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I think I am ready to write it all down. long and detailed


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5 months ago...

My mom turned 58 on April 18. Every year we (she and I) go to Seattle and stay in a a nice hotel and shop and eat and just be together.

At the time, mom was told there is nothing more that could be done except for some radiation to reduce the mass in her bronchial tubes to ease her breathing. By this time she is on oxygen at all times.

We were leaving Friday April 21st. I had babysitters lined up until my Hubby came home so we could get an early start. I took her to radiation and then we were off. I knew things were wrong. Her lungs crackled when she breathed and she was barely able to eat. Her mouth was completely dry and she spoke in a whisper.

I still cannot understand why my stepfather didn't take her to the dr for these symptoms. IN hindsight it was clear she had pneumonia and some kind of infection in her mouth. I knew that she shouldn't have had to suffer with these symptoms but he just wrote it off to part of being sick.

So we are on our way. We talked about alot of things, I asked about her faith, Adam & Eve or evolution, and little things about her childhood. This was my last chance to learn about things only she knew.

We stopped in Ellensberg for lunch. Of course that is a story in itself. She wanted mashed potatoes and gravy from KFC. I took the exit and started down the main road and went for quite awhile. No KFC. We head back the other way and go for awhile, no KFC. We pass a Wendy's and she says a baked potato would suffice and we pull up, and it is under construction. I see another sign for KFC but it says 3 miles, I didnt go far enough the first time. By now my mom is really not hungry anymore and my heart aches with anxiety and pain of not being able to do this simple thing for her. I am crying now thinking of the desperation for some damn mashed potatoes.

We finally reach KFC and i get the food for her. She barely eats.

Hours later we are checking into our hotel. It is the same as where we have stayed before although it seems not as nice. I was disappointed I didn't get a better place, I am picking apart everything in my mind.

I have called ahead and had an oxegyn pump delivered. It takes us awhile to get settled in the room. I have a wheelchair that she has never been in before. It sits in the corner, we don't look at it.

She wants to rest and is taking oxycodone about every 2 hours.

My sister in law (Chris) comes to stay with us. I feel relieved to have help but intruded on because I want to be with her all alone.

I am crying again my heart aches.

Mom wants to sleep and insists Chris and I walk down to get food at the Cheesecake factory, we run there, order and I have anxiety leaving her alone for just a half hour.

The night was wierd. I slept next to her and every time she moved I woke up. My new mother instincts were back. I wish I was there right now.

When we woke the next day she felt okay. I helped her shower. It was hard to see her naked, she was thin which would have suited her well had she not been dying. I helped her dress and applied some makeup. Her eyelashes were growing back. She wore a beautiful scarf that my brother would later place over her head when the funeral home came to take her.

We were going shopping. Mom could barely talk and she had to be in the wheelchair.(for the first time)

We drove the 6 blocks to the shopping district. We took turns pushing her and I could tell right away she was miserable. She was humiliated and helpless and defeated. She wore it on her face. There were streetbands and the bustle of Saturday to overcome. I bought her a huge cup of ice at Starbucks. Last year we would have had Latte's and danced in the street. All I wanted to do was go home and snuggle with her on the couch and tell her I love her. We went to Nordstrom and the ladies at the makeup counter looked over her head and helped everyone else, she stood up and picked a lipstick that she would never wear. We went to have lunch and she could eat nothing, as I sat there hurting for her I choked my sandwich down while she sucked on ice cubes. How could I not see her dying in front of my eyes? WHy did I not know? DID I know?

We bought a scarf for her head which I would return just days later when buying her funeral clothes.

My brother was coming. She couldn't wait to see him (they live in GIG HARBOR) He is 41(I am 36).

We are in OLD NAVY and My brother is close, he calls my sister in law's phone driving in front of OLD NAVY and my mom sees his truck in the street. She jumps from her wheelchair and I am holding her oxygen. SHe goes out to the middle of the street to climb in his truck. I help her in, we have stopped 3 lanes of traffic. Drivers are patient, they know this is important. They are both smiling like I have never seen. It feels good and hurts. I want her to smile at me like that.

My sister in law and I walk her empty wheelchair back to the car and we meet back at the hotel.

She rests. When she wakes she wants to go to the Pike Place Market and buy food to cook. With my brother there I feel more confident caring for her.

We go, we stop at different shops and buy food. All places we loved to go in the past. We go to a Russian place that sells pierogi and cabbage rolls like her mom used to make. MY mom eats and eats. SHe eats like it is her last meal. This is her last meal. She eats and then her pain begins. She is panicking and wants to go back to the hotel. We can't get back fast enough and we are scared of her pain. SHe takes 4 or 5 pills. She rests and is okay for awhile. We rent a movie and cook. The movie was suppose to be a comedy (the family stone) but had a mom dying from cancer in it. We all cry.

That night was frightening. She is in pain and we want to take her to the hospital. We call stepdad. HE says no, she'll be fine, this is the way it is. We give her more pills and she sleeps for minutes at a time. Jeff sleeps at her feet, I sleep in the bed next to her.

IN the morning I decide we need to leave right away.

I decide that mom should take a pill every hour on the hour and suck ice the whole way. It is a long ride. I hurt and cry when she dozes, and act brave when she is awake. She is dying.

When we get home (5 hours) We stop and get step dad to take me home. She gets out of the car in front of my house and falls on the sidewalk. I cry. Her knees are skinned. It is April 23.

Monday he takes her to radiation. She has a yeast infection in her mouth. She cannot lay down for radiation. She cannot breathe when she is flat.

They say there is nothing more to do. They still do not listen to her and hear the pneumonia.

