My mom now spends most of the day sleeping with no food and little fluid. But the days since my last post were such a blessing. A week after getting to LA, my mom felt good enough to suggest an outing to Santa Monica so that she could see the ocean and walk by the beach. We walked for good 40 minutes before she started feeling tired. Every day, she woke up amazed that she was still feeling good. Her appetite was excellent, and she ate everything we gave her with great relish. Each and every day was such a gift.
Then last Thursday, she started spending more time in bed (the night before, she surprised us by wanting to take an after dinner stroll outside, and the entire family had an impromptu outing around my brother's neighborhood). My best friend lives in LA, and she was supposed to come over with dinner (she had been coming by almost every day with food since we came to LA). I thought my mom would sleep through my friend's visit, but right before she came, my mom woke up and went out to the living room to wait for my friend. When my friend came, my mom was funny, lively, and gracious. My friend and I took pictures with her and even took her for a quick "walk" around the living room. After about 30 minutes of that, my mom got tired and allowed my friend and me to take her to bed. Since then, my mom's had less and less energy. She took one bite of the extravagant lobster dish that my friend brought. That was her last solid food.
I have been guided through this process by the angel of this site, Lainy. I couldn't be doing any of what I'm doing without her support and guidance. On Friday, she asked if my mom could be waiting for someone. I said it could very well be my husband, who was still in Atlanta (and sort of in denial that my mom was not going to get better). So my husband flew out on Saturday, getting here that night. Before he came, when we told her he was coming, my mom would ask when he was coming whenever she woke up. At one point, she said, "He was just here. He was right there, wearing a blue t-shirt." I asked my husband what he was wearing that day, and he said a white t-shirt earlier but that he had changed to a blue shirt (but not a t-shirt) for the flight. This confirmed to me that my mom is in the process of passing to another world, not confined to the physical and explicable. And when my husband finally came, my mom was beaming. She told him she missed him and had been wanting to see him. That was perhaps her most sustained lucid moment since Thursday.
She does have fleeting moments of clarity though. Yesterday, she wanted to sit up when my brother and I were changing her position to prevent bed sores. She sat up and told me thank you after giving me the most beautiful smile. She also told us on another occasion that she was ready to accept everything. And I've been talking to her constantly, thanks to Lainy's advice. I've been telling her that she'll always be in our hearts and with us in spirit. I told her that she is our leader and that the leader always goes into the unknown first to explore. I told her we would certainly see each other again and asked her to be with us always. In response to all this, she's been nodding and sometimes smiling (she smiles every time I tell her she's going to see her mom & dad).
Because of all this, I am amazed by my mom each and every day. But I think it's getting to be harder and harder for her, so I'm praying for her to finish this process soon. I've seen the dying process compared to the birthing process, and I think the simile is perfectly apt. We're all well wishers and witnesses to her passing to a new life.
There are other factors involved in this process that has made it easier and more difficult at times, particularly concerning our experience with different hospices (we're on our third hospice; we had one in NJ which was wonderful, then had to switch from the first one in LA because they were egregiously incompetent). I will write another post on that some other time, as I think it'll be helpful for others in a similar situation.
Thank you everyone for your loving thoughts. I'm so grateful for this site and its bringing Lainy into my life (I'm writing this update post because she suggested it). Please continue to pray for my mom.