My mother slipped last week into a hypo-active delirium; she decided to stop eating and drinking. It all happened rather suddenly, and her physician thought it might have been precipitated by the flu shot. At first, I was angry, wanting to know what had happened to cause this decline. Then I realized it didn’t matter. What matters now is helping her have a comfortable end-of-life.
Sometimes the universe conspires in wondrous ways, and I had recently been reading about the various ways that people with Alzheimer’s can suffer in their final months/weeks/days. Although it’s incredibly hard to witness in someone you love, when the body shuts down, it’s not the worst thing; in fact, it is considered one of the more humane exits for us mere mortals, given our limited control over these matters. In any case, just knowing this gave me comfort. As if my mother has, indeed, chosen this — and will thus (and hopefully) not be challenged with pneumonia, aspiration, or other late-stage complications. I know I’m rationalizing, I’m aware of that, on some level. It’s how we survive grief.
The range of emotions I am experiencing right now is astonishing. Love is a very, very complex energy. I cling tight to its positive flow, and I will cling to and embrace these final moments with my beautiful, strong, brave Mother, who has been my hero and my champion for these past three years and, for that matter, my entire life.
The family will help my father navigate the coming days. He’s going to need a lot of support. My older sister has arrived from out-of-town. I’m a bundle of nerves and sadness and yearning and angst, but ready to take this on, with my big heart on my sleeve and a Kleenex tucked up it (in honour of my mother, who was always magically producing tissues from her clothing, her pocket or her purse, whenever someone was in need.)
We welcome your positive thoughts and loving energy at this time, and for all family members in a similar situation with their loved ones, please know that my thoughts are with you, too.