And So She Slipped Away…..March 20th, 2010

When I got so depressed that I left TuD and everything, this blog series disappeared. I believe it might still be helpful and supportive of our community values. TuD was with me every step of the way. I could post at 3AM, 3000 miles away from home and find comfort. She died peacefully on 3/20/10. I will repost the diary of her death for a few days....

I went a few steps from living room to kitchen to fix my dinner salad, having stroked her forehead and whispered in her ear first. And when I returned in 15 minutes, she had drifted to the other side.

My beloved Big Brother was a room away sorting and disposing of old family papers. I went to that door and beckoned him silently. No words were required. We bent over Mom and hugged, stroking her forehead and talking softly to her(by the last few days of Life, the forehead was the only place to touch her that did not cause a disturbance). And then in just a few minutes, we wanted to place all the familial phone calls that are not just required, but awaited by now.

Hospice had let us know a week or so ago that it would be soon, and we had laid the ground work with family, all of whom were figuring out plane reservations and the like. (Aside: this is another wondrous aid from Hospice folks!). A good example of the emotional, esoteric aspects of death interweaving with the pragmatic in a very Organic way. Daughters and nieces and, sisters and aunts were waiting and needed attention, as well as notifications to hospice......

So the death was beautiful, in her living room in a comfortable hospital bed with 2 of her 3 children in residence. It is everything we have all been striving for in the last 3 years of her failing health. And she looked beautiful, peaceful in death. I will post a post-mortem picture that my brother took. It is truly gorgeous, but I know it might disturb some.

But here's the thing---at near the 3-month mark post-death: I have an endless loop in my head of the various moments of crisis where I was alone with her (particularly in the night) and scared that I could not care for her appropriately. Not Death, per se, you see, I've seen lots of that, but "while there is engaged Life, I Will not Fail you." It was very hard and very exhausting.


March 20, 2014
On this 4th anniversary of her death, I must say that caring for her those 3 months, 3000 miles from home, still remains one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Hospice folks helped me find a wonderful grief counselor here in Portland and she helped me get over the worst of the PTSD symptoms. But I don’t think one ever gets over missing the unconditional love of a parent…

Blessings to all…Judith

Judith:

I am glad you found a way to deal with your moms passing. You know I did not get counseling and it took 15 years to deal with it. I ran, I ran form the same disease my mom died of, and I ran from reason. It was and is a wild ride. Though mostly the ride is over these days.

My mom's passing took 25 years, but she was in Hospice less than a week. In a way however she was in a controlled slide to death from the time I was 6 or 7.

Again, thank you so much. It meant a lot to me.

Rick

I am new to this blog and I happened to come across your lovely post. I lost my mom on December 8, 2011. I was by her side through it all. I was also her caregiver as you were and would do t all again if I had the chance. I miss her everyday like my loss was yesterday.

Blessings Bubbagaga....I understand and I love you in our shared experience. Do stay in touch!...Judith

Rick---Interesting. Mom and Dad, in retrospect, taught me that not all kidney failure is the same, though I hadn't a clue back then. My diabetes is clearly down from my Dad, who died of a series of strokes---probably associated with undiagnosed-until-too-late D---also poorly treated. He never had a meter or any instruction beyond eat less sugar and died at 73.

Mom, on the other hand, was Never dx diabetic, but was denied an insurance policy as a teener in the 30s (her immigrant uncle was rehearsing on his family before becoming an insurance salesman)when she tested positive for albumin in her urine. She also experienced kidney stones, etc. But she lived to 89!.....

These things are so very complex. I'm sure this is why my hackles rise at anybody who tries to paint us all with too broad a brush!...Blessings, as ever...

Judith, I guess I just need to write about learning to deal with grief. As I told you, I lost my mom in 2011. She was 87 years old and a holocaust survivor. The strongest woman I ever met. My dad passed away almost 13 months to the day after my moms death, on January 6, 2013. He was 94 and died of a broken heart. Between all of that, I was diagnosed with LADA. Last but not least, the day after Christmas, I put my precious dog, Max, to sleep after 17 years.

Every day, I wonder how I still get up out of bed and deal with all of the grief and loss of a life without insulin. But I then think of my mom, who lost it all as a young age, and she used to tell me “don’t quit”. I live my life now with her words in my heart and head and know that she would be proud of me. I think of her and still grieve her very much as I think you miss your mom. Thanks for listening…keep in touch too.

Oh my dear Bubbagaga. In do understand. When my son was stillborn at 8 months in 1972, I began the long process of understanding grief. One of many things I learned was that grief accumulates and it is much worse when there are overlapping losses so that you are never able to quite fully deal with each event.

We've taken in stray kitties for 30 years. In those last 3 months of caring for mom, all five of our original litter of non-stray babies died of old age problems. The day after my Mom died, one of our first strays dropped dead of an aneurism at only 8 years old. Three days after mom died, my beloved #1 niece lost her mother-in-law in Germany.

I also believe that every dearly held grief experience is a puncture wound to the soul. I wrote a poem about this that I will try to find and post to your page.

Here is the blog I wrote about losing my son (if I can do the link right--if not, go to my page and look for the blog, "Another Year has Passed"...I re-post it every July)

http://www.tudiabetes.org/profiles/blogs/another-year-has-passed-a-remembrance-the-birth-death-day-of-my

Puncture to the soul, beautifully said. The whole is never quite filled, but life continues and each day for me gets a little bit brighter. I have a great husband, beautiful granddaughter (step) and even getting diabetes has given me an interesting perspective on my life. All of our losses mold us into the people we are supposed to be. Please keep in touch. i take comfort knowing that loss and grief touches us all and we are really not alone though we may feel so at the time. Thanks again for listening.