving, always kind Betty-Mom died in April 2011. It was a very good life she had, and a not-so-bad death: even tho she had Alzeimer’s, she recognized us, beauty, kindness. We danced to live music at senior dances often, drove out in the country, marveled at clouds and nature’s beauty, sang along with Tony Bennet and laughed and laughed those last four years. My 2 yrs younger sister & hubby chose to have Dad and Mom live with them their last 5 years, but I got to do all the fun stuff with them. We give what we can and that’s a gift I got from Mom. Be gentle with yourself as you are with your mother at this, her chosen time. Hugs.

    Reply

  11. Moss Piglet
    May 22, 2013 @ 05:11:48

    My dear departed Mother’s favourite saying…”Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining”
    (I read tomorrow before I read today.) xxx

    Reply

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