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banjoy - Posted - 05/26/2020: 05:47:15
Two years ago my mother entered an assisted living facility, and my brother and me became Powers of Attorney over her living estate and we were faced then with the sad but necessary duties of selling my mom's house and liquidating all her possessions. This had to be done quickly so she could afford to pay for assisted living, which is where she has been since April 2018. She did well in such an environment, as she was no longer able to care for herself and was in physical decline. There, she received three warm meals a day, measured on-time medications, and friendship. She actually prospered in this environment.
One of the last posts I made here was a few months ago when the pandemic lockdowns began. My brother and I had planned on lunch with my mom but were turned away at the door and could not enter the building. Her assisted living facility was in full lockdown and that was that.
Over the last two months mom's phone battery kept dying and she kept losing her phone charger, so I only got to speak with her two or three times by phone. I did learn from her that soon after the quarantine started, that she was in some degree of pain, and that the facility had confined all residents to their rooms. So, for about a month of the last two month's of mom's life, she was unable to see family, was confined to her room, and had a lot of difficulty staying in touch with family. During this time her health declined rapidly and we simply did not know.
On Mother's Day, two weekends ago, my brother and me dropped off some potted plants and a card to the assisted living facility, but by then mom's health had deteriorated so much (something we were not fully aware of then) such that she could not even come to the lobby so we could see each other.
On Monday, May 18, we got a call from hospice that she was being moved to their facility called "Hospice Home," a 15 bed facility where personal direct help is given as folks ease into death. Only two months before mom passed, we had changed hospice service providers back to Spartanburg Regional Hospice, a non-profit facility that actually cares. Anyway, they own and operate Hospice Home.
The move to Hospice Home had the benefit that my brother and me could visit mom again. We visited her as much as we could on May 19 and 20. She never regained consciousness, except for a moment when she came to and was moaning and crying in agony. She had been in considerable pain, as we learned, and had not eaten food or drank water in probably a week. Once she entered Hospice Home, they discontinued her insulin and only provided comfort drugs of ativan, haldol and morphine. In the last 24 hours of her life, she did not require any medication, she never regained consciousness again.
On May 19 we arranged a time for my west coast siblings to call one at a time and I held the phone to mom's ear and each was able to express their love and say their goodbyes. On May 20, I brought my banjo to Hospice Home, and, when the moments felt right, I played for her, quietly, without picks, sitting right next to her, for an hour or so.
Mom passed away peacefully at 12:15am on Thursday morning. I am thankful we got to spend some moments with her in her last days. Right now, with this lockdown, so many families are separated from their loved ones, so many people are dying alone. It's a sad time.
Last Saturday, my brother and me drove up to Swannona, North Carolina to share the news with our sister, who is mentally retarded and in a beautiful group home there (I am her legal guardian) … to share the news. We then had pizza and cheesecake. Between waves of grief and tears, pizza helps!
I will be picking up my mom's cremains in the next few days, and will be driving her remains to be buried at Brush Creek Cemetery in Tennessee, a beautiful spot, in the next month or two. Maybe I'll bring a banjo. Maybe I can jam with some of you guys in middle Tennessee. I would welcome that.
Rest in Peace mom. I love you. Forever and a Day.
eagleisland - Posted - 05/26/2020: 05:54:11
A sad tale, Frank. Prayers going up for your mom, and your entire family. And all of those who are dealing with similar struggles these days.
DC5 - Posted - 05/26/2020: 05:59:41
Frank, there are no words to express my grief at your loss. I lost my own mother 19 years ago, but it seems like yesterday, and 8 years ago we went through much of what you went through with my mother-in-law. We didn't have C-19 to deal with so we could visit. I held my mother's hand as she drew her last breath, but a blizzard prevented us from visiting my MIL on the night she passed away, Christmas eve. I wish you all the strength you need to get through this.
Paul R - Posted - 05/26/2020: 06:13:51
Such a sad state in so many ways. I am very sorry for your loss and for your being out of touch for so long. Condolences to you, your family, and all whose lives were touched by your mother.
Wet Spaniel - Posted - 05/26/2020: 06:15:03
Very sorry to hear that Frank, best wishes to you and your family. I would never think to give anyone advice at such a time as this, but from my own personal experience, I can promise you that at some time in the future, when you think of her, it will bring a smile to your face rather than teasers to your eyes. Take care.
rinemb - Posted - 05/26/2020: 06:25:37
Thank you, for sharing your story. May she rest in peace and comfort. Brad
slammer - Posted - 05/26/2020: 06:44:02
Hey Frank, sooooooo sorry for your loss!!! You and I are the same age and I have been very fortunate as to not having to go through anything like that yet as I still have both my parents.
I have not seen my parents since last November and with some of the restrictions lifted in our area, I was able to travel to Wisconsin to see them this weekend !!!
I got the biggest hug ever from my mom when we arrived and left their home.
I am virtually sharing that hug from my mom with you right now !!! It doesn’t matter how old one is, it’s still your mom!!!
Again, condolences to you and your family !!!
