It was in January (I think) of 2005, that my husband, Rick, said, “You need to go see your mother”. You see, I hadn’t been going to see her very often, perhaps once every 2-3 weeks. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it was difficult to see her in that bed. She could still talk some. She would answer questions with a word. However, she did look at me most of the time when I talked to her and she seemed to understand what I was saying. It was just hard to go see her.
Staying away, because it was hard for me, was wrong. You see, by doing that I put the focus of Mother’s illness on me. It was hard for me. I didn’t want to see her that way, etc. The truth was that no matter how I felt, no matter how hard it was for me, I’m sure my mother wanted and needed to see me. She needed to hear my voice. She needed to see my face. She needed to feel my hand touching hers.
It would be so nice to have “do overs” here, but this is one of those times in life when there are no “do overs”. So my friends, if you have a family member who is……..OK, I’ll just say it…….dying, slowly or quickly, it doesn’t matter. Make sure that you keep the focus on them; their needs and feelings, not yours, because when it is over, it is over. The door is closed and there is no opening it again.
My sister, Susan, however, continued her faithfulness, visiting Mother every day, sitting and talking with her. Susan talked about everything with Mother. Her day at school. The dog’s illness. The war in Iraq. Everything. I am sure this was as much a comfort to Mother and it was wonderful memories for Susan.
In February and March Mother began to seriously decline. It wasn’t going to be long.