It’s not always like this, right before the end. Sometimes death is sudden, and sometimes it takes a long time. Either way is painful. Letting go of someone we love is never easy.
Yesterday my mom’s oxygen level went below acceptable and her breathing was labored and short. The doctor ordered oxygen for the apartment, and told us to monitor her oxygen level every hour.
My dad wants to save her, and keep her from dying. “She just has to suffer through this and then she’ll get better, ” he announces as if he’s the doctor who guarantees immortality. But when I see her in such pain from severe leg cramps, unable to eat real food, lying there with bedsores and diapers, I really have to wonder. Being stuck between life and death is where she is. She’s alive, but the quality of life is no longer fun, enjoyable or even simply boring – to be honest, it’s crap.
I spend most of my time reading to her, or listening to her try to tell me something. I’m not sure she understands any of what I read, but she always seems to murmur ‘yes’ when I ask if she’d like me to read her a story. Maybe I’m imagining her say ‘yes’ because I’d rather be distracted by words than to see her in her silent scream.
Her favorite stories are the ones about the love she shared with my dad when they were young. I like to think she’s drifting to a happy place where all those memories lie. Her heart remembers those times well, and I can feel her heart expand,
And so I read, and listen, read and listen, and sometimes we just hold hands and cry.