I've been thinking a lot about the beauty of life in all it's phases, even the one that sucks. My mom, Jojo, is now in hospice care. I had to learn what that meant and it scared the hooey out of me at first. But now I understand that it is as much about living as well as possible, for as long as possible, as it is about dying a peaceful dignified death. It's about family coming together to enable her to leave this world feeling peace and love. I've learned about the physical part and the emotional-spiritual release part, but you are never prepared and it still scares the hooey outta me.
Jojo, who has always been the boss of this clan from the great-grands to her husband, (who will be just pitiful), are all trying to carry on as normal as if this is not hanging over us.
My mother is feisty and smart as all hell and thinks she's a comedian and never lets us forget she's still the mom. She decided for her third go around with cancer, that she wanted no more chemo and was inexplicably calm and brave. "Let whatever's going to happen, happen", she said. Now, she is doing so well, it's confused her, made her anxious and fearful. We and the hospice social worker determined when talking to her that she may have been ready but now she doesn't feel like she's going anywhere. After being assured that it was perfectly OK to feel fine, and normal to have anxieties, she is better. She still gets anxious more quickly than usual and we still have to assure her that it's OK that she's not in pain or feel like she's dying. Of course she doesn't know what that feels like. Is it agony or warm and comfortable? Confusion. She said she woke up feeling so "warm and comfortable" she thought something was "sneaking up on her". To which my sister Marcia, quickly replied, "yeah that was me". This got her some rolled eyes. Mom had been uncomfortable and in pain, so now with the pain patch and other adjustments, she is feeling pretty good. But with all her calm bravery in deciding to enter hospice, she is scared. We are too.
Monica's mom had a stroke in February and died in May. But, she was not awake and communicating. So, I tell you friends, I've never gone through anything like this before and I know it will get more intense to say the least.
It's remarkable how in these situations everyone does (or does not) do their part, how wounds heal or are opened. My sister has been wonderful. I can feel an old closeness returning in our working together for our mom. We are quite different people and have many issues. We are working through some and around some, but feeling an old, or is it a new appreciation for each other. That's a gift. So, I am trying to count the gifts in this here situation and it gets hard sometimes. Thank goodness my family is so full of tricksters and comics. Jojo being the main one.