Wednesday, July 21, 2010
"I'm sure she is," I said as I looked out the back door. On the banister, were two butterflies...if you are familiar with Moma's last day, you'll know the significance of that...it's Wednesday, two weeks since Moma went to her new home.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
“Write what Moma?” I asked.
“You’re going have to write it cause it will be a mess if I do.”
“Help me understand, Moma.” I got a piece of paper and a pen. “What do you want me to write?”
“Wanda Francis,” she said. “Wanda Kay Francis”
“Well, why am I writing your name, Moma?”
Desperately wanting to understand and please her, “What do you want me to write on it, Moma?”
“You figure out what you want to write on it.” “You don’t have to even sign my name, you can sign yours.”
So, I wrote Wanda Francis at the top of the page…
Then I wrote:
Wanda Kay Francis is my dear Moma. She is fighting a terminal cancer; renal cell. At this point she is unable to get out of the bed, unable to connect her thoughts enough to communicate what’s really on her mind and gets frustrated because of it. Despite her not being able to leave the bed, the room or the house she continues to find things to smile about. She remains beautiful as she is in her last days and everyone who visits her or sees her photos acknowledge her true beauty.
I am extremely blessed to be able to care for her in her last days. I long for her to be without pain and be able to walk again in heaven with her Creator; the God she raised me to know and love.
Wanda Kay Francis is my Moma and I am blessed for all the years I have been able to share with her.
And I signed it, Donna Lynn
She looked over at me and asked so sweetly, “Why the tears?”
I told her that I had figured out what to write and it pulled at my heartstrings.
I asked her, “Do you want me to read it to you?”
She nodded yes.
When I had finished, she looked at me lovingly and I said, “I just love you, Moma.” And she said, “You know I love you, too.”
As we looked through Moma’s boxes of belongings a few days after her passing, we found notebook after notebook…writings…journaling…looks like I came by it naturally…Moma even wrote in her sleep…her left hand writing in the air.
She couldn’t write probably the last 5 months of her life…that was hard on her. I will continue to write…in her honor.
Written hours after Moma passed as I struggled to accept her final day on 07/07/2010.
Today Dr. Nichols came to see Moma’s leg with the skin tear. When she was here, she listened to Moma’s heart, lungs and breathing. All was good. No sign of secretions, fluid build up, all is good…by the way; let’s take her off the lasik and use only as needed.
It wasn’t even a half hour after the doctor left, at approximately 11:15 am, that Moma started breathing raspy. Granny and Aunt Juanita visited early, too. Moma was eating her biscuits and gravy. Aunt Juanita remarked as she left, “She seems real weak today.”
Cathy came to the door and brought supplies for the skin tear and I redressed Moma’s leg. No infection, the doctor had said…and I praised Moma for being so strong.
Moma slept after that until I woke her at 3 PM. Ezra came to visit about that time and Moma got out of drinking the apple juice solution for her bowels. She told Ezra after a short bit that she was so tired and needed to sleep.
I changed her, she was so extremely soaked, I just thought it was the lisik…and she slept until about 6PM. I fixed her a plate of sloppy joe and baby carrots. She took a bite of the sloppy joe and a bit of the baby carrots and just couldn’t handle swallowing them. So, we switched to an ice cream sundae cup from Schwans. She ate 75% of it, but could not hold the cup like she usually does. She held the spoon and I helped her get a bite on the spoon. She started getting so raspy that she felt she was choking. I told her about some medicine that Hospice had left with me just in case this happened because it happens sometimes with their patients. (Hyomax FT) And we took one of the pills to dry up the secretions. A bit later, we took one more. She was very restless and kept asking me to sit her up. She coughed or at least tried to over and over. I would hold her in my arms with my body supporting her back, her boney arms wrapped around my left arm, so many times, I lost count.
At one point as I was lying her back down she told me, “I can’t do this much longer.”
“Do what, Moma, cough so much?”
She shook her head no.
“Just do the whole thing?”
And she shook her head yes.
I called Hospice to talk with a nurse about a pain pill and a worry pill (that’s what we call the Ativan) and as to whether that would be okay to take with the hyomax. It was, the nurse Calvin informed me. So I gave Moma both. I laid her on her right side for a spell…that lasted about 20 mins., all the while sitting her up here and there to cough. I moved from the stool beside her bed where I had been the whole time and sat on the other bed to rest my back. She asked me to put her back on her back, I did. Eventually I moved back to the other bed. She never let herself go back to sleep. She had been awake since 6pm.
Melanie texted me and asked about Moma…I filled her in…and she asked if she should leave and come on down. I told her no…it would probably be fine. That was around 8:30pm.
Around 9:30, she looked over at me and let out a moan. I got up and sat back on the stool and petted on her, her heart was beating so fast. I checked her pad and it was so full of bowel movement. I told her I had to get it off of her and I would do it quickly so she could rest. I went to the door and yelled for Papa so he could call Melanie, as there was finality in the moments. As I turned her to her right side she seemed to start breathing differently and I noticed her grip on the rail loosened. I tried to clean her quickly…I keep saying, “Moma, hang in there,” “Moma, you aren’t supposed to go like this, wait Moma”…and I turned her back. When I saw her face, I knew she was leaving. I told her it was okay, that she can go, “I’m okay, Moma, I’m ready now, it’s okay.” She drew maybe, three slower breathes. Her fingers turned purplish, her mouth was rigid, her eyes were fixed. And then she was gone. Papa had to tell me as I held her hand in mine, and the other on her heart, that she was no longer with us. I desperately wanted to feel life in her.
I can’t tell you exactly what I feel. Should I have tried to hook her up to oxygen? Should I have picked her up and maybe she would have breathed easier? Should I had stopped trying to keep the bowel movement from getting all over and just turned her back over? I just felt I could have done something to make it better for her.
But Papa tells me, and Ariel…that she passed with me helping her, cleaning her up, holding her hand…and that is all I could have done and that’s all she would have wanted.
And yet, today…I told Rosie that I felt like the summer would be gone before I could spend time with Molly and Jake…and I told Craig, that she doesn’t even look like my mother anymore…and those thoughts create guilt.
I remember something very interesting that happened in the late afternoon of Moma’s passing…Moma always told her children if a butterfly landed on something it meant you would get that very something new. I remember the laundry hanging out in the backyard thinking as I saw butterflies land on them about the new clothes we would be getting, even though the majority of our clothing came from “missionary boxes”…at about 4:30 there was a brownish orange butterfly that kept hanging on the front door, on the front glass, fluttering around when Craig shooed it away and laying again on the front door frame. We laughed about who would be getting the new house…Me and Papa, Craig or Ariel (they were the only kids at the house at the time)…or maybe, William would go off to the Air Force early, we jested. We totally forgot about Moma being the recipient…and yet, she’s the one who, at the end of the day, who got the new house…just as the butterfly had predicted…a new home in heaven…a new body with Christ.
And a big part of my "inner child", wants to tell Moma about that. I know she would smile, clasp her hands together and say, "That's beautiful."
---------Sometimes you get sick and you don't get better...that's when life is short, even in it's longest days. --John Cougar Mellencamp