As we have for weeks now mom and I are sitting together in a room in a hospital. Stuff is packed, arrangements made, logistical needs met, we’ll soon be leaving this hospital for the last time together.
I’ve given my whole self to being with mom this past month. Now as the minutes tick away I reflect back on the time here.
We came into this building frustrated that her doctor would not do anything to solve her problems. Her new doctors, all staff physicians, were exemplary. They tried very hard to get her over her stomach trouble. We all knew the cancer was lurking. She underwent surgery, left ICU in a psychotic state, cycled through ICU again and then came back to us in mind. The surgery wound healed but the surgeon removed her staples with a very sad countenance. The effort failed.
The family had to look her rapid decline in the eye. We brought her down here to inpatient Hospice. Here she’s been slowly loosing strength, wakening in spurts and sleeping longer and longer. I watch her drink and drink and it all run out the tube. She jumps up and says she’s falling, side effect of her medications. She sleeps.
Family has come and gone. My kids, wife, brother, sisters, a parade. My brother stayed most of the time too. A rotation of nurses, a kindly faced doctor, aids, all passing through. No old friends and that’s very sad.
Noon. I just finished up my last complimentary meal. I have socks on and shoes instead of slippers. All mom’s pictures and things are gone. the room is bare as it was when we arrived. Was that just a week ago? Seems like a lifetime.
The chaplain came in and ask if I’d gone anywhere. I told him I think I have but can’t remember where. He prayed for her.
Life is weird. I’m a grungy, unkept guy who has gotten very little sleep, lived on hospital food and shared a thousand moments here as mom wants nothing more than to go home. As we wait for our ride I think that I’m going to miss this place. Weird.
Maybe I just don’t want it to be over. I know what is coming and I don’t want to be there for it. Even so, I want to be there, too, that last goodbye in mom’s home where she can rest at last from a very, very long journey.
I think I might cry now. What else is new?
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