Saturday, May 2, 2020
“There is a place of full release, near to the heart of God, a place where all is joy and peace, near to the heart of God.”
I’m sitting at my dying mother-in-law’s bedside. Mark and I have been taking turns sitting with her so she wouldn’t feel alone. Brother Todd came over today too, and that’s been very helpful. I have been caring for this woman for almost 11 years. Caring for her has become my life. Any time I wanted to take a few hours off to run an errand or see a friend, I had to cover myself. Longer trips, to see my own mom, or children and grandchildren really took planning. I had to make and freeze meals for every day we would be gone so the caregiver would feed her what she liked.
Last week we joked that Mom was going to outlive us all, even though she has this football-sized tumor. She has not suffered any pain because of it, other than that one day in December when she was in so much pain that we took her to emergency. They did a scan and found a tumor so big that the doctors shook their heads and said there was nothing they could do. We started Mom on hospice at home just before the new year.
Then, on Wednesday morning, April 29th, Mom woke up with pain in her abdomen. It wouldn’t go away, so I gave her a teeny bit of morphine. She was fine the rest of the day, and on Thursday, when she awoke, I asked if she had any pain. “No pain,” she said. “Praise the Lord! I have no pain!” But by 2:30 in the afternoon, everything changed. The pain grabbed hold of her and made her shudder uncontrollably. Our Livingston hospice nurse, Hana, came right over and determined that the pain was very real. She discussed with us Mom’s need for pain management, and morphine was the only medicine that even touched the pain. I don’t know what changed so quickly, and why the pain took hold the way it did, but here we sit, two days later, watching this woman we love die. We try to keep the agony at bay with morphine. It’s dreadful to be in this position, knowing that the medicine that gives her relief will kill her, and yet having to decide to go ahead with it.
With the increase of morphine, Mom sleeps a lot. I play classic hymns loud enough for her to hear them. Once in a while I’ll look and see her mouthing the words to the hymns.
“And when this flesh and heart shall fail, and mortal life shall cease, I shall possess within the veil a life of joy and peace. Amazing Grace how sweet the sound.”
Here you will find 2 1/2 hours of Classic Hymns