Months To Years Spring 2018 Months To Years Spring 2018 - Page 51

fine ,” before this , it simply hadn ’ t been true for months . Her whole demeanor improved as she found relief , and so we , too , were relieved .
Then as the days progressed , my mother ’ s pain relief needs progressively would not fit the dosage schedule , especially in those dark nights . She was no longer communicative , and there had been regular incidents where it appeared she was close to death , but her heart would then rally . We were on a slow roller coaster that struggled through the lowering valleys . At this point , I was referring constantly to a booklet on the signs of imminent death , and more symptoms seemed to be matching up . I was hoping for the end to it all as the rallies were tough going , and although I felt reconciled with this , it did concern me that I not seem calloused to others , as I asked the nurses about symptoms I was noticing . No , not wanting to hasten my mother ’ s leaving , but yes , wanting her to be free of the late-night turnings which caused deep semi-conscious groans , the grimaces of the half-hour before the next drug dose took effect , from other unexpressed discomforts I had to imagine were underlying everything in this end-stage . When the case manager told me the drug used to facilitate her breathing was also possibly prodding her heart beyond its natural strengths and artificially pushing her back from the brink , we discussed it not being necessary any longer , as she was no longer in a fully conscious state . That evening I asked that it not be administered and the nurse , after my insistence , did comply . My mother began to visibly fade from then on .
This is what it looked like : generally , she became more drawn through the face , her hands remained elegant — even more so in their weakness as I held them — cool as they were . They darkened with a bluish cast that grew up her arms , the same with her feet and ankles , which the hospice nurses dutifully monitored . Her breathing became increasingly irregular , and although she appeared to be sound asleep , there was a more profound stillness about her . For the whole twelve days of my stay I watched her like a tense mom with a first-born , unfamiliar and trying to learn what each wince , sigh , or startle could mean .
The last day , six to eight of us were gathered at any given time in her small room and she was so still that no one felt comfortable leaving , as we all sensed her death was close . In the habit of our large clan , my siblings were joking and their spouses were laughing along , just carrying on as usual , in that unusual realm , buoying each other up . It was too much , too noisy for me after a while , so I just sat by my mom and watched her . My hospice stay had made me overwrought , I knew , so I just disengaged rather than rudely shush everyone . Finally , by ten that evening , they all headed home , and the quiet was palpable and a balm . I made sure my mother was comfortable and read my book – what was I reading ? I don ’ t remember any longer - I was skimming and re-skimming the whole stay anyway . Then her breathing caught , and I leaned over her to watch it catch twice more , followed by a long full sigh when her last breath left her body . I waited a few moments and saw she was completely still . I kissed her cheek and said I loved her . I think I said goodbye even though she didn ’ t like that word . Years of raising adventurous children , she didn ’ t want to say that final word as we flew off to parts unknown , but now it was time . With no more urgency , I rang for the nurse .
The beat of my mother ’ s heart was the last thing the nurse monitored , as it faded slowly into its final stillness that last day of June . I watched her listen and then nod . I imagined the waning pulse of that strong heart I knew first and longest , and then my vigil was over , having attained its purpose . My mother was not alone in the end and no matter how hard , there was nowhere else I ’ d rather have been .
