It is 2:05 a.m. on April 10. However, I have not yet been to sleep so this “counts” as my April 9th blog post.
Mondays are my day to be with Mama. Her wonderful day caregiver, Sherry, stays with Mama till I or one of my siblings arrives at 4:00 p.m. to make dinner with Mama, spend the evening and then stay overnight till dear Sherry arrives again at 9:00 a.m.
I usually spend the night at Mama’s house because it is easier for her. We make dinner together, often it is one of our traditional growing-up favorites – salmon patties, macaroni and cheese, peas and cinnamon applesauce. We then clean up the kitchen and settle into coloring or catching The Waltons on TV or singing songs from her church hymnal or just sitting in front of her fire. Then, always, a snack before bed. Mama’s choice is usually ice-cream.
Today I had run errands in the afternoon and ended up a bit tied up on my last one. I did not have time to run by home first to pack an overnight bag or drop the groceries I had picked up.
I got to Mama’s house and asked her if it would be okay if I took her to my house for the night. She was reluctant to get out in the cold and always prefers her own home, which is understandable. We gathered up a few of her things, locked her house up tight and made the 12 minute drive to my house.
We had a normal evening, though Mama seemed extra tired. About 8:45 I suggested we have our nightly snack and head to bed. Mama had been cold all evening so had been sitting on my sofa with a blanket wrapped around her legs. I asked if she wanted ice cream or hot chocolate. She chose the hot chocolate.
After getting Mama into her nice warm jammies she headed toward the bathroom before getting into bed. As she moved toward the door, she was unsteady and began to crumple. I called out to her and in three steps was at her side. She fell into my arms and I yelled down to my (doctor) husband for help. He came immediately, saw the situation and called 911. For what seemed like an hour was actually four or five minutes of Mama lying in my arms, making gurgling sounds, eyes open but not seeing. I called to her but she was not there. I held her and promised I would not leave her. My husband kept checking her pulse, it was very weak.
The life squad arrived and took Mama to the closest hospital. We followed in the car. All tests thus far have proven to be completely normal. Mama is in exceptionally good health for a woman one month shy of turning 90.
My husband had been telling me that, though Mama is healthy, at her age, anything can happen. Since I have only known her healthy, I guess I couldn’t completely comprehend that. Until tonight.
I thought I had lost Mama. I did not want her to die in my arms with those frightened, empty eyes looking but not seeing.
And now this. This sweet photo of one of the truly dedicated, loving nurses who helped take care of Mama. This is Melissa. She got Mama all tucked in for the night, er….for the morning, I should say.
I am in Mama’s lovely room just about to surrender to sleep on a comfy couch. Melissa brought me soft socks, a pillow and two warm blankets.
I will sleep for a short night. But I will keep one eye open and watch Mama’s chest gently lower and rise as she lives another day or week or year or ten. All I know for sure is that she has come back to me, at least for a while.