Monday, February 20, 2017

Coming Home to Die

Three years ago today, my mother came home to die.  Nine days prior
she suffered a massive stroke from which it was determined she would
never recover.  After the stroke, I refused to accept that she would not
recover.  I held on to every hope despite the palliative care physician's 
prognosis.  He sat with me many times during those nine days she
spent in the hospital, telling me about his wife who had just lost her
own mother.  I know he was trying to be kind, but I just didn't really
want to hear what he had to say.  He didn't know the woman my 
mother was.  He didn't know her strength and will to live.

I stayed with her all day every day during her hospital stay.
She couldn't speak.  She showed no signs of recognizing me or
where she was or whoever else came into the room.  For 
nine days she lay motionless with her only nourishment from
the saline IV drip spiked with morphine.

I talked to her.  I told her about current events.  I chatted about
everything except what was happening.  I couldn't accept the
impending death, so I chose not to talk about it.

Of course, I could not deny the truth forever and her
doctor told me that I must prepare for the end and either 
take her home or choose a nursing home for her final days.
Hospice would be there to help me.  I chose to bring her home.

I had not noticed that the azaleas had begun to bloom.  I was
living in such shock that nothing around me made sense nor
seemed important.  I went home to prepare her room.  A hospital
bed was being delivered along with an oxygen canister.  

The ambulance arrived at 4:00 pm followed by the hospice
nurse.  My mama was home at last.  It would be her last
twelve hours on this earth.  She passed away at 4:00 am on
February 21, 2014.

The days following her passing were dark and cloudy, much like
it is today.  While I didn't notice that the azaleas were blooming, I
could see that the leaves of our big Live Oak trees were falling 
like rain all over our property.  It was as though those
giant ancient trees were weeping.  

The last three years have been tough ones.  Mom and Daddy are both 
gone and my beloved Aunt Susan is too.  I have been forced to live in
a new world without my anchors.  

My pain is no longer as raw as it once was.  I have accepted my fate.

The leaves on the big old Live Oaks are starting to shed once
again.  New growth will follow.  We had a few days of a hard
freeze back in January and our beautiful ornamental ginger 
had to be cut down to 6 inches off the ground.  My caladiums
suffered too and only a couple of lonely little plants remain.
Next month I will plant new bulbs.  Our azaleas have begun to
bloom and in a few days they will be ablaze with their pretty
pink blossoms.  

I have been working out in the gardens, getting ready for spring
and telling Mom and Daddy about my garden plans.  I know they
are listening.  I have another plan too.  A plan that I know will
make them both very happy.  That plan is the answer to my
Mom's question for me .... "when are you going to write
your book?"  

The answer is now.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


  1. Thank you for sharing this very touching real life experience. It will help you having shared it with others. Time is the best healer ever. I lost my mother much too soon. She was young. Take care.

  2. This is a very sad and very beautiful post. Thank you!

  3. This is a very hard thing to go through, Susan. Writing your book is a very good plan! xoxo

  4. Thank you for sharing something so personal. My parents are gone too and I miss my mother every day. Her birthday was in March.
    "You never know when the last time will be the last time" Act accordingly.

  5. The loss is always there, but I know they are close in your heart. Hugs!

  6. I totally feel your pain. That moment when they tell you - just take him/her home - is such a jolt of reality. One that you don't want to accept and pray they were wrong.

    I am so excited about you writing a book. I know it will be awesome. I don't read much but will surely read this one.

    Love and hugs,

  7. I will preface my comment by saying I am a retired advanced practice nurse, although we never really retire. Over my 44 year career I have witnessed death in many forms. The greatest blessing to your story is that you were able to bring your dear Mother home. While she was not able to communicate I know with all my heart that she knew you were there with her. The mystical connection between Mother and Daughter remains strong even at the end of life. Anniversary dates are always difficult. Please know that what ever strength you derive from those of us out here in blogland that it is sincere. now that

  8. Susan, my condolences. We lost my Dad that same year. It doesn't seem like it could be three years ago.

  9. My father and my husband's parents died at home surrounded by loved ones. That is how I hope to die and what a blessing your mother was home when she entered her eternal hereafter.

    Now YOU are one of the family anchors. Blessings to you.

  10. I know your pain, Susan, as it's going on four years that my late Beloved hubby passed away. Our loved ones are never away from our hearts, are they? My own hubby was at home when he passed away, too, with our four children here. Love and blessings to you....

  11. I just read this post while reading older ones posted before I subscribed. My mother is 96 years old and is very frail and has COPD along with other issues. She is my best friend. She lives in Oregon, I live in Nevada. I talk to her every night before bedtime. I saw her last year, and do not know if I will be able to see her this year. I am 74 years old and am having some health issues of my own and do not feel safe to drive so far anymore and my finances are limited so flying is not an option for me either. Every conversation we have I know it might be our last. I am trying to prepare myself for her passing, but I do not think one can ever prepare for losing a loved one. This post really touched my heart and made me cry. I hope that you are finally experiencing some peace over her passing. I know that after my father died, I cried for years and years, and I am far closer to my mom than I was to my dad.


Oliver and I LOVE and read every comment.


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