Friday, the 23rd my Mother slipped away at around 7:30 in the evening. She went as she wanted, at home looking out the window at Flathead Lake. She had been out of it most of Thursday ~ while I was making travel arrangements for myself and my “tribe” to get there. Alas, that was not to be. She passed away while most of us were in Salt Lake City awaiting the next leg of the trip. While I was saddened, it was NOT a time of mourning. She was 94 years young, and had been desiring to go home for some time.
She was walking the dog on (I believe) the 9th of November and because she had been told not to ~ she took some concrete steps to the house. As near as we can tell she lost her balance and fell down at least 8 of them, landing on her head on the concrete pad. Fortunately, she had an alert bracelet that she managed to press – in spite of a broken arm and a broken shoulder below the rotor cuff.
R & L were on their way down when the alert people called them and also told them they had dispatched an ambulance. Everyone arrived within about 10 minutes of the fall. R had called me and I actually got to talk to Mom on the stretcher. Of course, her reactions were very typical of my Mom. She was telling R to stop crying, and all she would say to me on the cell phone was “I can’t talk right now!” All I told her was that I wanted to say I loved her.
While in the ER, she was ready to go home, they were not sure what they were going to do but she was one determined lady. They wrote a prescription for pain pills and she started to get up to leave. She decided that because she was dizzy and everything now had started to hurt, she would stay overnight. That was sadly, her last independent moment. While she was in the hospital that night, she had what they classified as a moderate stroke. So now, she was dealing with the pain and having a terrible time talking. Not a very good combination for those who were taking care of her, trust me on that one!
With a lot of negotiation (OK, some fits were thrown as well) they moved her on the 13th to an intensive rehabilitation center. Mom knew that this was the ONLY way she was going to be allowed to go home. However…again however, she was NOT prepared for 1) the work she was going to have to do or 2) the people that would be there. I had called Mom twice a day for over two years, and I even had to get into the act of getting her to 1) “play” nice and 2) cooperate with everyone. I can and always will understand her frustration, but I eventually began to realize where this was going ~ even if I didn’t want to admit it!! (Who wants to admit anything like that?)
Things seemed to be going well at the rehab center, when Mom had another mini-stroke. At that point rehab felt they had done all they could there and that Mom needed to be home with therapy coming to see her. Hospice took over on the 19th. At this point there was no longer any fantasy about her recovery. The hospital bed was in the living room so that she would be able to see her beloved Flathead Lake and perchance see the lights across the lake going up the mountain. On Wednesday the 21st, they awoke her to do one of the every two hour moves every early. They sat her up and cleaned her face with a washcloth and then R said: “look Barb, the lights across the lake!!” She had an enormous grin on her face and laid back down. I did get to talk “at” her that day. . . the last living conversation I was to have with her. She was awake occasionally that day, the mind was there ~ but all ability to talk was gone. On the 23rd she was awake only once. Her breathing was somewhat labored, and twice stopped. The at 7:30pm the 23rd of November, my Mother slipped out of her earthly shell and found herself at her new “home” where she had wanted to be for a long long time.
~ more later in the week