Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Spunky to the End
My mother, Beulah, has been known all her life for her sharp wit and spunkiness. These have both served her well since she has, for over fifty years now, also suffered with the painful, debilitating disease known as rheumatoid arthritis. Over all these years dad, has been at her side, her constant faithful caregiver and companion. (We all think of him as Saint John.)
Now mom is in her last days. She is at home and dad is still giving her amazing care. I had planned to save this post to do as a sort of tribute after she goes home to heaven, but due to the events of the past forty-eight hours, I want to post it now.
Sunday morning dad called and mom had not awakened. This is how we expect the end to come, so we thought we were at the beginning of the end. As I stood in the shower trying to decide how to reorder my day, the phone rang again and mom had awakened and was wanting to get up for breakfast.
I headed to church and my responsibilities there while hubby went to sit with my parents. At some point in the morning, having not heard from any of them, I phoned Greg and he told me that she was up and asking for a T-bone steak!!!!! Now, this is a woman who has dwindled down to less than 70 pounds and has only been taking tiny bites of food for weeks on end. She wanted a T-bone steak, so my brother-in-law ran out and got one and they prepared it for her. She mulled one bite of it around in her mouth.
When I arrived after church, she was sleeping a lot and unaware of most of what was going on around her, but she was obviously not headed to heaven that day.
Monday morning at 10:15 my phone rang again. This time dad said she was still in bed, hadn't had anything to drink nor had she been to the bathroom since 9 PM on Sunday. I got over to their house by 12:30 and my sister, who lives an hour away, arrived by about 3:30.
All day we waited with dad. We talked, made plans, and took turns checking on mom. Dad "turned the corner" in his mind and began putting away the cushions he has so faithfully used to keep her comfortable when she is up. All day she lay, mostly unmoving, on her back, her paper-thin skin drawn over her skeleton, her breathing erratic: shallow fluttering breaths followed by a gasp followed by long moments of no breathing at all.
Her pastors came, prayed over her, blessed her, said good-bye.
My sister had planned to stay the night, so after 7 PM I headed home, fully expecting to hear this morning that the battle was over.
At 8:15 this morning I talked with my sister, Pam, on the phone. She said,
"You're not going to believe this."
Incredulous I said, "Mom didn't die."
She said, "Not only didn't she die, but listen to this, you aren't going to believe it. At some point in the night, between 1 and 2 AM she asked for a drink. Dad fixed her some orange juice. She drank it and revived enough to begin a conversation with him. I heard her laughing. At some point she looked at dad and said, 'I'm pretty alive for a dead woman, aren't I?'"
At some later time she pointed out to dad that he could get in trouble for pronouncing her dead without a doctor - - - so evidently she was much more aware yesterday than any of us knew.
This morning she got up, ate some breakfast, and at last word was back sitting in her recliner waiting for the hospice nurse to come.
Do not ask me HOW she has done this. I am beyond being able to explain the resilience of my mother. Like the title of this post, she is spunky to the end!!!
Posted by Keetha Broyles at 9:24 AM
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My heart goes out to you. Having traveled that path I know about the roller coaster of emotions and trying to deal with it all. You and yours will remain in my prayers and in my thoughts.
Love to you all.
And this roller coaster is NO amusement park, is it!?
I am sitting here with tears running down my face...tears of joy!!! Now I understand Greg's comment..."she hasn't lost her sense of humor"!!!
These are memories that will help heal the heartache later on.
Aw, still praying for you all as you come to mind. But I have to admit I laughed right out loud when I read her response to all that's going on around her. What a woman!
Reminds us of how precious life is.
We've joked about my FIL never dying "when we were just counting on it", but then he's never been THAT close.
God, eveidently, still has plans for her!
I told Mom this morning that she'll outlive us all!
God's best, whatever and whenever it may be.
WOw....Unfortunately, this didn't suprise me! After working in hospice, I'm not sure anything suprises me at the end of life! I often had people wake up from a nap and ask why they are still here. Or have a full meal, ask for the family to come, get up and walk around, and within a half an hour, be on the other side!
I also laughed out loud when i read your mom's comment to your dad! They hear eVERYTHING we are saying! It's truly amazing. may God continue to sustain her, your dad, and the rest of your family during this time! You are loved!
she's pretty amazing...
I had to go in and ask my boss for time off for a funeral (mama's dad), they had the day & time all set - except he hadn't passed yet! There were family complications due to an upcoming mission trip, so they tried to "coordinate" his death & funeral. fortunately, he made it just in the nick of time for his own funeral!
Thanks everybody for your kind comments!!!
LOL Papa - - - my dad has "plans" in place for mom's funeral and I think she is GOING to outlive his plans for sure!!!
Thanks for the update, Keetha. I've been wondering how your mom was doing. Still praying for you all.
Keetha, that's just what we experienced with Russell's daddy. One night he told us goodbye and that he was going to heaven. He said everything he wanted to say to us, then kept saying "say goodnight now, my ride to heaven is coming." The next morning when I got there, he said "I tried my best to die last nite!" ....he lived over a week more and ate until the day he died. We miss him, but heaven is such a better home. Your dad will be very lonely and will need a lot of TLC in the coming weeks and months.
My prayers are with you and my heart feels your pain!
Keetha-I was just thinking about your mom and your family. Thanks for the update. I know this must be an emotionally draining week. Thinking of you!
What a touching story. I'm sure these will be cherished memories for you in the future. It was nine years ago today that my mother passed away. Praise God for memories. All of you will be in my prayers. Gwen from "up north"
Keetha, my grandparents are so similar. Grandpa would get sick and be in the hospital. All the ¨Kids¨ would travel home for goodbyes. Grandpa would pull through and say,¨I had to live for your mother. She wouldn´t know what to do without me.¨ Same thing with Grandma. She wouldn´t die because Grandpa needed her!
Between the two of them, we had lots of ¨close calls,¨ from heart attacks to strokes! Grandpa finally did pass away at the beginning of this year. Grandma is still holding on, but we don´t know how much longer she has. I just think to myself, ¨What amazing people!¨
Thankfully, they both know Jesus, and Grandpa is now with him. When Grandma decides to go, she´ll join them!
Gwen Graham - - - PLEASE, if you find this return comment, e-mail me again. I accidentally erased your e-mail and I want to contact you.
Wow! What a woman! And what a God we have!
Her spunkiness reminds me of someone else I know....hummm...who could it be?
My prayers are with your family.
I know who she reminds you of!!!! KORIE!!!
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