When I would try to figure out if I should go to see my dying mom my daughter Tracy used to say, "Mom, you'll know when it's time." October 5Th was time---and I KNEW IT.
Mom had been falling; not eating; and was hospitalized after several visits to Er's. When I called my sister and told her I was coming, she did not try to talk me out of it as she had in the past. I KNEW IT WAS TIME.
I packed, not knowing how long I would be in Michigan. Keith came with me as I had not been on an airplane since my very unpleasant Hawaii trip---but that's another story. We left out of John Wayne Airport... tickets some cheaper and not that far to get to. Our flight was uneventful and we arrived in Detroit Metro without incident. We rent a car and are off for the two hour trip to Saginaw.
Did I mention it was our 47Th wedding anniversary??? We looked for a place to eat as the airlines do not serve anything. We were dog tired and hungry. We saw a sign for "CHILI DOGS", Keith's favorite food of all kinds. I suggest we go there and his face lit up like it did the Christmas I told him he didn't have to come shopping with me. We enjoyed a hot dog and some onion rings. Well---not exactly enjoyed but we had eaten in worse "joints" than that in our 47 years. We got back on the road as soon as we could.
We finally get to my sister's house. We enter and find that the living room has been converted to a mini apartment for mom. A hospital bed sits at an angle in the room, where it appears she would be able to see outside if she desired. There are two lounge chairs, one dad's and one is mom's. A nice size TV, but the big surprise is Mary had taken down her pictures and replaced them with the pictures mom had on the apartment walls. One is a very dated picture of me and my three sisters. Did I say outdated? Then there are pictures of mom and dad when they were married in 1955; one of dad in the service; a picture of dad's mom and one of mom's mother. A couple of frames with dad's medals in them and finished off with a "sick call crucifix." For those who don't know, that is a cross that was used when the priest came to the home to bless the dying person. It has two candles in it, which has a fitting place and should be lit. There is also a small bottle with holy water, that the priest uses to bless the patient. In the old days this call to the priest was when a person was definitely going to die. The priest would enter the house where he was met with the lit candles and led to the sick person's bed. This was called "Extreme Unction". Since Vatican ll, it is called "sacrament of the sick" and is often done while the patient is ambulatory and doing something as simple as a surgery for which he or she wants to be blessed.
I walk to mom's bed and she looks as though she is sleeping. I get a full report from my sister on how she was doing. It seems her first night, last night, she was more than a little upset that dad was not in bed with her or vice versa. She insisted that he come and get her to go into his bed. It took several times to tell her that dad needed his rest and that there was not room for her in the twin bed he was using. Mary says, pray there is no repeat, as she could hardly get her to settle. Let's see how good the "pediatric nurse" is with the geriatric patient. And so our journey begins.................