From a Week Ago: Dying Not so Easy

“Dying not so easy”
I have been bottlenecked. I haven’t been able to write for all the emotions strangling me from the inside out. AND, I am almost embarrassed at how I have walked around with the grieving cloak draped over me for months and I imagine years. I always thought Mom was at death’s door….if so it has been a mighty wide threshold. Jackie says it is because I didn’t know what dying looked like and too because we all get to die differently.
Mom is rarely lucid. Her eyes show recognition. We cannot understand anything she says. She dreams and mutters. Yesterday the hospice, triage nurse came out…her breathing is so tortured. Well, yes, she is dying.
Mah Jongg chum, Peggy tells a story about her Japanese mother-in-law. Mama Maeasaka told Peggy in her broken English, “You think dying easy. Dying not so easy.” I pray fervently for Mom to get to die.
Observations
Suddenly, Mom yells, “Where did Susan go?” That’s about it. I go as much as I call legal. Yesterday, I read that Charlotte had been to San Antonio Junior League’s Ole Market. I went. Thank you Charlotte.
Billy has lost his wallet. Billy found his wallet. I lost my iPad.
This morning Bros Bill and I sat on the bed by Mom. I rubbed her forehead and cried. Billy said, “Remember how we talked about how Mom would not like to die disheveled. She is dying just that way.” Yes, this we don’t get to pick. BUT, thank you God, her caretakers get it. They groom her—make up, hair fixed, and of course earrings. I love Maria Louisa.
Obituary Composition
I called Cousin Janie for the full names of my uncles….we grew up with relatives with organic nicknames….Uncles Woody, Chip, and Cotton and Aunt Pansy….now all deceased so for obituary I want the real names…Janie had them all written in a family Bible.
So, I have been reading obituaries with an eye for composition and tribute to Mom. I want to write about her volunteering to serve the mangled and burned men in the New Mexico oilfields, the crippled children in the Shriners hospital iron lungs, nursing the old and infirm, the forgotten, and the treasured. She was the consummate nurse—and a veteran. Oh, and the Queen of hospitality. You couldn’t walk into the house without her offering you something to eat or drink…once she offered Billy an onion. On the flip side, donning that mermaid suit for the King Neptune Celebration as we crossed the International Date Line! She always claimed to be painfully shy. Frankly, a mermaid tail is more of my kind of suit but then it has been a while since I would do one justice. I have known for a while she could die in peace if I were thin….so I have been starving myself…and that I KNOW she sees and she is pleased and proud….
I guess it wouldn’t do to write about the times she wiped our noses and rear ends and loved us when we were wretched teenagers…there are all those moments of tenderness and unconditional love. God, I wish she could have met her Spurs heroes, David Robinson, “Timmy” Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Genobli. I am pretty sure she loved them as much as she did us.
Brother Bill comes in and is marvelous with her…funny and gracious. He has been her rock and formal caretaker. He has set aside his struggles to find the kindest caretakers for Mom and to keep her in her home where she has wanted to stay.
As far as obituaries go, Mom would opt for the facts, just the facts. Mama Maesaka, you got it right. Dying not so easy.
The Nebulizer
Maria Louisa just rigged up the nebulizer for Mom’s first normal saline breathing treatment…this may help ease her breathing. Amazingly, she is doing fine with it. She smiled-she gets it. So, I leaned over her–with tears running rampid down my face…she opened her eyes and said, “Now Susan, I have to do this.” And I thought she wasn’t lucid. Good God.
The Great Purge. It May be Good.
So after not writing a thing for over a month, I find that this is a great release. I can sit here by Mom’s side, write, and weep. I have always believed that there is a lesson embedded in every experience.
Hospice Triage Nurse
Elizabeth D. is a wow, kind of, mega triage nurse. She is about 5’10” tall, thin, blonde, Swedish, and reallllllllly pretty. Mom loves pretty. Elizabeth is very interested in doing what our family wants for Mom….She finds Mom’s vital functions appropriate for her transition. I like her. Mom likes her….you can see it in her eyes.
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3 Responses to “From a Week Ago: Dying Not so Easy”

  1. This is beautiful, just beautiful. Thank you…dying not easy. You are he.ping me as you go through this journey.

  2. Lou Ann weaks Says:

    Oh, Susan, you have me in tears. Even more so since I will not be able to say good-bye to her before she leaves or at any memorial service for her. I love her and you so much. You have been such a big and best part of my life I hold you, Billy, and her in my heart.

  3. Carol Ann Esposito Says:

    You have such a loving, insightful soul. Love you.

    Carol Ann Esposito Please excuse my brevity, sent from my iPad.

    >

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