It is 1:52 am. Molly, my sixteen year old beagle is snoring lightly. She has just had another period of excessive panting and coughing in the night. All I can do is get down on the floor with her, pet her gently and speak softly. She too has comfort and care orders, and is preparing for departure.
Fortunately, this gave me an opportunity to look in on mom, who is also snoring lightly, although the TV remote is still tightly in her hand.
A Visiting Nurse Bag sits by our front door awaiting pick up. In it is the cardio care monitor that we have taken her vitals with every day for the past three months. Mom and I have had our struggles with the woman on the monitor who sometimes annoys the heck out of us, but she has been a vital part of our routine. Her absence, although providing a bit more room on the table in our den, is ominous by implication.
It was a tough day. The hospice nurses came to review our plan. We signed our third DNR and there is now a bright yellow sheet of paper on our fridge instructing those in her company to call hospice rather than 911.
Mom was in terrible pain all day. After lunch I came out of the bathroom to find her doubled over clutching her abdomen, and she had to spend the afternoon in bed. In the midst of all that, we got bad news about not being eligible for a program that would have helped financially, due to my designation as her guardian. At dinner time, more effective meds arrived and we began to get her discomfort under control. She looked better by bedtime, although very tired.
All of this came after a few days of excitement that included the 4th of July Parade, and two days of visits with family members from Connecticut and Pennsylvania. A few days ago mom got to live out one of her life dreams of seeing the Tall ships from the water. Although she was sad during the trip not to share it with her best friend Ruth, she enjoyed the day very much, and I am including the slideshow here, because I want to remind us all that there is great joy sprinkled liberally amidst our sorrow.
As I sit here in darkness aware only of the illumination caused by my keyboard, I notice a great moon glow coming through the tree outside my bedroom window. I stop writing and press my face to the screen trying to absorb an air of ancient to get me through the night. I think of IJ, Celestine, Glennie Bee, Naima, Gary Muncy, Amy, Rosemary, Clare, Sharmishtha and all the other wonderful people who support us through this blog, and imagine each one bathed in the light of the moon.
Returning to my computer I remember that we have been invited by Naticksqw, the chief of the Natick Praying Indians to receive a special blessing at Elliot Church in South Natick this coming weekend. It couldn’t be coming at a better time.