Yesterday got quiet. After four days of visiting with family and friends, Mom’s energy faded yesterday. I think the parties exhausted her. But she loved the parties. I believe it was exactly what she imagined and hoped for.
We still had a few guests come by yesterday, but they were fewer and scattered farther throughout the day. Mom became less and less responsive. By the afternoon she was not able to focus her eyes and she could no longer complete a sentence. Mostly she slept.
That’s how it’s supposed to be in her journey toward heaven. We’ve been told that she will sleep more and more and eventually she won’t wake up. It is supposed to be relatively peaceful. But I think we forgot about the thing that led to this decision in the first place. She has a foot that is dying. It is extremely painful for her. So that peaceful sleep we expected was disturbed by quite a bit of pain.
Hospice has helped with that. Mom has pain meds. They are helping. But are they enough? Pain comes in this life. The world has hurt since Eden. But it is not good to see pain on the face of a loved one while she is sleeping.
Yesterday Mom woke up occasionally. She gazed toward the people who were in the room. But in some ways it looked like she gazed beyond us, like she saw something ahead and we were blocking her view. Donna and I wondered if she could see heaven from here. One of her dearest friends, Shirley, came for a long visit last night. She sat with Mom for several hours. One time Mom opened her eyes and saw Shirley sitting there. She looked a little confused and said, “What are you doing here?” I think Mom sometimes opens her eyes and expects to be in heaven. When she sees us she knows that at least one of us is not in the spot she expected.
We didn’t know if she would make it through last night. Hospice moved her to Intensive Comfort Care status, which is the most active level of hospice. She will now have a nurse or aide with her around the clock. So my sister stood watch last night, while some of the rest of us got some sleep. When I got up this morning, I went in and began reading scripture to Mom. The 23rd Psalm and the Valley of the Shadow of Death. First Corinthians 15 and the Hope of the Resurrection. Psalm 139 and how carefully and wonderfully God made us. And 1 Corinthians 13, normally known as the Love Chapter, but containing a beautiful statement of our future in heaven with Jesus.
When I began reading Psalm 23, I told Mom, “You might be familiar with this one.” She was. She weakly moaned her approval of the psalm. As we read some more scripture, she became more alert. She opened her eyes. She looked at us.
When my daughter, Breck, saw Mom open her eyes, she cheerfully said, “Good morning, Grandma.” Mom answered back with a strong and cheerful, “Good morning.” My brother, Greg, was there. He was smiling and weeping at the same time. He said, “We love you, Mom.” She said very clearly, “I love you too.”
About that time an aide from hospice entered the bedroom. She greeted Mom and us. By now Mom was pretty clear, so she said “Hi” to the aide, then added, “You’re interrupting my plans.” It was Mom at her confident, playfully-defiant best. We laughed. Then she told us her plans for the day. “We’re going to go to Costco,” she told us. More laughter. None of us knows whether she was completely confused or just helping us laugh. We laughed just the same. I don’t remember a happier sentence than that.
Mom rallied for about 20 minutes. Then she lapsed back into unconsciousness. It's quiet again.