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3 AM update on Mom


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The baby monitor crackles on my night table and I stare off blankly into one of the red lights that indicates there is some sound being interpreted. Tears trickle out of my eyes, over the bridge of my nose and I turn my head on the pillow. I still thought a baby monitor would find its way into my home, following the pink and blue balloons announcing my bundle of joy. But I hear no cooing; no babbling sweetness. Instead, it's my beloved mother moaning, in confusion or pain.

I've been downstairs "mom," I gently stroke her leg, "are you in any pain? do you need water? are you hungry? do you want me to turn you on your side?" and she says no to all. The moaning continues.

I turn the dial down low. Give me obnoxious snoring, give me the gnawing sound of that intractable cough she had from the extraction of her malignant pleural effusion to exactly 3 weeks ago, give me that unappreciative-complaining-never-happy-nagging-criticizing voice - even that - but please, not this. I think her body is suffering, it's moaning - yet her brain is slightly unaware.

Mom, please let go I pray, and I know the outcome of which will jolt my heart far worse than this. I don't know how long mom has and, apparently, neither does anyone else. For all of their medical degrees, clinical time and mile-long expertise, they haven't a clue and, often, I've known better.

I tell her I love her every time I see her. I brush her hair aside with my fingers and tell her she looks so pretty after we washed it in bed. She is uninterested. On a good day she mutters "I love you too" followed by "okay Ana, now stop talking and let's just get me out of the street, the people are behind the wall." I smile "you're in bed, in your daughter Jane's house, she's your only daughter and you're very safe." She looks unsure, "c'mon, stop being such a joker." That's as good as it gets now and maybe her mind leaving was a gift - to her sense of independence and dignity. I still tell her that I'm sorry, that I love her very much and that I want her to feel well, that whatever she needs, it's hers. She doesn't process information as before, she's for the first time in her life, aloof - but maybe there's been a sliver of sanity and she's heard me - I hope. I need to believe that.

Ten people are gathering their notes on a creative presentation for a gift card I'm developing for my company's business segment. I have to be alert in 6 hours; I can't imagine that.

I wish the monitor brought me peaceful sounds of deep slumber, telling me mom is well. Though I'll take what I have for now, fearing the instant I click the off button and all that will be missing from my life at that precise moment, that I'll never really breathe again.

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Ah Jane, life is hard, isn't it? No one prepares us in advance for what is to be ~ and then it just IS. I am sorry for your situation. I am sorry mother is doing so poorly. I am sorry you are alone with it all. May some sort of peace seep into your home somehow........and very soon. You are doing a wonderful job, and hope you get rested and renewed to continue your vigil.

Kasey

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OH Jane,

Your email wretched at my heart, as I imagined you laying there, with the monitor at your side, powerless to the sounds coming from it. Please know you have my prayers for peace, you have my prayers for your mom's peace, and for God to wrap his arms around you all and take the pain away.

Blessings,

Jen

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It's a slow and painful heartbreak for you...

Thank you for sharing it and describing it so eloquently for us. We continue to be here for you, praying for comfort, praying for peace, praying for you both.

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Jane,

My heart hurts for you, and all of the pain you are enduring right now from so many angles. I just wish it didn't have to be like this.

I admire your strength and courage. I know you do what needs to be done, but you have done it with such conviction and dedication that I really can't help but wish that I had been more patient and understanding with my own mom.

My love and prayers to you,

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Thanks so much for the kind and caring words. :)

I read a trivial Hollywood story the other day in Marie Claire that held such a beautiful message, it really had an impact on me.

It was a feature on Angelina Jolie and in discussing her mother's death from Ovarian Cancer she said her ex-husband, Billy Bob Thornton called with these words, "You'll never get over it. It's never going to be OK, and once you accept that, you realize you never want to get over it. Just kind of let it sit with you, and let it be a part of who you now are."

It resonated so deeply with me. No, it'll never be "okay" and that, in itself, is okay. :wink:

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It takes a strong person to let go, and a stronger person to let someone else go. I will say prayers for both of you for some peace and comfort tonite. RandyW

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I remember the baby monitor--an object bought in hope and excitement over new life, now used to monitor last days. I remember staying awake at night, just to be sure I heard each breath Mom took. I remember doing the same thing when my first child was born as well. There is a strange kinship between the miracle of life and the process of death.

I pray for peace and strength for you annd your dear mother.

Kelly

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Jane,

As hard as this is (I know how hard it is), you will always know that you were 100% there for her. She knows it somewhere deep inside, I'm sure of that. Hearing someone you love in pain is something I'd never endured before this either. It's absolutely heartbreaking.

My husband said to me one day, "it's such a comfort to see you there when I wake up." I'm quite sure your mom feels the same even if she's unable to express it to you.

Hugs,

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Jane, I echo Teri's thoughts. I truly do know how very rugged this is. I did the same things for my Mom in her final months, days, minutes, and it was very, very trying and exhausting. I felt almost desparate sometimes. Two years later, I would not have exchanged that experience for anything. Stay strong.

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