Friday, May 7, 2010

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the Mom’s reading this blog. If you have grown children, remember that we should celebrate each day that our children are healthy, happy and out of the house. If you have small children, love and enjoy them every minute you can because time passes much too quickly. If you have teenagers - well, hang in there.

At our house we began to realize that in what seemed to be the blink of an eye, we went from taking care of our children to taking care of our parents and didn't even have time for a nap between these two occurrences.

My mom spent her last Mother’s Day on a lot of medication to help with pain, breathing and anxiety. She was struggling to walk and very quickly went from a regular walker, to a wheeled walker with a seat, to a manual wheelchair, and then to a small motor scooter. She became too weak to walk more than a few feet and even that required assistance so she wouldn't fall. Most of her time was spent sleeping and her appetite was very poor. She cried much of the time. She’d had a bladder or kidney infection and a bout of pneumonia since she’d arrived from Florida. At times she began to look for and speak to my dad and step-father, her siblings and others. Relatives would visit and she seemed know them while they were with her, but after they left she was not sure who had been there.

One night she told me she wanted me to talk to the nurses and aides and the people from hospice about her medication. She looked at me with half opened eyes and said, “This isn’t living.” She said it had to be the medication that was suddenly making her so unbearably weak. So, as she requested, I asked for her medication to be reviewed and adjusted. I had found that because she’d been diagnosed with dementia, sometimes those involved in her daily care didn’t listen to her, but if I passed concerns on for her attention was given. It was demeaning and unfair in many ways but my mom never complained. Most of the time she didn’t even know to whom to complain. The hospice nurses changed often and she was never sure who was who. She really only knew Chaplain Cindy’s name and role. All the other caretakers were nice people helping her and she liked them all. Slowly, once the medication had been changed, there was a little more life in her eyes and she seemed more engaged in her surroundings. Her breathing and memory were still a problem but she did seem much less tortured.

She and I had talks about all the people who were expecting her in her new life. She told me stories that I’d never heard about her parents and my father and I learned about her childhood. I felt like I was getting to know all of these people better through her. She was anxious to see them again, and most importantly, to be with God. Her faith was very strong. She expected a welcoming party, and I knew she would be greeted with great love and joy and a release from pain. I remind myself of this often to keep myself from wallowing in grief.

On this Mother’s Day I’m thankful for every minute I had with my beautiful mother, Frances, and I’m grateful that I was able to spend so much time with her in the last year of her life. We had time to make sure that each of us knew how blessed we were to have each other in our lives. She knew she was loved and I knew how very loved I was.

I miss my mother, Frances, and this Mother’s Day, like all of you who love and honor your mom’s, I’ll be honoring her.

Happy Mother’s Day.

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