Wyozark - Posted - 05/26/2020: 06:52:54
So very sad Frank. My mom is also in assisted living and my brother and I are experiencing very similar issues. The virus is in the unit, but thankfully Mom has yet to catch it. I call her twice a day, or more. We're too far away to visit; when my brother visits he must stand outside her closed window and talks to her via phone. She's still pretty feisty and it seems a contest as to whether it will be cabin fever or the virus that will hit her hardest.
I'm in the middle of a massive remodel so I haven't had much time to keep current on BHO. I'm trying to get as much done as I can so that If/When/Should the time come I'd like to bring her down to our sanctuary for a few weeks.
Will keep you and your family in my prayers.
bubbalouie - Posted - 05/26/2020: 07:05:45
Sorry to hear this Frank. I lost my Mom without the chance to hold her hand & say goodbye. I feel your pain.
banjoy - Posted - 05/26/2020: 07:17:35
I had debated whether to make this post and share this news ... I have seriously mixed feelings about this place lately ... but I'm glad I did. This is helping me with grief. It comes and goes in waves, like ocean waves ... thanks for this. Most of you to me are a screenname, I don't know you personally nor have we met. But still ... I feel the support, many of you have great empathy. I feel it in this moment and it means a lot. At a spirit level, I feel very much like I'm inside a tuning fork right now ... re-calibrating me. I have no other way to describe it.
I was with mom until 6pm Wednesday when I went home emotionally exhausted. I was going to decide whether to return back to Hospice Home ... and decided not to.
After mom passed, Hospice Home was kind enough to allow me and my brother to spend some time with her. She had passed, but we got to feel her body's warmth one last time, stroke her hair, hug her and say goodbye. We stayed with her maybe an hour after she passed. A welcomed eternity.
I'm going to disappear for a while. I have things to do now. Blessings to you guys, thanks for letting me share this here.
Leslie R - Posted - 05/26/2020: 07:20:41
Frank, I am so sorry for your loss. I'm very sorry for the separation from your mother you and your family had to endure. I'm very sorry for your Mother's experience in her final days.
It sounds like she was being well taken care of. If you are angry of the separation all of you had to endure, I would not blame you.
Sadly, this same scenario is being played out with countless others, including my own Mother in law.
I don't know what the answer is, but there must be something.
I hope I have said nothing inappropriate.
Please accept my condolences.
banjoy - Posted - 05/26/2020: 07:24:23
Not angry. Nor even on my radar. No one had any control over this stuff. You have not said anything inappropriate.
I am Thankful for the gifts we received in her last days.
Anything else, is dust in the wind.
Edited by - banjoy on 05/26/2020 07:25:53
mike gregory - Posted - 05/26/2020: 08:04:13
Texasbanjo - Posted - 05/26/2020: 08:14:38
Frank, I can emphasize. My mother spent her last month in a nursing home and went from a vibrant, yet senior lady to someone I didn't recognize. Although I visited her frequently, she wasn't the mother I knew, but some stranger who was living in the past and sometimes didn't recognize me. That hurt.
Losing your mother is one of the worst things that you can go through, but you will get through it. Takes time and letting yourself grieve and remembering the good times will help. If you have someone you can talk to about her, that will help too.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this very difficult time.
chuckv97 - Posted - 05/26/2020: 08:21:48
Frank, thanks for telling us the sad journey you had during your mother’s last days. I extend my deepest condolences. My mother had Alzheimer’s so the end was really a few years before she passed. Prayers and best wishes.
figmo59 - Posted - 05/26/2020: 09:38:00
Prayers to you n yours Frank..
Bill Rogers - Posted - 05/26/2020: 11:57:37
My condolences and sympathy, Frank. My mom died some years ago in a memory-care facility. It’s never easy, but cope with it we must. Take care.
Lynne - Posted - 05/26/2020: 15:31:56
I wasn’t able to be with my mom at the end. She was in Colorado and I was in Calif.
She went downhill rather quickly but my sister called me and I was able to tell talk to her. She may not have been fully conscious but I am truly convinced she heard me and knows that even if I wasn’t physically there for her I was with her mentally.
So sorry for your loss.
nakigreengrass - Posted - 05/26/2020: 17:23:52
It's a sad day for a man when his Mum dies...I feel for you Frank. If you are like me....you will remember all the things she tried to teach you...and that will bring your smiles back.
BanjoLink - Posted - 05/26/2020: 21:25:02
Frank ..... so sorry to hear about your mom. Although at her age and condition, there was nothing that she could do for you, just the fact that she is no longer here leaves an empty spot in your heart. It did when my mother passed. It just brought a comfort knowing that my mom was here. It will get easier over time, but nothing ever really replaces a mother's love.
dflowers - Posted - 05/27/2020: 11:37:35
Sorry to hear of your loss, Frank.
dmiller - Posted - 05/27/2020: 17:18:33
My prayers and condolences for you and yours also Frank. My Mom is 92 and still able to live at home, though she is needing more and more help with "little things" which (with this covid-19) is getting harder and harder for us to do. My Dad passed away 9 years ago, and we were able to be there as a family with him in the end which is as it should be. No one should have to die alone.
Edited by - dmiller on 05/27/2020 17:20:37
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