Dealing with Death
I lost my Dad when he was 55 - I was 25. And yes, Bruce will confirm that there are days when I grieve like it was yesterday. Mom still had four children at home, but once the babies were 19, she relocated to Floriday with her brother and sister. They all lived in different mobile trailer parks, but within 3 miles of each other. Amazing - Mom was one of eight, all those kids were inseparable..
Mom worked, was a Deacon in her church and took college courses. It was amazing to see her grow as an individual. But as her lung disease progressed, she was forced to move back to Connecticut. The original deal was for her to spend 4 months a year at John's, Mary Beth's and my house. Unfortunately Mom went back on that deal. John's home had a MIL apartment and at that time, also Mom's grandchildren.
My SIL came to me and said Mom was failing and could I do something. Bruce and my brother Kevin moved Mom here. Mom always knew there were issues, but I never faltered. Her one request was a Casino Day, just her and I.
Looking back, this was good experience for my new post-stroke life. I called the Concierge at Foxwoods, made my requests and off we went.
Our room was ready. Within 10 minutes of arrival, Room Service called and said they were sending up lunch. We ate and then headed to the Slots. I helped Mom transfer to the slot seat, oxygen tank on the floor. I had the WC, her pocketbook, sweater and Mom is saying "money, money." LOL. Got the cashier and some rolls of quarters. I literally got to the nearby bar, ordered a wine, lit a cigarette - got the WC and stuff stashed and I hear "Debbie, Debbie" Of course she hit and she was done for the night. Back to the room. Room service sent up some finger sandwiches and a fresh fruit salad. Then I showered her, warm PJs and bed. TV remote, some candy (that is where I get my sweet tooth), ginger ale. Casino gave us a beeper system, so I was able to have a bit of time to myself.
Next morning we had a huge breakfast delivered. That is when she focussed me and said she wanted to talk. Mom said she knew John was her POA and that John could handle the services and money. But come medical issues, she expected me and Mary Beth to get the boys through it. She knew they would balk. That it was up to me to ease them through the tough decisions. She wanted no tubes or prolonged medical interventions. When she said she was ready, I was to somehow get all four of us on the same page. She explained that all this was in her Living Will, but she wanted that respected to the letter. As an addendum-she removed her oxygen mask near the end and told Mary Beth it was time. Mary called me immediately. But thing is, Mom knew she would have to depend on her daughters to ease her into death. Mary and I often talk about how all of us bring different personalities and considerations into the mix. While we all share DNA, we are all very different people with varied strengths. As much as we fight, we all respect our individual talents.
Mom and I packed up and headed to the Casino. Mom had a terrific run at the Roulette table and on the way home, she divided up the profits.
Mom was right. As much as she had gone over with John, her wishes; she knew it would take me and Mary Beth to help her cross over comfortably. There is no way I knew her plan when she asked for a Casino day. But, at least for me, my heart is full in knowing I was able to honor her wishes. Debbie