People commented about how we brought her home to die. They said we gave her a gift…. Or that it took a lot of courage. I don’t have a lot to say about how it all transpired. She had a stroke, she couldn’t swallow. The hospital did all the tests they could bill then set a time to discharge her to the nursing home. It was pretty clear what that meant. “Hum…, let me see…, die in the nursing home, or die at home…?” The only thing that surprised me a bit was the resistance I got from the hospital nurse. “Did we have a hospital bed at home?” “Could we assure that that meds would be there?” “Did we know what was involved?” I was kind of set back…. Well “no”. I didn’t have a hospital bed at home,” and “no,” about the meds, and “no,” about what I was in for. Thank God for the hospice people who said yes? “Yes, go for it.” They said they would take care of it and they did. They were awesome. (They were really awesome. You have no idea. They empowered me to make one of the best decisions of my life and came through on everything they said they would do.)
People comment about how hard it must have been to go through this. It was hard - in some ways. But in other ways, it was a lot easier than I had imagined. My mom knew she was going to die. I am certain about this. She knew. She faced it with the same courage she faced all the trials in her life: when her mom sent her to boarding school in Denver; when her first husband brought her to the edge of the Aortic Circle to live, and teach, and raise her new child; when she got divorced in Albuquerque; when she married a second time to a man with eight kids; when she went through her own mom’s death in her own living room; when she faced her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s; when she sold her house and went to an assisted facility; when she moved into the memory wing with nothing left in her life but loved ones. My mom knew she was dying and faced it with elemental courage. I witnessed it up close. Face to face. Cheek to cheek. Breath to breath. Kiss to kiss.