I hope she is in a better place now.
These past few days I really had to push myself to see her. Because while she was there in body, she was not present. They upped her morphine to 4x daily, so that probably accounted for some of it. It's been very difficult to see her like that.
Yesterday, I nearly didn't go, but then I asked myself how I would feel if she passed that day, and I knew it would upset me if I hadn't seen her. So, remembering what a staff nurse told me, that hearing is the last sense to go, but against the advice of the hospice nurse, I went back again yesterday. I just kept telling her how much I loved her, that she had lived a wonderful life, that everything was going to be okay, and that I would continue to exhibit her work. I don't know if she was aware of my presence at some subconscious level.
I left there around 2:30 pm and about an hour later, I got a call from Masonicare telling me she'd passed.
I am feeling a mixture of relief, sadness, regret, loss, pain, panic and dread of living the rest of my life without my mother. Relieved... the last time she told me I love you back, it was maybe 5 days ago, and it was hard for her to get the words out. It was like she had a mouthful of cotton. I believe she was losing the ability to speak and form words, and even without much memory, that must have been very frightening.
I called my sister first, and without rancor told her, as gently as I could, that Mom was gone and that I would let her know the details of the funeral as soon as I had them. She didn't have much to say, nor did she offer to help -- I didn't ask. Then I called my dad and the funeral director. I emailed the monument guy so he had the end date for the stone. I spoke to my mother's two cousins and traded emails with a third. I sent out several group emails I'd composed a week or so ago informing friends, fellow artists and patrons of the arts of mom's passing, using names I'd culled from her address books.
It was difficult to tell a casual acquaintance from a close friend, but hopefully I included everyone who was important to her. I got a few Christmas cards yesterday from old friends in Jersey which had been delayed because they were sent to her old address. I found their numbers in the phone books and called both, explaining what happened. I called a few friends of my own.
While no one seemed to know she had Alzheimers, a few said they thought something might be wrong because my mother hadn't sent a Christmas card the year before or if she had, she only signed it without including a newsy message.
After the initial shock, I find that I am not falling apart as I imagined I would. Truth be told, I've been mentally preparing for this day for weeks. I've cried daily for many weeks, often on the ride home from Masonicare, and it would take me a full day to recover some semblance of normalcy, only to return the next day and repeat the process. In an effort to hold my mother close to me, I've been wearing her clothes and her jewelry for some time now. I know the tears will return but for now I am just sad. Keeping busy has always been my antidote to pain.
I emailed my 2 managers at work, and someone I was supposed to interview tomorrow for a case study, letting them now I'll be out until probably mid- next week. Most people are out this week anyway, extending the holiday season.
I am still trying to get a hold of the Lutheran pastor here to see if he can do a service. It will be limited to family, and that means probably just 3 of us, including my dad and sister. Not sure my sister will come; she has a history of avoiding unpleasant situations, but I think my dad will, to support us. I sure hope so.
I have to meet with the funeral director this afternoon to sign some paperwork, and before that I want to clean out my mother's room at the nursing home. I don't have to do it today, but I want to get it over with. And say goodbye to some favorite staff, if they're around. I hope to stop at the florist and decide on some floral arrangements. I want the obituary to appear in the papers before the funeral, but not have too long a delay, so am hoping for a Saturday or Monday funeral at latest. Friday being a holiday sort of messes things up.
Mom is gone
I hope she is in a better place now.