Saturday, October 16, 2010


Mother is at peace, as of five minutes till six this morning.  She had a few very calm and peaceful days.  When I got there at about 4:45 yesterday afternoon, I could see a difference from when I'd been there at noon.  The doctor was shocked at the difference in her from the week before.  He checked her out and said that she should have nothing else by mouth.  He had me go into the hall where he asked me if I had ever heard of the "death rattle".  I had.  He told me that was what we were hearing with Mother's breathing.  So, I knew then that I needed to spend the night.  It just happened that one of my out of town cousins was coming to spend the night with us last night.  She ended up staying with me at the nursing home. 
The staff at the nursing home couldn't have been nicer and more sensitive to our needs.  They first moved Mother's roommate to another room for the night.  Then, they rolled a cart filled with a pitcher of ice cold water, a carafe of coffee, soft drinks, Little Debbie cakes, a tray of sandwiches, etc......  Different staff members came in throughout the night to check on Mother.  Some of these staff members were assigned to the other hall, but heard what was going on.  One of the CNAs sang to Mother.
During the first half of the night, Mother was really struggling with phlegm building up in her throat.  Several times the nurses came in to suction it.  Mother always seemed to rest a little better after each time.  As the night progressed Mother's face, hands and feet began to feel cool to the touch.  She would try to open her eyes, but I could tell she wasn't focusing.
About 3:00, or so,  the congestion seemed to lessen, and she seemed to rest much better.
At 5:30, I looked at the clock and thought to myself, "We shouldn't have stayed all night, because she's going to go on into the day."  I was wrong, though.  I actually closed my eyes and nodded off a bit, then she coughed, and my cousin said, "Julia, something's happening.  She's coughing up stuff."  I wiped her face while my cousin went to get the nurse.
By the time they came back into the room, Mother's chest was no longer rising and falling.  I said, "She's gone."  The nurse listened with her stethoscope, though, and said that her heart was still beating about 60 times a minute.  She checked her hands and feet.  Then, she listened again.  Mother moved her legs and head a bit, but the nurse looked at me and said that she could no longer hear her heart.  She left us alone till we were ready for the Hospice nurse to come to make the pronouncement of death.  Then the funeral home guy came.  He was so, so, so nice. 
Later in the morning my brother, husband, and I went to the funeral home to make the arrangements. My sister couldn't get here in time to go with us, but she said that she was agreeable to anything we chose.  We wanted to get the planning done so that her obituary can be in tomorrow's papers.  We are going to have her service on Monday.   It wasn't hard to plan because Mother had me go about 3 years ago to pick up a form to fill out with her funeral wishes.  The funeral home had her plans on file.  We had to change only a couple of things, like the number of great grandbabies she now has, etc....  We chose a simple, but elegant casket that Mother would love.  We went to the florist and chose the flowers for the casket spray.  I don't think my brother and I have ever agreed so easily on things as we did today.  We always get along great, but he usually has some really "weird" ideas.  I guess he thinks mine are "weird".  But, today, we agreed readily on everything.  It helps that Mother had done most of the pre-planning.
Many friends came by with offerings of food, prayers, and thoughts of blessing. 
All of our children and their families are coming.  All of my cousins are coming.  My sister's girls are coming. 
Tonight, I'm going to bed relaxed and thankful that Mother is no longer suffering!  I wish you could have seen the look of peace that was on her face at the end.  I have cried some tears.  We have laughed about some memories with my brother, sister, and the cousins who are already here.  We have looked through old photos and have chosen some to be on display at the visiting time.
My mother planned a celebration of her life rather than a mournful event.  First, she wants to be buried, then have a memorial service at our church with our choir singing.  Then, she wants us to have a time of remembering with our family and friends in our fellowship hall at the church.  This is sort of backwards from the normal way that people around here have funerals, but it is what she wanted!!!!!!
I will probably continue with this blog.  There are lots of observations that I made at the nursing home that didn't even include my mother.  I will be writing about those.  It may be a while, though.
Thanks to all of you who have been reading my notes about our experience at the nursing home, and who have been saying prayers and sending positive thoughts our way.


  1. I heard the death rattle when my mother was dying too. My cousin had me listen on the phone to his mother (my mother's sister) 8 months earlier when she had the death rattle so I was prepared.
    My heart goes out to you, for all you have endured while she suffered. A celebration is the right way to do it, to remember happy family times. Take care of yourself now.

  2. This order of service sounds like what was done when my maternal grandmother died. It was really easier this way, and I hope you find it so as well.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  3. Oh Julia, I am so sorry for your loss. May your mother rest in peace. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  4. Julia, I am so so very sorry about your mom's passing. I am happy to hear that she went peacefully. I will be thinking of you and keeping you in my prayers. I pray that God will bring you comfort and peace. I know you have been through so much. Your mom was so blessed to have you.

  5. I am so sorry to hear of your mom's passing. How merciful for her to have passed peacefully and for you to have been with her. Lifting you and your family up in prayer.

  6. Sending you love and prayers, my friend.


  7. Julia, it was with mixed emotions that I read about your mother's transition. I am so happy for her that she is at peace and 'at home' now but sad for you and your family. You are in my thoughts/prayers. Blessings and hugs, too!

  8. My deepest sympathies to you and your family, Julia. You all will continue to be in my prayers as you grieve. Hugs!

  9. Julia- I send you all my love. I am so glad your Mother is at peace and you were with her at the end. I hope your time of remembering with friends and family brings back many, many wonderful memories and maybe some stories you didn't know. ((hugs))♥

  10. She is at peace and no more suffering Julia.
    My husband and I both send our condolences to you and your family. I am so glad you will continue on for awhile writing on this blog sharing some stories about her also. Bless you for all you have done for her these past months that I have read your blog.