Josie Dee Reynolds McClain and Brenda at wedding in Iowa.
I’m sharing something really personal today, part of my AUTHENTIC GRACE quest. I wrote this in my Mother’s last days.
As I move forward I do not want to forget this experience. It has been life-changing.
My days are good, I’m doing work I love and planning a trip to Italy. Yet I don’t want to ever forget this time I had, so intimate with my beloved Mother. I know others are going through much of the same thing and I want them to know I UNDERSTAND. Only those caregivers/family who have actually been through this can know these feelings so well.
My posts WILL for the most part be positive — but I want you to know My heart. It is my AUTHENTIC GRACE. It is the Heart of the MATTER.
Close to the End:
“My arms are not cold,” she says as I rub her ice cold arms, she says my hands are cold and do I need a blanket?
Still worried about me, even tho she is bed ridden, sleeps most of the day and stays disoriented much of the time. Today she had me get her wallet because she thought my Dad might need some money. He died in 1994.
She still wonders if she is home. I tell her, as do my sisters and our loving caregivers that she is home, home, home. We say it endlessly, we want her to know that yes, she is home and we are all doing well and we just want her to be okay. When we say our prayers at night she asks me if I’ve included our caregivers, I tell her of course I have.
I hold back tears, because she will worry if she sees me crying. She knows I love her and she’s told me over and over I’ve done a wonderful job taking care of her. That’s been my goal. No, it’s not been easy.
I am scared the journey is ending and I’m scared it’s not. The Mother I’ve known is only here in moments now, she still has her sense of humor, and she still has that sincerity when she tells our neighbor, Paris to be safe and take care of her children on their upcoming trip to California. Her manners are intact, and she worries if I don’t offer guests a beverage. But mostly she is already someplace else.
So now, for the last weeks I sleep beside her. She asked last week if I could just get in bed with her – so I now have two twin beds side-by-side so that when she needs to or I need to we hold hands. My sisters come and take my place from time-to-time and I am grateful.
I NEVER expected to be in this situation. I’ve never married, single and living with my Mother. Really? REALLY. In fact, I was the one who pshawed (sp) those who DID live with their Mothers. Why? Why? Yet, here I am and so, so grateful that I have been privileged to care for her.
I used to stay I would be ‘fine’ when she passed, but I didn’t expect to be so in love with this person, who has also become my best friend.
Now, I wonder how my heart will ever recover, sleeping beside someone, waking up to see if they’ve quit breathing. Night after night after night for the last year and 1/2 now, it’s my hourly ritual. I can’t sleep even tho’ she does, because I worry if she’s okay.
Yesterday I took a quick trip to Kroger and I was crying by the time I left, thinking of what I would not be buying (for her) anymore. Of course it didn’t’ help that the Prince Street Kroger bag-boy left in the middle of sacking my groceries and didn’t come back. So, as I continued to complete bagging my groceries, I cried. “Doesn’t he know my Mother is dying?” I wanted to scream. LOUD.
I feel like everyone needs to know this really terrific woman is almost gone from my site, never my heart and mind. I also wonder how those who have lost their spouse do it? I don’t know if my heart could take that kind of death.
I will soon find out. And I will go on. I know it, I feel it, but I am at my core devastated.