Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Climbing out of a cave.....

I feel like I am climbing out of a cave after this last job.

The woman was a beautiful Catholic woman who passed away yesterday morning. She had the most loving family who chose to sit by her side every day, from early in the morning until about 9:00 in the evening, as she worked her way forward.

It required that I, the 24 hour caregiver, be "on" constantly. Always needing to find a kind answer, words of comfort, or quick information, on the tip of my tongue. An explanation for why something was happening....anywhere from her cheeks pinking up to changes in her breathing. Lots of opinions were generously shared all.day.long.....she is bothered by the noise of the O2 machine, no no I think the white noise of the O2 machine is a comfort to her, the pillows are making her uncomfortable, well she does like one under knees, she likes to lay flat on her back, she's dying... are pressure sores really a concern, do we really need to change her position every 3 hours, are you sure we shouldn't be giving her water (she was in a coma) .....to gossip about about how quickly the dying woman's money got moved into another relatives own bank account the day she came to town, who uses medicinal cannabis and why (anxiety,) one shared her many "parodies" that she performs, her poetry, her writings.....endlessly. There was some jockeying for position and then watching in the last moments, all, dropping their swords and come together to love their mom, their aunt, their sister-in-law into the next world.

That moment is why I do this job. I get to watch people change and rise to the occasion. I get to see forgiveness in action, I get to watch people process their lives and face their mortality....usually with great courage and humor and some sadness. Not wanting to be done yet. Not wanting the ride to be over, wanting to know how the grand kids will turn out, worrying that they will miss those they have shared their lives with and then I get to watch them eventually come to that place of total peace that all will be fine. Their relationships are in order, loose ends are tied up, love has been voraciously shared and they can go now with no regrets. Its a beautiful thing I tell you.....a beautiful imperfect process that causes people to reach into themselves and tap into this inner strength that they may not have known they even possessed.

On the home front, my girl relapsed. Hopefully she will pick up where she left off in her recovery and begin again. She tells me she is trying to, working with her sponsor, being honest with those she meets with. Meanwhile, I am praying.

Much love to all.....
Annette




14 comments:

Isabetta said...

Dear Annette, your post is beautiful, your spirit is kind and generous. You have so much to give, and you give me strength through your writing. To help others as you are doing is an act of grace. It truly demonstrates your strength as a person.

Prayers for your girl, and strength and love to you all.

Isabetta

Mrs. Dubose said...

I am praying WITH you. I have added your daughter to my very heartfelt prayers. Seeing the word relapse makes me sick to my stomach. Hang in there! You are not alone!

notmyboy said...

All they can do is pick themselves up, dust themselves off and begin again. All we can do is pray. I'm praying for your girl. I know she can do it.

Anonymous said...

My son is now six months "clean" and looking at the next step in the process of recovery. But he is not answering his phone or responding to messages which is filling me with dread. Trying to remain in the moment and think positive and praying a TON!
My prayers will include your girl and your family.

Kathy

Birdie said...

I agree with every bit of why we do what we do. People always are in awe when I tell them I do palliative care but it is the most amazing job I have ever done. I can't imagine doing anything else.

I am sorry to hear about your daughter. Recovery is a tough road to walk and I am glad she has you to love her as she walks it.

Syd said...

It's so good that you were there. It took a while to grieve Mom and Pop. And yesterday was the anniversary of my Dad's death. I miss him a lot. But hopefully, they are all part of the great energy now.

Sorry about your girl. But it's good that she is with her sponsor and picking up where she left off. Thinking of her and you,.

Dad and Mom said...

i was reading along actually absorbing everything and the I got to your last paragraph……..Forgot everything before that.

I want so bad every parent to feel the joy of their child in recovery. It hurts me to know how much hurt there is in mother and fathers.

Topper said...

Annette: I always get so much out of your writing. Your shared experience reminds me of how our lives are a chain of "one day at a time". I am so sorry to hear the news about your girl. I think of recent posts when you wrote of good, normal days with her. When I spend time with my addict son, I remind my self to enjoy today. I am so glad you had those recent good days and hope and pray for many more for you and your girl.

Mary Christine said...

For some people, it takes more than one try. For some, it takes many tries. With each effort, there is something learned. I'll be praying for your girl. I hope she doesn't have much more to "learn."

Liz said...

Oh Annette, I am so sorry to hear about your daughter. You once wrote a prayer that I printed out and I read every day- it gives me strength. Today and always when I say that prayer, I will say it for you and your daughter too. And all of us POA's.

Pam said...

Oh my, I know how difficult and helpless that one little word can be! We (my family) are at that scary place also. I am sorry to hear this for your girl! I know the sorrow this brings not only to you and your family, but to her. the Good News is... she is still trying and that is WONDERFUL!!!!

Much Love right back at ya!

Hattie Heaton said...

Praying for H in her recovery. For me when relapse happens, I tend to be more weary than afraid. But, it seems like she is taking responsibility. I know you must be tired...praying for you too.

beachteacher said...

I felt like Ron -- reading along -- nodding my head at your beautiful descriptions ( SO spot on) of family as they go through the death journey of a parent together. And then -- your girl's relapse. I'm sorry - it made me say, "oh no" out loud. I will
Step up my prayers for her recovery. She's still on her way though -- hold on to that. And wow-- your depiction of the process of the adult children gathering as the parent passes,...so true. I so love your line about them putting down their swords . I went through this with both my own mom & then my father in law - who was like a father to me. It was very very difficult-- but also one of the most loving experiences I've ever been through -- both times.

Tori said...

Beautiful story Annette.

I am so sorry to hear about your daughter. It is great news that she was honest and is back to trying.

Prayers for your little girl and you Annette... you are an inspiration.