Last Tuesday Daddy and I were driving to the house just ahead of the EMS that was transporting Momma home and he said to me “now the hard part begins.” And boy was he right. We were met by the admissions nurse for Hospice and it all started. The constant worrying that you automatically do when you’re all alone with her after having nurses by your side 24/7 for almost four weeks. Now her nurse comes every other day and her aide once a day, each for an hour at a time. We’re the ones responsible for giving her 12 different medications at different times of the day now, not them. We’re responsible for making note of each new “something” that we notice (even though we don’t know what we’re suppose to notice) and alerting the nurse. We’re the ones “on” 24/7 now. How do they let us do this? Although we could probably have medical degrees at this point in the game, we don’t and have you noticed how juvenile we can act? And they let us bring her home to take care of her, what where they thinking?
Daddy and I are officially twitchy, high-strung and on emotional overload. But she’s home. In her own surroundings, eating real non-hospital food. Thank you to everyone who has brought us dinners – you have no idea how much your gesture has blessed us!
All during this journey I’ve asked God to show me where He is in this mess. And He is. Loudly. And I’m so glad that He’s speaking to me in such a loud voice because I’m scared that I’d miss it completely otherwise! Every time we feel like we’ve hit a bump, God uses a friend to show us the way. From finding her a rehab facility to go to, to finding a hospice that we felt comfortable with, to bringing her home. He’s working through a lot of people, using everyone and everything preparing a way for us. He’s even brought a dear friend back into our lives as Momma’s hospice nurse.
Today we went through the “comfort care package” from hospice. I never knew anything like that existed, much less that we would have to know what to do with its contents. Liquid morphine, Tylenol suppositories, Ativan, eye drops for the death rattle – her nurse says we will know it when we hear it. It’s all just too much. Too soon. We thought we had at least a year and were hoping for so much more.
The funeral planning has also begun. Most of the songs have been picked out. Many decisions made. Many more to make. I know that it’ll make it easier for when the time comes for all of this to be done but in the meantime…..
There are many private moments and conversations that I have with my mommy that I’d like to keep just for myself, but one that I will share happened just the other night. Daddy had left to run to the store and mommy grabbed my hand and wanted to add another song to her ever-growing list and said, “I don’t want to leave you.”
“I don’t want you to leave me either but I don’t want to see you suffer.”
“I’m scared that I’ll be alone.”
“But you won’t be Mommy. You’ll see your mommy and daddy again and you’ll have Jesus….you’ll have Jesus.”
“But getting there I’ll be all alone!”
“No mommy, He’ll hold your hand the whole way there. And once you grab his hand you’ll be happy and you’ll want to go with him and you won’t miss us like you do here on earth. You’re gonna be home. You’re real home. Remember, we’re just visiting here?”
“Yeah. I know. Okay.”
Lots of hugs and kisses and tears were shared too. Lots. And what struck me and stung my heart was that was same conversation we would have when I was a little girl when I’d wake in the middle of the night panicking because I was scared of dying. And she would hold me and comfort me and remind me….to breathe. And now here we are. I’m the one holding her. Comforting her instead of her comforting me.
She loved me into this world, now it’s my turn to love her out. But how do you do that when all you want is to cling to her and not let her go?
Breathe Tina, just remember to breathe….
“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” ~ Psalm 23