Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bedside

Holding her hand. Staring at it, trying to memorize every line and vein and bruise and scar. Will I remember this in a year? Will I remember this in a week?

Watch her chest. Up and down. Up and down. Up and down. Oh god, is she breathing? Up and down. Yes. Up and down. Yes.

“I love you so much, mommy.”

“I love you, baby.”

Up and down. Up and down. Up and down.

Moaning in pain. Crying out. Shaking.

Whispering. “I can't do this, baby. I can't handle this anymore. I can't do this. I'm so sorry, baby.”

“It's okay, mommy. Please don't be sorry. It's okay that you need to go. You don't have to stay for me, mommy. You've made me brave and strong. And I have a life I love now. I have a life you can be proud of. You don't have to stay for me. It's okay if you need to go. I don't want you hurting anymore. I don't want you to hurt ever again.

I love you so much, mommy. So much. And you won't hurt anymore. You don't have to be afraid. You never have to be afraid again. It's okay that you need to go. You don't have to worry about me anymore. I promise. I'll be okay. Because you taught me how.”

Crying so hard I can't see. Giving her permission; trying so hard to take her guilt away.

Up and down. Up and down. Up and down. Crying in pain. Labored breathing. Convulsing. Up and down. Up and down. Up and down. Words I can't understand. Words I can't hear. Apologizing again and again. Begging for it to be over. Begging for the pain to stop.

“I didn't expect it to be like this. I didn't expect it to hurt so much. I'm sorry, baby, I can't handle it anymore.”

Whispering again and again, “I love you, mommy. It's okay if you have to go. I promise I'll be okay. I just never want you to hurt again.”

She says, “Get a nurse.”

“What's wrong?”

“Get a nurse, something's wrong. I'm doing something wrong. I'm trying to die and it's not working.”

Jesus christ. How can I not love this crazy woman? I'm so my mother's daughter. I explain to her, again, that they can't help her die. They won't, even if she wants them to.

For hours we're silent except for her moaning in pain and whispered words I can't make out. I hold her hand and watch her chest. Up and down. Up and down. Up and down.

Eventually she tells me to leave; to go home and rest. She tells me to come back tomorrow because, “this is taking longer than I expected.” As if she thought she'd just decide to die and it would happen. I will miss this hilarious, ridiculous woman so incredibly much. I balk but she insists. I kiss her hands and her face, whispering, “I love you. I love you so much.”

Up and down. Up and down. Up and down.

19 comments:

  1. I can't imagine the pain and gear you must be going through right now. My thoughts are with you and your beautiful mother. <3

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  2. This reminded me of the Journey that I took with my grandma when passed away from cancer. Even after 8 years the memories can bring a flod of tears back. One would think that I, as a nurse would be able to handle these things when it came to my own family as I do it all the time for my patients, it is diffrent!

    Give your mom a Hug for me and thank her for her gift to world which is you !

    BIG HUGS!

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  3. You two love each other so, so much.

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  4. I hate cancer. Its always too fast and its never fast enough. Fuck cancer, man. You are so amazingly strong. I wish I had gotten to meet your mama, I bet she is an amazing person. Just like you...

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  5. I am holding you and your mother in the Light. Bless you both and may your pain be comforted and her pain eased.

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  6. I love how much you love your mom. Thank you for sharing.

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  7. Love and love and so much love. I'm glad you're able to be there for her.

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  8. I'm so sorry. My heart is breaking for you right now. <3 Be strong dear. I know you will - you always are.

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  9. there is nothing harder but more valuable than giving someone you love the peace and comfort and yes, permission, to leave. my thoughts are with you - i know this hurts. xo

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  10. You say they won't help her even if she asks them to, but that's not entirely true. When my grandmother was dying the hospital offered to adjust her medication in such a way that would ease her transition. This is not an unavailable option.

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  11. Oh wow, that is powerful and so touching. I am sorry you are going through this. Is she on hospice and/or can they not control her pain?

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  12. Thank you for sharing this Heidi. I can't begin to imagine how you feel but you seem so very strong. I shall be thinking of you constantly in the days to come and send much love to you from here. xx

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  13. I'm so glad that you are able to tell her it is ok to go.....it has given her some peace and you will never regret it. I'm so sorry that both of you are going through this. Will the doctor give her enough morphine to help her let go?

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  14. Noob here. My Mama fell and hit her head. 12 days she was dead. I feel your pain. Mama was 80 yoa at time of death. I will pray for the transition to be swift and peaceful. I am so glad you were/are there for her and you. Peace. you are an awesome writer and a beautiful soul. Surely you got that from your Mama. Donna

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  15. Oh Heidi, you're so strong, I'm sure that your being there is helping your mother beyond anyone's ability to express with words.

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  16. Oh, honey. I love you and your mom. And you know what, whatever waits for her on the other side IS going to be lovely and calm and peaceful and beautiful because the two of you MADE IT SO. The things you're telling her are truly the best last gift, and release, a person could ever have. You are fantastic, to be able to be here in this moment and connect like that, Heidi. Truly.

    As far as pain goes, why isn't the hospital letting her have a morphine drip she can control? Isn't that what they're supposed to do?

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  17. Your mom is fucking cool! She sounds like she's staying true to herself no matter what shit is thrown at her. You are so good to her and she will never forget that. Don't forget about yourself though. You need your friends right now...give them a call!

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