30 March 2009

Liminal

She smiled at me yesterday. It was a fleeting moment of consciousness; mostly she’s in a liminal state – not asleep, but not responsive, eyes open but focused elsewhere.

It’s been a long process – a year ago, I wrote "She's barely eating, and sleeping a lot." A year ago, she entered hospice.

Now she’s taking a little water by syringe, and an occasional spoonful of jello.

She’s had full time care, at home, for the past year. In that time, she’s had homecooked meals, and visits from grandchildren, naps on the porch, and car rides for a change of scenery. Until recently, she could be gotten out of bed, and into a wheelchair, to eat fruit and toast and eggs at the kitchen table, the same spot at the kitchen table that she’s occupied for all of the more than 30 years she’s lived in the house.

No longer. Ten days ago, the hospice nurse told me that she seemed "comfortable", a word that somehow sounded like code for "the end is nigh". Last week, the nurse suggested that she’d be more comfortable in bed – she’d begun listing in the wheelchair, too weak to sit up. Now she’s bedbound, not much aware of her surroundings, her visitors.

And I look into her open eyes, gazing off into the distance, and I wonder – what’s going on in there?

37 comments:

kathy a. said...

((( magpie )))

The LIbrary Lady said...

Nothing I can say but--I get it.
And I'm thinking of you and yours.

daysgoby said...

Hugs to you, my friend.

Bron said...

It's so hard to think of her like that. She's has such a strong personality. But it also sounds like she's feeling peaceful and for that, I'm grateful.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

She can still hear, so now is the time to gather round and tell the stories one last time.

phd in yogurtry said...

So hard to know. She has you near and that's what I would want. My kids to be near.

nonlineargirl said...

thinking of you

flutter said...

You are a beautiful person to even wonder. So many don't

painted maypole said...

oh, i'm so sorry. i can't even imagine. sending love and prayers and strength and grace ...

de said...

I'm sorry. Even a protracted goodbye highlighted by good moments is disquieting.

Peace.

Kyddryn said...

She is floating in the middle place, the gloaming of life, thinking "What a curious place, neither here nor there" while she waits for the right puff of wind to soar away on.

She knows you are there, sweet tethers of loving, and she knows when it's time to fly you will release her, still loving.

You've done a fine thing, keeping her home - so many, these days, place their departing ones in facilities far away, forget to visit, have busy lives, come on holidays and occasional Sundays when the guilt is too much. So many die alone, truly lost in themselves.

I wish your family a peaceful transition.

Shade and Sweetwater,
K

Kyla said...

Oh Maggie. It has been a long process, but I'm sure it doesn't ease this part much.

((you))

slouching mom said...

here if you need me.

InTheFastLane said...

I am so sorry. This has to be the hardest part, watching her slip away.

RuthWells said...

Oh honey. Hugs to you.

Furrow said...

I've been wondering about how she is. I hope she's gone somewhere wonderful in there. I'll be thinking of you and her today.

Don Mills Diva said...

I have nothing to say except I am sorry you are dealing with this - it's the hardest thing in the world - I know that only too well... thinking of you...

Janet said...

I'm glad you were able to make her last year so comfortable, so filled with love. I wish I could say something to make it easier...(((magpie)))

Bethany said...

As always, you're in my thoughts. I have to believe that even in the in between place, she knows you are doting, ever loyal and loving. She knows.

Peace to you all.

Mayberry said...

Lots of love to you all, during all the blessings and curses that come with this process.

Mad said...

Hey you. The drawn out nature of it doesn't make it any easier. I'll be thinking of you as that chord--which was once literal and life-sustaining--simply slips out of your grasp. There are no words for the complexity of that moment and of all the moments that come right before and immediately after.

needleinahaystack said...

She has raised a fine woman, a fine mother, a fine writer, a fine friend and a wonderful human being.

Maybe that is what she is thinking...

jo(e) said...

(o)

Angeline said...

*huge hug*
No words are good enough...

Maggie May said...

Maybe she is just feeling love. I went through the same physical process with my Grandma, although I know it's different with a Mother, I remember so well the faraway eyes.

Kelly said...

I like to think that when we get to this stage of illness that we are engrossed in a wonderful daydream. The dream beckons us and we just slowly drift away from reality.

Like floating on a cloud.

heidi said...

{{{magpie}}}}} this must be tougher on you than on her. I keep thinking of how hard she must have worked, over so many decades... putting the shoes away, taking them out, chief officer in charge of that big house. And now, in the spring light, she gets to gaze off into space, and have peaceful moments.

Aunt Becky said...

Holding you close, M.

julochka said...

i normally love the liminal space, but i can see that this one isn't a fun place. thinking of you...

susan said...

Sending out lots of loving thoughts for all of you.

Mental P Mama said...

A path I know all-too-well. Sending you all my thoughts and prayers.

Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo said...

<3 babe.

I can only imagine how you are feeling right now, but my thoughts are with you.

Nadine said...

Just sending hugs...,

daisy said...

Ah, I'm sorry. That's such a tough place to be. Inevitable, but not desired.

I've been there, too. Not many words to say, but I'll be thinking of you.

Woman in a Window said...

Shit. If i'm here overwhelmed by your story then how are you? Shit.

Gwen said...

That's heartbreaking. I know how it feels to care for a sick loved one at the end of her life. It's so hard. It sounds like you are doing a really good job at taking care of your mom while still honoring her dignity. Please remember to take care of yourself, too. I'm here if you ever need to vent or talk (gwen6275@aol.com). I really mean that. Take care. And again, I'm so sorry for all that you and your mom are going through.

musing said...

I'm so sorry.