December 16, 2014 – Originally posted on CaringBridge

It has been an eventful week and a half.  We’ve had a lot of great visitors and some trying times. 

After the hospice care began, so did the search for the right combination of things to help Mom sleep at night. The four sisters, Dad, and other family members have been rotating staying with Mom through the night, which effectively means we’re pulling all-nighters until someone comes to relieve you in the morning.  Mom was getting up anywhere between two and 10 times an hour.  It has been an exhausting, frustrating time as we try to both get her the rest she so desperately needs, and maintain her care so she is comfortable.  Last night had some good stretches of sleep for the first time in weeks, and I am hopeful that trend will continue tonight (not just for her sake, but also because I have to work in the morning!).  The more rest she is getting, the more alert she seems to be during the day.  Visits do improve her mood and keep her engaged. 

Mom remains on oxygen around the clock and a couple of medicines to aid in her breathing from the effects of the COPD.  She also is using the walker to get around the room, but she doesn’t go too far before becoming fatigued.  She seems most content to be sitting in the chair and chatting or watching TV.  She is recognizing most people, and the effects of the dementia seem to be minor at this time.

Mom’s sister, Kathy, came into town last Friday.  She has been a great help in assisting the family and providing a friendly, familiar face to Mom. She will be here until this coming weekend.  Cousins Mary, Joanne, and Danny also came in for a short little visit over the weekend.  We all wished they could stay longer, but it was so lovely to see Mom light up when she saw them. 

My friend, Molly, came for a visit on Friday morning with her kids.  Mom was pretty sleepy, but she was happy to see Molly and commented on how big her littles had gotten.  She is looking forward to more visits this week from a couple more of my friends, in addition to Cheryl’s. 

We are working on adjusting our normal Christmas plans to have dinner here at Mom and Dad’s.  Michelle and Wayne normally host, but with Mom unable to leave the house, we are going to move it here.  It’s been a long time since we had a Christmas here – it should be a crazy, crowded, boisterous time. 

Lots of people have been asking how we, as a family and individually, are doing.  I can only speak for myself, but we are pulling together as best we can.  Things have declined much more rapidly than we anticipated, and that has been challenging.  My heart is heavy.  It is difficult to see someone you love go through hard times, and as many before me have forewarned, life doesn’t stop.  I still have to work; my kids still need to go to school; the Earth keeps turning.  My husband Josh has been incredible, stepping in whenever and wherever I need him.  I am thankful for him and don’t think I could be as strong as I have if it weren’t for his love, patience, and support. All the brothers-in-law have been amazing.  One of the (many) benefits of having such a large family is there are numerous helping hands, infinite open hearts. There is a lot of love holding us up.

It has been so uplifting to read the comments and stories people have about my mom. The memories shared bring a smile to all our faces, and it is wonderful to see how many lives Mom has touched over the years.  We are grateful for the community of friends and family around us. Thank you, again, for all the prayers and thoughts – we feel them.  We feel your love.

Rebecca

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