It is pouring rain as it often does in May. The rivers are rising as the rain comes down, the temperature heats up and the snow begins to melt in the higher elevations. There are people who live near a water source, in the flood plain, who are pacing, fretting, praying…as the muddy water rises.
Water has some significance to me although I’ve never been able to identify why. If I have a nightmare, it usually involves water. I am either falling in water, under water or avoiding rushing water as it eats away at a road I am traveling in the dream. I suppose water represents some angst I am feeling in my waking hours. Perhaps, I’m trying to keep my head above water.
Today, while the waters rise, my mother is sinking. She has taken a turn for the worst. For months now, she has been steadily losing weight and losing her ability/desire to eat. She doesn’t speak and rarely makes eye contact – at least that has been my experience on my visits.
Mom has been under hospice care for the last six months although it was more of an extra care type of hospice, where they monitor her a little more carefully than the attendants at the memory care facility. As of yesterday afternoon, she is under true hospice care. They will begin giving her “bed baths” instead of getting her up to shower. She will receive comfort care. They will keep her comfortable.
Knowing my mom, she would never have wanted to linger. She would have hated being in the “home” and having anyone see her in this condition. Her best “end” would have been in her own home, lying down and just not waking up with the morning sun. We don’t always get to choose our own ending.
For the last few years, I have thought that I was working through the grief, preparing for the end. We have known it was coming – the doctor and hospice people will very kindly and graciously reveal the signs. You learn the key words and catchphrases for the “end of life” scenario. Loss of appetite, difficulty walking, eating, breathing. It is a gradual process but it does proceed. You think you’ve cried all the tears you can cry. You think you are ready. But how can you be?
We wait and watch. And the river rises.