Thursday, November 24, 2016

The dark hours

Four years ago tonight, the RN from the Alzheimer's unit called about 3 in the morning and said I had to make a decision right then on whether I would enter my mother into hospice care that night (a legal, as well as medical, decision,) or have them transport her to the hospital for aggressive, invasive medical treatment. I had about five minutes to listen to her explain what was happening and tell her where we were all going next. 

I made the right decision, but to this day I feel like I signed her death warrant. I had to get up and go immediately to sign a sheaf of authorizations and have everything lawfully and properly explained by the hospice admitting nurse manager. I had no family to support me, no one ever put their arms around me to hold and comfort me, it was just me walking it out in a cold, cold blizzard that I feel again now.

Who understands what it's like to sit in the lobby by yourself at four in the morning,
waiting to declare your lawful intent to let your mother die? She had a husband, a son, a sister, grandchildren, a best friend. Why were none of them there? Why did not one of them want a call at that hour that she was going to die, no turning back? Why did none of them really want to speak to her over the phone one last time?

It was a barefisted champion's punch to my face, not the gut. It can still make me reel and wobble, but there isn't anyone who understands or cares how much it hurts now, either. Four years ago, I still had the confidence and determination of the hopeful and the unknown. Tonight it feels colder and more scary than ever.

1 comment:

Sweetbriar said...

And while my father was in hospice, his funeral, his burial service, and all the time since then, not one person has treated me as if I was a daughter losing her father, a person who has suffered a great loss, someone who needed help and comfort. His wife and the whole of her family and their friends never behaved towards me as if I was a valued member of his family. I was an ex, a member of the family he used to have but hadn't been a part of for the last 20 years, because now he belonged to them.

They learned that from him. And she preferred it that way.

Do you have any idea what it feels like to faithfully love people who don't really care all that much about you in return, because they're your family and you keep trying to make some sort of family out of them - and then when you lose them, nobody much gives a damn?

My sister, my mother, and my father. In all those losses, not one time has anyone offered me a meal to make sure I was eating right, no one gave me a flower to brighten my day, no one ever sent a card or letter to tell me they were thinking of me, no one ever came over to watch a movie with me to just keep me company for a little while.

Who am I that I am an Absolute Nothing to everyone I know? What did I do to them that was so horrible that I am, without fail, routinely shunned as a non-person? Considering that I live in the Christian, church going, King and Queens of Hospitality, South, it must have been a very dreadful thing indeed.