I did it my way…

A week ago today hospice told us that Momma had entered the transition phase. Her body is preparing for death and her spirit is preparing for its journey Home. Last Rites were administered and the family was called to come and say their goodbyes. And now, we sit and hold her hand. Whisper “I love you’s” in her ear. Kiss her on the forehead. And wait. And remember all the good times. All of them. Because that’s the only way we can do this.

Can I call a time-out on all of this? Surely you know God what control freaks we all are and yet we have no control over Glioblastoma?

I remember when I was pregnant with Haley I began having panic attacks about the whole birthing process. So about two months before my due date I decided that I wasn’t going to give birth and she would just have to stay in my tummy. And that was that. I was in complete denial. Right up until the moment that they sent me in to be induced. But I showed them. After 36 hours of laboring I still wasn’t dilated so an emergency c-section was done. There was no way I was pushing a baby out of me. The McDonald’s have a strong will about them. We like to do things our way. Sometimes it turns out good and other times it backfires on us.

The fear of not having control can be so suffocating. I feel like if I hand over my control I’m also handing over my mom. How can I give up someone who I love so much? How will I be able to go on and raise my kids without her advice? How will we be able to celebrate without her? I don’t know how to do this. I don’t want to do this.

But I know in my heart I’ve got to. Give it up. Let it Go.

Lord, give us the strength and the courage to do the hard.

And that’s what we’ve been working on this past week, letting go and giving Mommy the permission she needs from us to let go too. I’ve never done anything harder in my life until I told my mom yesterday that she didn’t have to fight anymore and assured her that we’d take care of each other. That it was okay for her to grab Jesus’ hand and go with him. We would be okay. And in time we will.

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Everyone’s journey Home is different. The nurses keep telling us what to watch for but as you know we don’t follow the textbook guidelines. And just as she’s done all her life, Momma will do this in her own way – as she should. Can’t you just hear Frank Sinatra singing “My Way” through all of this?

But I also love the way my Daddy looks at it….”Jesus is still preparing her room in His house.” And that makes me smile. Oh, yes He is.

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen ~ BCP

Just breathe…..

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