Sunday, June 19, 2016

GOODNIGHT, AUNT GLORIA
I stayed the night. I sat up on a chair and held her hand the whole night. I think I may have fallen asleep for about five minutes. It was kind of nice being there. I've never stayed the night to see what goes on and I was happy to see that the staff was attentive - to everyone. It's a weird feeling being there at night and knowing everyone is all tucked in in their beds. When I used to work late nights I would be really aware of that and it kind of creeped me out.

I continued taking pictures of her room...
 
I kept looking around thinking about ways I should have decorated it… made it more home-like… kept up with the holiday decorations. She was fortunate to have a nice big private room. It was because she had "behaviors" and didn't get along with anyone. Still. It was nice. ;-)  I always think about some of the ladies that share a room - sometimes not really liking who they are living with. What would it be like to spend your last days, months, years in 1/2 a room? All your possessions and treasures in 1/2  a room. That's so sad to me in a way. In a different way I feel like it's nice to be in a place like that - safe and cared for (hopefully) with a sense of security and community.  I don't know. It's all too much.

Cindy was working today so she called me in the morning to see if I needed anything. She brought me a biscuit and coffee since I really haven't eaten in what seems like a week. Glo has been pretty much unresponsive. We washed her face and I took off that damn blue nail polish. I've been thinking - is she waiting for me to take that nail polish off so she can die?!

My boss and her husband and kids came in. They brought me a vegan cinnamon roll and her step-son said the sweetest prayer by Glo's bedside. The nurse has been coming in and giving her morphine… He told me to go home. I feel bad because it's Father's Day and I already didn't have The Dad's party and now, today, is a big old mess. I told the nurse I'm going to take my chances. I was going to go see my Dad for Father's Day and I'll be back… If something happens - it was meant to be. I was ok with that now.

So… I ordered enough food for a bout 15 people from Lucci's (his favorite restaurant) and somehow managed to get there. I think I may have slept the whole way. I'm not sure. I don't know how I made it back and forth on those windy roads.  I've been up for 32 hours now. I went back to the house and we ate and I went back up to the nursing home.

Glo was now on oxygen and her breathing was getting worse. I felt like Tony by the bedside - checking for a pulse. I can still picture him shaking his head saying it's not time yet. I looked around and remembered all of us in that room when Mum died… all the kids and their spouses and my father-in-law… Deanna and Paula on the bed saying the Act of Contrition…. I held Glo's hand and put the rosary back in and said the Our Father and Hail Mary and laughed and said I couldn't remember anything else.. I swear she laughed but it was probably my imagination. It was a big difference from what - 17 of us surrounding Mum - to just me in the room - alone with Glo.

I told her it was ok to go… that everyone was ok here. I was ok and I would miss her. I told her it was Father's Day and I bet her Dad was waiting for her. When she threatened to kill herself (out of frustration and drama) as she often did, one of the aides had to stay with her for 24 hours because Resolve was called because she just so happened to say it when the State was there doing a survey! Brandy was always so good to her. I got a text from her that she was gone for the day but she told all the other aides that if Glo went tonight they had to come in the room and open the window because Glo always wanted to get the hell out of there and she didn't want her to have to wait!  She told me that Glo would always tell her stories about her dad and what they would do and where he would take her. Then she would say, that little stinker came along, meaning my mother. I love that today is Father's Day.

I was there for a few more hours and her breathing got worse and I could smell death. She gasped a few times and opened her eyes and I watched them flutter from side to side. It was the weirdest thing. It wasn't up and down - it was side to side and I don't think I'll ever forget it. She was still holding my hand pretty tight and, without a sound, took her last breath and she was gone…

I gave her a kiss, said I love you and opened the window.

Goodnight, Glo.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

HOW DO YOU DOCUMENT REAL LIFE...
Honestly,  I wasn't even going to go to Seneca today. I really needed and wanted to get some stuff done at the house. If anything, I was going to go up after dinner and just check in. Hospice didn't seem that concerned and actually said Glo was slightly better yesterday. I got a call around 3 in the afternoon and Jen, the nurse, said I should probably get up there.

I got to the room and she was in and out of it. Really kind of fighting some times with fists in the air. I asked her if she saw anyone. I expected (and maybe wanted) all these dead people in the room with us. She didn't really say anything. I guess that was a no.

I had gone to bed last night around 3 am and was up at 7. I started doing some stuff in the basement and hadn't eaten. I ended up eating her cookies and pudding.

Her eyes are starting to sink in. She's not really responding but she's holding my hand really tight.

I've started taking pictures of the room. What would be the last thing she "sees" from her bed...

What the windowsill looked like...

The pictures that were on the wall...

Her jewelry box that now contained a bunch of junk jewelry from the sales there and the plastic beads from the parties we had.