Tuesday morning step dad calls me from the ER, it is 5 am. I get there at 5 30 am. They say she has pneumonia and are treating her agressively with antibiotics and nebulizers, soon she moves to ICU.

I am trying to get my brother here.

I am trying to get my mom's sister here.

I am crying and I want to go back in time.

In ICU she wants to rest and be alone.

The dr comes and says to mom, soon we will need to intubate. If we intubate you will need morphine. If we give you morphine you may go to sleep, and you may not wake up. IS this what you want? She explains that the antibiotics may help the pneumonia but the cancer is still blocking her left bronchial tube and the right diaphram is paralyzed and funtioning maybe 2 or 3%.

We sign moms DNR with her witnessing it.

She wants to go home. MY brother arrives. My mother smiles.

A man comes to hook up the morphine pump and soon an ambulance brings mom home. It is April 25 8 pm.

I kneel next to my mother and help her in bed. She has a catheter. As I help her, she is facing me and she whispers how proud she is of me. She says I have good morals, some she gave me and some I learned by myself. She loves me and I love her. She is my mother and was put here to give birth to me. I am her daughter and am here to witness her death. I know this is our last words but I can't find anything profound to say.

She wants to rest.

In the middle of the night she is panicked and can't breath. We are givin instruction to increase her morphine but we forget how and call the man in the middle of the night. Hospice has not delivered the nebulizer but one of my brothers daughters has one. We nebulize her with morphine.

She rests. She sleeps off and on, we do not. She is sitting halfway up with a pillow accross her chest. She is waiting for her sister to arrive.

People come and go. Mom wants no more. She wants to be alone. At 1 oclock her sister comes. Mom smiles. The grandchildren come. She smiles. Now she is done. We say goodbye, one by one. I go to the room next to hers after I say goodbye beautiful mommy goodbye I love you forever, and I scream and cry and wail.

At 1:30 hospice comes. She gives us a comfort kit. Step dad administers ativan and morphine. Mom sleeps. We are told not to talk to her or touch her.

At 6 my brother and I stand crying at her door. We want to touch her. She is barely breathing.

At 6:15 we go back. She is gone. I lay in bed holding her for as long as I can. She still has some mascara on from days before. She is still warm. I pray she will breathe again, I pray that I will not breathe again.

I cannot think of the Lord's Prayer.

We say together

Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the lord my soul to keep, if I should die before I wake, I pray the lord my soul to take. AMEN.

i am crushed

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Dear Mskim and family,

The story of your Mom and her passing just tore my heart appart. God I hate this disease!!!

I am happy that you all had your time and goodbyes with your Mom. I am glad she had the dignity to pass at home where she is comfortable. I am glad she had such a wonderful family to take such great care of her.

I wish you peace and Gods blessing. My heartfelt condolances, sympathy and prayers to you and your family.

Warmest regards,


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:cry: REally rhough I am crying because that was sosspecial to share with us here. THANK YOU, Ii hope it helped a little bit to do this. Sendinig PRayers from Starry Carolina tonite. I hate this Darn disease too and what it does to all of us here.
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What a very touching story of the last memories of your Mom.

I know the devastation of losing a mother. It is all so fresh in my mind and I hope that eventually I'll be able to write my feelings down too.

Thank you for sharing that with us.

Warm Hugs,


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Oh Kim, it is so hard as I know. My SF also believed we should not be touching mom or talking to her, but we did and she held on for days. I am not sure if we are to blame, or if it just wasn't her time. As far as not knowing your mom was dying, well, we don't know-any of us, as I learned and so did the hospice nurses who told me my mom was neurologically gone, only for her to wake up and talk for several more days. No one knows. I do know that you were there for her. You loved her the way she needed. Your brother had his own special stuff to offer your mom. It just sucks girl, I know. I know. :cry:

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It has been 23 years since I lost both my parents within two weeks of one another from this horrid disease. I still feel the pain, but it does get easier with time. you feel so many emotions-sadness, guilt, helplessness, responsible, relief, even anger.

......oh darling, so many mixed feelings. Everyone grieves at their own pace. Do not deny it or be ashamed of it. I found talking about it desensitizes one to the trauma. Here if you need an ear.

Cheryl Ferguson

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Reading your story really touched my heart. Something struck me.....I can imagine how very special those moments were for your Mom...the time and great effort finding the KFC for her...each and every step...all of it. None of us knows when the end will come, I relive the last days with my dad, hoping I said all the right things and there are moments I feel him around me...and know I did my very best....as you did. You are a wonderful daughter,wishing you comfort


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Kim, I just don't know what to say... your words stung and brought back so many memories. And maybe just for tonight, I needed to go back to "that place" in my heart and remember how I felt watching my Daddy die. I relate so well to your words "she was dying" and I didn't know or didn't want to know. I speak of those feelings often... how could I have not seen my Dad melting away in front of me? How could I have been so very blind? The answer is that I don't think we truly were blind, denial was our coping mechanism and to realize that our parents were really, truly dying, would have been too much for us to comprehend at the time. Does that make any sense at all? I can't imagine the courage it took you to write your words and thoughts... I thank you for sharing them and yes, I do remember.... Much Love, Sharon

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  • 2 weeks later...


That was a beautiful story about your mom, and I know how hard it was for you to write it down. I am crying now as I write this because your story brought back memories of my son's last days in hospice. It has been just over a year since we lost him at 28 yrs. old to osteosarcoma (bone cancer). I am sure that your mom is up in heaven now, smiling down at you and your lovely children and feeling very proud. I pray that God will give you peace and comfort in the days and weeks to come.

God Bless,


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