Anna-Margaret, Dad and I talked today about which direction to go with Mom. The doctor at the hospital called Dad and said that there isn’t really anything more they can medically do for her there. Mom’s not eating. They’re treating her for two blood clots, but she’s just not responding to food.
She just sleeps. Waking her up is never very easy; the medication taking precedence over focusing for very long.
I had hoped that Mom’s body would make the decision before Dad would have to. It doesn’t look like that is going to be the case.
I wasn’t sure if Baird was at work or if Hannah was in play practice, so I texted them both and asked their opinions. Within seconds I received phonecalls from both of them. They asked very pertinent questions and agreed that keeping her alive is only a selfish act on our part: “You’re not doing her any favors.” They both immediately asked me about Granddad. Both asked about her level of pain.
Man I have great kids…
After a few inquisitive phonecalls to doctors and nursing homes (Scott called his brother, Mark, who is a doctor in Maine), the decision was made to not have a feeding tube inserted, but to let Mom go back to The Groves under the supervision of hospice, and the family will begin the arduous task of waiting. It is a surreal decision as I’m sure the next week or more will also be: waiting for someone to die.
The last coherent thing I heard Mom say was on December 18 at the nursing home. There was a holiday party that Dad played the piano for and we sat around and sang with a wing of Alzheimer’s patients (yes, laugh. It was funny to all of us.) Mom slept through most of it. She has stopped talking with much understanding at all. It hasn’t made sense for a long time. Dad said someone told him it was called Salad Talk. It’s a perfect analogy of what it’s like: just a mixture of words thrown in together and it comes out in one sentence.
But recently, she hasn’t even done that level of talk well. She almost sounds like a stroke patient in her speech (which is particularly sad for an English teacher who has given countless beautiful readings in her strong alto voice.)
I sat next to her at the Holiday Party and sang the songs. She slept or sat empty-eyed until Dad began playing one song… Mom started humming it and eventually sang most of one verse: word for word. Verbatim. I told Dad about it later and he smiled and confirmed, “Marlene has always loved that song”…
Away in a manger
No crib for His bed
The little Lord Jesus
Laid down His sweet head
The stars in the sky
Looked down where He lay
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.
This evening I received a text from Hannah with the verse Matthew 6:25-34 and the direction to read it and pass it on to Granddad.
I don’t know a lot for certain. But what I do know is that God will always provide what is needed. When it is needed. And in the perfect amount. So as we attempt to go through the next few days as normally as possible (grandkids, Anna-Margaret, and Dad going back to school and me at work), we know that God has her back. He’s rocking her already and will lead her through to the end of her life. I know that He is looking down where she lay…and will make sure she sleeps peacefully wherever her sweet head rests under the stars in the sky.
And you know how I know that?
Mom told me.
All my life.
Mom’s told me…