I can't help thinking - "how did we get here - how the hell…"  I know, obligatory RENT reference. ;-)

It was just like RoseBud -  taking pictures on the ground to document the life she "saw." I feel like I need to remember this though I don't know why I want to.

I can't help thinking this is going to be me.

Or will I have no one?

Will I be all alone?

So I continued… opening drawers and closets and photographing everything just the way it was. From the life she had to this - a plastic water pitcher with her room number on it...

… and one shoe because I quit looking for the other and she hasn't been able to walk so it didn't really matter.

Who would have thought it would end like this? She was so particular and had everything just so and here we are in a nursing home. I'm grateful I was able to be here so much since I worked here. I feel guilty though for all those times I didn't stay longer because I was in such a hurry to get out of work. I can't catch my breath over it some times though I know I did more than most would.  I tried. I just wish I would have done better… did more.

I can't stop thinking about how this is going to be me with no husband and no children and what happens if I have a dog... Who will take care of it?  Carey will. Carey will take care of it for me. ;-)

I know this isn't about me or my dog and the nurses are telling me I don't need to stay and Sweet Jimmy the nurse  is saying he doesn't want me to get sick and I should go. What if she wants me to go? I wasn't there when my Mother died in the hospice. I was in her bed with David and Gypsy and now everyone is going to be gone  - one by one until it's just me.

Alone.

I found this card on her night stand.

…and I found this in her dresser from one of the priest visits.

I put it one hand (because I don't want her to suffer eternal fire) and a plastic rosary in the other.

Sweet Jimmy is coming in more often and giving her morphine. I think she's comfortable. I'm not sure. Part of me is hoping it's going to be soon and part of me wants this to go on forever. I'm regretting changing her POLST when we went over it. I kind of wish I would have gone against her wishes and did more than comfort care.  I know this is no way to live but, I've said it before, is this the way to die?

I know I can leave but I don't want to. I remember when we were in Norfolk and Dave got the call about Daddy and I remember saying " I don't want him to die alone."

I don't want her to die alone either so I've decided to stay the night.

Friday, June 17, 2016

SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?
I was off today. I debated on going out. Chrissy and I didn't really have a plan and we had to get back to get my pretend/her real son to work so we knew it was going to be a lot of watching the clock and driving back and forth. I was worried about something happening to Glo (as always) and felt guilty for not being there. I saw her last night and she was - no better/no worse.
 
I haven't been feeling that great and not really getting anything done at the house or storage so in true SAP- study (or everything else) avoidance procedure, I chose to go play around. We did some shopping and then went to Elena's for lunch. I got the starfish.

We stopped at 380 Auction because Chrissy needed some flowers she can only find there. I didn't need any but ended up with a cart full by the time we left.

We dropped Michael off at work and kind of wandered aimlessly stopping here and there until it was dinner time and landed at this place that Sally told Chrissy about.

It turned out to be a fun day. I can't wait to go to sleep.

I want to go to bed and wake up twenty years ago.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

FIRST THING I WOULD DO IS TAKE THAT STUPID PIG WALLPAPER BORDER DOWN
If anyone is interested in a "gorgeous tudor style home" (lol) in Mt. Lebanon, check this out.  Nice neighborhood... great schools… has some abandonment issues.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

LIFE IS A BRIEF INTERMISSION BETWEEN BIRTH AND DEATH

There was a family council meeting tonight. I debated on staying since I know I won't be a family member for long...

Meeting went late. I went up to see Glo after. She was unresponsive all day. Room was dark. She was grimacing. Said water… which I think meant she peed.

I kept saying it was Jeannine.

She opened her eyes - I said how do you feel... she said "I feel terrific."

I think she was lying.

I said I love you - she said I love you too… you're a dear heart.

Hospice girls said she kept saying mother mary earlier today.

She's not eating or drinking - starving herself.

When she first got to the nursing home - shortly after - I brought some of her things over and took a picture of her holding a teddy bear that I had gotten her at the hospital gift shop when I was getting my radiation. She used to collect bears.

I took another one tonight.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
I just can't get it together - with him in the hospital and Glo dying, I have to call the party off. It's just not going to happen right now. My plates have officially come crashing to the ground.

The Ionadi's and Murphy's and Deb, Janel and Cara came to Johnny's for a little birthday dinner tonight.

We celebrated with a candle in a pecan ball.

Here's to 75…

Sunday, June 12, 2016

I HAVE A THING FOR GRAB BAGS AND PSYCHOLOGICAL TRAUMA
I got this grab bag at Miller's in Irwin on Friday. I really got it for the big eyed girl journal. I didn't know all the sharpies were in there.  Bonus.
 
Look what I found there too - we had this trivet above the stove at Dixon House. I don't know if it's still there or some place in storage so I bought another.
 
What a horrible, traumatic quote for me, huh!?  Seriously. Can you read what it says?

"What Piglet likes best is TAKING CARE OF THINGS like gardens and friendships."