March 21, 2023
In typical Shirley fashion, Mom left this world at 6:57 this morning with vim and vigor that astounded her hospice nurse and social worker. At about 8:00 last night her breathing became more labored. Rocky counted four respirations per minute. At their afternoon visit, the nurse and social worker said to call if we noticed certain changes. He called and they came right away. They did not think Mom had much time, as four respirations per minute, instead of the normal 16-20, plus her declining blood pressure, etc. usually would indicate. I gave her 1 ml of Morphine per hour, as they had instructed me. With each dose after midnight I told Mom it would be her last and how much I loved her. (| had been telling her since she began her sleep state at 5:30 AM Sunday how much, Blair, Neil, Benjamin, Samuel, Sonia, Rocky, many of you, Jesus, and I loved her- naming names.) Then it became almost a joke, as Mom kept hanging on and making me out to be a liar. We thought 12:30 would be the last dose, then 1:30 and then 2:30. Our new hospice friends could not believe that Mom’s BP and other stats could go so far down yet she could remain alive with four respirations per minute. They said her heart was so strong and she was in such outstanding physical shape that her body kept fighting. They could feel her muscles.(She hung up the tennis racket at age 88 and stopped swimming three times per week a few weeks before her 90th birthday. Oh, yeah. She drove 20 minutes each way to Rocky Mount to swim at the YMCA. Yikes! Neil recently had said what we all knew, that she never was a great driver, even in her younger years.) Sonia, Lorie, Abi and I spent 5 1/2 of the best, most special hours of my life, sharing laughter, stories and faith in our downstairs bedroom around Mom in a hospital bed that had arrived only three days before. At about 2:30 AM they hesitated to leave. Lorie wanted Sonia and me to be granddaughter and daughter, not nurses. Abi believed Mom was so remarkably strong that she would last through the night and that they should go home to get some sleep. (We had witnessed such strength for over 5 hours.) They left at 2:45. One of the sweetest things was that Sonia asked me what would be best for me at that point. Exhausted, I honestly had to say I wanted to go upstairs to zonk out. I wanted to wake up a few hours later and NOT hear my dearest mother sucking in air after long pauses. Sonia was glad to help. She gave Gramma Morphine at 3:30, 4:30, 5:30 & 6:30. Sonia heard a shallow breath at about 6:50 and went back in the bedroom. With Sonia by her side and talking to her, Mom breathed her last. Rocky had woken up at 6:45 & heard the labored breathing. By the time he got downstairs at 7:00, Mom just had died. All I can think of now are the surprising days of March 1-14 when we enjoyed so much time with our pain-free mother/grandmother/mother-in-law and the even more surprising hours of fellowship and laughter around the hospital bed of a one-in-a-million woman.
1 thought on “Mom’s last hours”
So precious Celia. I love reading about your mom and all that you have been through these past few days with her and others God sent to you. I love you 💕