It rained last night, and the birds are singing lazily from atop their dewy perches. In a rare moment, all factors are working in harmony to create a needed respite. Mom, who has had a couple of really bad days is blessedly sleeping in, Molly has been out, the coffee is hot, and my magical red mug is clean for the occasion.
Some may scoff at the notion of the spiritual properties of pottery, yet from the moment it entered my hand, this cup became the comforting hug of friends, proof of an ‘afterlife’, and an anchor to my faith. It’s red maple leaf proclaims proudly a deep truth. Tim Hortons. Always Fresh. Always Home. Although the actual Tim’s coffee is long-gone, it is evidence of a now invisible life that sustains me in the darkest moments.
Two months ago, mom and I received and invitation to Sudbury, Ontario where I lived for many years, for a First Nations community celebration honoring a much-loved friend. After much discussion, mom decided she would like to take the opportunity for one last road trip together. The day her brand new passport arrived mom became excited by the prospect of an adventure, and we spent hours considering numerous modifications to support a slower pace of travel with increased comfort. We planned to document the trip and share it with you.
We were both excited when the hotel was booked, and spent a good deal of time reminiscing about our experiences driving across the country together when she was 70. She joked about how her friends at the time, thought it was far too dangerous, and went so far as to tell her she was crazy for taking such a chance. She figured, since many of those same friends are now gone, there would be less ‘flack’ about the prospect of doing something so outrageous at 90.
This past week, mom’s breathing and dizziness issues progressed to the point that the insistence of medical intervention was a card that had to be played. I won’t bore you with the details of our day spent in the hospital ER, suffice to say that visiting nurses are in place, a cardio-care monitoring machine is now part of our daily routine, and a new medication has been added. The VNA have initiated a referral to hospice so that Comfort Care Orders will assist my mom in her desire to remain at home.
At this point, it is a pretty sure bet that our trip will not occur. I am sad about the prospect of missing a chance to honor an incredible leader and friend. Yet this sadness pales in comparison to the pain of realizing that losing my mom, which seemed so far in the distant future is now happening in increments that have sped up dramatically.
Pain management is tricky at this point, as is being the only person so far assisting with her physical care, which is increasing exponentially. It is difficult to see her struggling to breathe in the mornings, and harder to try nightly only to fail, at making her comfortable when she is in pain.
In a few weeks additional supports will be in place. In the meantime, we both treasure the precious rare moments of comfort and grace. My friend Ann sent an email the other day. “Love and light surround you both. We all walk with you.” I feel you all dear readers and appreciate the reassurance of your company along the way.