Mum arrived home from Florida on Thursday. She flew back to Menlo Park with Steve, my step dad, he took her First Class all the way, just as he was helping me with airfare so I could travel where and when needed. I arrived the same day after a quick trip through Colorado. Mum was tired and in pain, so uncomfortable that she could barely sit still. The hospice had provided little new, they did arrange for a hospital bed, a wheelchair, an odd “portable” potty.
We settled in. Mum looked 7 months pregnant. But her body was literally skin and bones. She wasn’t eating really. We kept trying different things. Whatever she thought sounded good we would get. I had found about a process that could drain the fluid from her abdomen but it could not be done at home and her experiences at Stanford coupled with her terror of dying in a hospital made it impossible to get her anywhere to have that procedure. I just wanted her to be comfortable – we both knew her time was limited.
Friday, I introduced her to the term binge watching We binge watched Alpha House and when her discomfort overwhelmed her ability to sit we would walk around the block. My mum was 76, just about a week from her passing. We did about the same on Saturday. Mum was so proud of herself. She was now up with the practice of binge watching. Sunday was mum’s day. Her great-niece and her girlfriend came over. Before they got there mum felt well enough to eat a bit. She then insisted on going out and sweeping the sidewalk. She had to make it easier for the mother’s of the neighborhood to push their strollers. I always teased her about sweeping. She was compulsive about her sweeping. When she finished the sidewalk. I joked that there were still leaves on the street. So when Jenn and Jess got to the house mum was sweeping the street.
They had brought chips, mum was craving them and brie and other snacks. We continued our binge watching. That Sunday we discovered that brie and chips are delicious. Mum ate more than she had for quit a while. It wasn’t a lot but it was more. One of mum’s dearest friend arrived not long after the girls left. They chatted and even played a bit on their fiddles. Mum ate some more. It was kind of amazing. It was the day that makes you think maybe…
The next day mum was weaker. She and Lorna played one tune, three times. It was called Pat Cooksey and her Pet Cat Hannah. It was a song her friends had written for her. We needed to get Lorna to the station so she could catch her train. I caught mum trying to put on her shoes. It wasn’t happening. I started to help her and knew she wasn’t coming with us. I was desperate as I took Lorna to the metro stop and made sure she got to the right place so she could get to the train and get home. I raced home. Mum was on the couch. She wanted to watch the last episodes of Alpha House. Then she want to bed. It was the last time she would be up on her own.
Later I read about that last burst of energy that many people have just before they die. It was a good day. I miss my mum so much.