My mother died Friday, Aug 24, one day after her 77th birthday.
It has been a roller coaster ride since this whole thing started, three years ago. She would decline, then improve, but never to her previous level. This year alone she was in the emergency room 10 times.
During the period spanning from the end of June to the first part of August, she had a seizure or seizure-like event (the doctors were reticent to call them seizures) every two or three weeks. I finally told the care facility to not send her to the hospital if she had another seizure. They are not life-threatening, it just takes her awhile to come around.
We finally put Mom on hospice a week ago. Probably should have done it earlier, but we didn’t have a terminal diagnosis. Still don’t. Not that it matters anymore. Sometimes people just die from the multiple complications of old age.
I thought she would last at least a couple months. She’s pretty resilient. But Friday she took a “turn for the worse,” as hospice put it. I asked, hours or days? Hours, the hospice nurse said.
E and I got to the care facility as quickly as we could. I called my brother Jim – it would take him another couple three hours to get there from the coast.
Mom went so quickly and quietly that we hardly noticed. Eventually we thought to ask a nurse to check on her.
Tuesday was a good day. My aunt Vi, Mom’s sister, was in town overnight to catch a morning flight to Minneapolis. I brought Vi to see Mom. It was a couple days before her birthday, so I brought a multi-colored display of roses and a colorful balloon. Vi brought a hand-crocheted throw and a blouse, and cards from Mom’s friends in Astoria.
Mom was relatively alert, if not always coherent. She was happy to see Vi and seemed to genuinely appreciate the gifts and cards and flowers. It was the last time for Vi to see her baby sister and give her a big hug.
My mother was a difficult woman. I think she harbored a lot of anger that life did not turn out exactly as she fantasized it would. But now it’s all over. I pray she is at peace, at last.