I've been following the threads on end stage and the feelings that some have had about letting go. While I don't have any sage words of advice or anything like that, I can easily identify with those feelings. There have been a couple of times this past year that I thought mom was gone. One of those was last week. My wife and I had gone to Costco, and we had to take mom with us. While on our way back from there, I looked back in my rear-view mirror at mom.
What I saw worried me. Mom was just sitting there, eyes open, but with a blank stare. As I watched, I could see no sign of any movement, no respirations, no blinking of the eyelids, absolutely nothing that would indicate that she was alive and breathing. I couldn't help but think, "That's all I need is for her to die in the car." I turned my head and called out "Mom?" Then a little louder, "MOM!" Then just as I was about to stop the car, mom slowly took a breath and responded "What?" For the second time in the past year, my heart had jumped into my throat, and then took awhile to calm down afterwards.
Then after reading some of the posts these past few days, I wrote the following poem. This morning, while I was finishing it, my wife was getting mom up and dressed. A few minutes later, after I had shared this poem with my wife, she told me that while she was getting mom up, mom told her, "I told Heaven I was coming." Although I refrain from putting too much into her words at this stage of her disease, yet I couldn't help but think of the irony.
When it's Time to let go
God, it's so hard in my heart to let go.
Yet, really deep down, I'll have to, I know.
It's not like our children leaving the nest,
While we fret and worry, will they pass the test?
Our children are growing, becoming adults.
They'll learn to cope with their talents and faults.
But Lord, this is different. I cry bitter tears.
This is a parent, for whom I'm in fear.
This is my mother, who loved me so much.
Now she is in need of my soft gentle touch.
Though she's my mother, it's just not the same.
She no longer knows me, can't call me by name.
Her speech is garbled, it's so hard to hear.
Her memory's regressed to her childhood years.
Where is my daddy? I hear her say,
Or: I killed my mother day after day.
Her time will come, I know that and yet,
I must be honest, and so I confess.
I will not be ready to say my good-bye.
To really back off, and let her soul fly.
Lord, give me strength and the wisdom to know,
And also the courage, when it's time to let go.
© 1999, Jerry Ham