Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Last night I spoke to my sister, who said that she'd gotten a call from my uncle (Mom's brother). When he called Mom, she told him she'd be leaving the hospital today, and he wondered if she was going to a nursing home.

I called this morning. The aide held the phone up to Mom's ear so I could talk to her, and I could hear her breathing, but she didn't respond to my repeated, "I love you." I trust that she heard me, though. Then the aide gave the phone to Mom's nurse, who confirmed that there are no plans to transfer her anywhere.

I wonder now, as I did last night, if she was really telling her brother that she's going to die today.

In the meantime, hospice will be coming in for an assessment today or tomorrow and will talk to my sister, who'll talk to me. Somewhere in there, I hope to get an indication of when I should fly back. For a number of reasons, I'd like to be able to wait until next week, but that may not be possible.

Meanwhile, I need to bring Fran boxes and help her get ready to leave on Saturday (when I may need to drive her to the airport, although she could take a cab if she had to).

And Dad now says that he hasn't made any definite decision about assisted living, although I thought he had. I'm going to try to connect with his home healthcare team in the next day or two to see if he can stay by himself for any length of time, especially if I'm in Philly, or would have to go to a nursing home until we could get him into assisted living.

This is a crazy time, but at the moment, I'm at peace. I've gone through many other emotions, and will no doubt experience them again, but it's good to know that peace is possible! This morning when I woke up I felt buoyed, as if the prayers of everyone who's thinking about us were bright balloons holding me up. And feeding the cats this morning, I remembered bringing Harley home from the shelter as a tiny, indignant kitten. Mom was visiting and had come with me -- although she'd waited in the car, because shelters make her too sad -- and she held the carrier on her lap, with her hand inside to comfort him, the whole way home.

It helps me now to picture her being comforted by the hand of God as she makes her own journey. The nurse told me she's "still ornery," so maybe she's as indignant as Harley was. But he found a loving new home, and I have to believe that she will, too.

The sun's back out today after several cloudy, rainy days. That helps. I keep thinking about that condolence card I've seen, the one about how when the candle's blown out, it doesn't mean that darkness has won: it means that the sun is rising.

I'm sure I'll have plenty of times of raging at these cliches (which seem a bit pat to me even now, when they're working) but one takes the comfort one can when one can.

Oh, and I've decided to try volunteering at the hospital on Saturday mornings, although I'm not a morning person, and am scheduled to go back on 2/21.

Thanks so much to everyone who's left comments.


  1. Susan, I'm so glad that you are feeling at peace and remembering happy images of your mother! Volunteering on Saturday sounds great! Hope you'll have time to post a report on how the shift went. In the meantime, prayers, energy, and calm are being sent for you and your loved ones.


  2. Anonymous3:40 PM

    Susan, I echo Lee's comments.


  3. Prayers definitely being raised here. We often think that, even when folks can't answer, they can hear and be comforted by loving words in a familiar voice. So I am sure you did your Mom some good. Yes, I think comfort where one finds it--and that will be different on different days, and some days may be impossible to find--and then other days will come.

  4. I'm so glad that you have had an uplift in mood and feelings. You are certainly having a busy time with everything happening at once! Do try to have some time for yourself, it can be difficult when you're surrounded by other people's needs. Pamper yourself a little - some chocolate perhaps? Best wishes from sunny Liverpool.

  5. You and your family are in my prayers.

  6. Anonymous7:46 PM

    I read this to my Mom this morning. She is here to help me with a scary move -- she is retirement age and still young and frisky and working and I am 40 and disabled and sickly but must move house (and cats!) into a new apartment. We both wept as I read it because your feeling of relief at a scary major life change that can only end in God''s hands is so familiar to us right now. When God is your only option, his arms suddenly feel WONDERFUL. We prayed for you, and me, and our country, knowing that he has always had every one of us cradled in his arms, but feeling blest by your words that helped us savor the feeling.

    Thank you. God bless you and your family.


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