The Nephew and family from the East have been a pleasant visit for my Aunt. They have been gracious and gentle. My Aunt was very close to the nephew’s grandmother (her sister), who raised him when his father & incapable mother abandoned him and the siblings.
My aunt couldn’t communicate much. She raised a wobbly hand and sought out the nephew’s hand. She would give a small smile and close her eyes, looking content.
The beat slowly goes on. Lowered BP, lowered pulse rate, shallow breathing with the same alarming, long pauses. The spark of life is amazing.
For me, sleep seems impossible to maintain. The clock ticking (why don’t you take it down you think), the uncomfortable chairs, the headaches. If you have any serious aches this process of discomfort and tension will bring them to a higher level. It is easy to forget to eat, drink water, to move. As many have said, you must take care of you in this entire process…not just the end of life vigil, but rather day to day way back once your commit to your loved one.
So far, and the primary care giver at my aunt’s facility has substantiated this, I have noticed the residents are seldom visited by loved ones. Once a week at best, they arrive for an hour and depart. The longer you stay away, somehow it becomes easier to stay away. Some rationalization must result that gives ease to guilt, regrets, a sense of duty.
I have met one lady, the daughter of a resident, that openly complains that her mom was brought back from death’s door. The money, the inheritance. They are not footing the bill, the mom is and that creates resentment as the money pours out in sizeable chunks each month of life.
Another resident’s wife seems to take frequent trips out of town with ‘girlfriends’.
Another, when told her mom was slipping away was ‘tied up’ at the moment. Living but 15 minutes away, her mother passed away with the care giver by her side.
I am not judging, just observing and self evaluating too. Right now the sense of love, obligation, duty combine to make it necessary to be with my aunt at all hours and the result is exhaustion. Obviously, if the lifeline is extended out and unpredictable then work, family, one’s health must not be wrecked. Finding the balance is ever harder as the process extends. Others have had to decide where their limits were. As I said, I am not judging.