I am waiting. Waiting for my mother to take her last breath. No one prepares you for the act of dying. The longevity of the process or the heartbreak you feel as you watch the person, who was one of your biggest teachers/cheerleaders step closer to their exit. Yet, here we are hanging on to every sound she makes wondering if this is the last one we will hear..
On Thursday, she surprised me with her very transparent talk about how she felt like she was close to death. It was our closing conversation where we left nothing unsaid. It was our goodbye. By Friday, Hospice needed to put a catheter in as things were progressing quickly. By, Saturday, we were administering various drugs to make her feel comfortable. She would ask questions like, “how long with this take?” which I had no answer for and the most heartbreaking statement, “I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want to die”. By Sunday night, right after Bailey came to see her and told her how much he loved her, she slipped into a coma, her breathing changed, and I was convinced it would happened swiftly. I was wrong. My mother, just as she did in life, is white-knuckling death.
My sister along with our amazing caregivers have been with her every step of the way. We are tired. The oddity of how life continues while I feel as if I am frozen in time is surreal. I am going through the motions. I suppose my expectations of this process were unrealistic. No one should have to endure this. We treat our animal companions with a whole lot more compassion than we do our elderly.
On Saturday, as our new reality settled in, I laid my head on my mother’s stomach and cried while she stroked my hair. It’s been a long decade of caring for her, but I have no regrets. And so, we wait until she takes her last breath.