Laurie Floyd is a writer and freelance teacher living in Las Cruces , New Mexico . She was born and raised in Detroit , Michigan . She has lived in many cities including : East Lansing , Belmont , San Mateo , San Francisco , New York , Fort Lee , Ann Arbor , Dexter , and Helsinki . She obtained a bachelor ’ s degree in writing from Columbia University and a master ’ s degree in writing from Eastern Michigan University . Laurie and her dog Scout are a reading assistance team and so enjoy listening to local kids read stories aloud . She has recently finished a novel based on based on her great-grandmother ’ s emigration from Sweden , as featured on her website : lauriefloyd . com
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fine,” before this, it simply hadn’t been true for months. Her felt comfortable leaving, as we all sensed her death was whole demeanor improved as she found relief, and so we, close. In the habit of our large clan, my siblings were joking too, were relieved. and their spouses were laughing along, just carrying on Then as the days progressed, my mother’s pain relief needs progressively would not fit the dosage schedule, especially in those dark nights. She was no longer com- municative, and there had been regular incidents where it appeared she was close to death, but her heart would then rally. We were on a slow roller coaster that struggled through the lowering valleys. At this point, I was referring constantly to a booklet on the signs of imminent death, and more symptoms seemed to be matching up. I was hoping for the end to it all as the rallies were tough going, and although I felt reconciled with this, it did concern me that I not seem calloused to others, as I asked the nurses about symptoms I was noticing. No, not wanting to hasten my mother’s leaving, but yes, wanting her to be free of the late-night turnings which caused deep semi-conscious groans, the grimaces of the half-hour before the next drug dose took effect, from other unexpressed discomforts I had to imagine were underlying everything in this end-stage. as usual, in that unusual realm, buoying each other up. It was too much, too noisy for me after a while, so I just sat by my mom and watched her. My hospice stay had made me overwrought, I knew, so I just disengaged rather than rudely shush everyone. Finally, by ten that evening, they all headed hom RBFRVWBv2&RB&ऒFR7W&RגFW"v26f'F&RB&VBא&( 2vBv2&VFsF( B&VV&W"vW v26֖rB&R6֖rFRvR7FvFVW"'&VFr6VvBBVVBfW"W"FvF6B6F6Gv6R&RfvVB'rgV6vvVW 7B'&VFVgBW"&GvFVBfWrVG2@6r6Rv26WFVǒ7F76VBW"6VVB6BfVBW"F6BvF'RWfVFVv6RFF( @ƖRFBv&BV'2b&6rGfVGW&W26G&V6PFF( BvBF6FBfv&B2vRfWrfbF'G0Vv'WBrBv2FRvF&RW&vV7&rf"FRW'6RvVFR66RvW"FBRFRG'VrW6VBFf6FR&VBbגFW.( 2V'Bv2FR7BFrFPFFRW"'&VFrv2676&ǒ&FFrW"V'BW'6RF&VB2BfFVB6vǒFG2f7FW70&WBG2GW&7G&VwF2B'Ff6ǒW6rW"FB7BFbVRvF6VBW"Ɨ7FVBFVB&6g&FR'&vRF67W76VBBB&VrV6W76'vVBFRvrV6RbFB7G&rV'BWrf'7@vW"26Rv2vW"gVǒ666W27FFRBvW7BBFVגfvv2fW"frGFV@FBWfVr6VBFBBB&RF֖7FW&VBBFRG2W'6RגFW"v2BRFRVBBW'6RgFW"ג67FV6RFB6ǒגFW"&VvGFW"r&BFW&Rv2vW&RV6R( B&FW"fPFf6&ǒfFRg&FV&VVF22vBBVBƖSvVW&ǒ6R&V6R&PG&vF&VvFRf6RW"G2&VVBVVvN( @WfV&R6FV"vVW722VBFV( F62W&RfB2w&FW"Bg&VV6RFV6W"Ɨfr0FWvW&RFWF&VVBvF&V667BFBw&WrW7'V6W2WrW66Rv2&&B&6VBFWG&BW"&2FR6RvFW"fVWBBW2v6FR֖6v6R2ƗfVB6FW26VFsV7@76RW'6W2GWFgVǒF&VBW"'&VFr&V6R6r&VB6FV6g&666Wr&7&V6vǒ'&VwV"BFVv6RV&VBF&Rf'BVR&&"FWFW"BV6涒6R'FV@6VB6VWFW&Rv2&R&fVB7FW72&WB&6V.( 2FVw&VRw&Frg&6V&VfW'6GW"f"FRvRGvVfRF2bג7FvF6VBW"B7FW.( 2FVw&VRw&Frg&V7FW&֖6vƖRFV6RvFf'7B&&Vf֖Ɩ"BG'rFVfW'6GW&RBW"Fr66WB&R&VFr762ЦV&vBV6v6R6v"7F'FR6VBVF6RFVB6VƗ7FVrF6G2&VB7F&W0FR7BF6FVvBbW2vW&RvFW&VBBvfVFRW"6&B6Rv267FFBPVB6R2&V6VFǒf6VBfV&6VB&6V@W"w&VBw&FFW.( 2V֖w&Fg&7vVFV0fVGW&VBW"vV'6FSW&VfB6УS