Sunday, October 8, 2017

Mom's Time

Here we are again. Just as what happened with Dad, mom is no longer able to talk or live, but we must still wait for death. All I can do for her is make sure she gets adequate pain medication, watching her for signs of pain, and advocating for her with nurses and doctors. At night, her boyfriend Bob and I take turns sleeping in her room. We never leave her alone, but this is a very painful and lonely time for all of us. Just like with Dad, I don't want to write about her in past tense, but I do want to write about her, so I'll do it in this strange in-between time.


Back when mom had me there were no sonograms but she claims she knew she was having a girl and bought only baby girl clothes. If she said so, it had to be so. Back then, fathers waited outside the delivery room so she is the first person I ever met, and the person I've known the longest.

1979 03 12 Hospital 
Getting to know each other

So who is she? She is beautiful. She has always been beautiful, but like a fairy princess with a strange curse, with each year she has grown lovelier.

Ana's Quinceañera 1972
1972, with her parents ar her quinceañera

Shute Wedding 1985
1985, her wedding to my dad (age 28)

Monumental Celebration 2004
2004, my graduate school graduation (age 47)

Ramsey 2006
2006 (age 49)

2009, my wedding (age 52)

For many people, one of the greatest revelations of her character happened when my dad was dying of cancer. She was at my dad's side every day, all day, throughout his illness. She advocated for him and slept on a cot by his side in the hospital for a week. I was surprised that some people were surprised. She has always been a good person to go to in need or illness. A rainy weather friend or a dancing friend. She has always been an advocate, and she has never been afraid to be disliked in her advocacy. Now that she is dying, I am standing in her shoes as a caregiver, and they are expensive high heels that I find difficult to walk in.

Christmas Eve 2009
Our last Christmas together 2009

Parents' 25th Anniversary 2010
Twenty-fifth Anniversary 2010

She is strong, independent, and a fierce fighter. I am not like her in this regard, but it's not too late for me to grow in that direction. She can be loyal, but if she needs to, she can start over again. After my dad passed away, she had to pull together a life all over again. She had to find a job more than once, she had to change apartments, she had to fight cancer. No one wants to do all that, much less repeatedly, but she pulled herself up over and over again and did it.

And that goes for double for love. After a love like my dad, most people wouldn't realize that there was still more love in the world for them. But she has always believed that everyone deserves a true deep love. More to the point, she believes, and so do I, that kind of love is attainable for everyone. Not all love is the same, but as she said- it's what most of this trip is about. She started dating Bob in February 2012.

Nana Visits- June 2012
Bob and Mom, June 2012

Nana Visits- June 2013
Wild girl with Bob, June 2013

Miranda- 2 Days Old 2014
Meeting Miranda, 2014

2015 07 11 Love
Mom and Bob at a wedding, 2015

2016 09 10 Bob Mom
Weekend lunch dates with Bob, 2016

Her other loves- James:

Baby James Born! 2011
Meeting James, 2011

Nana and James- April 2011
Nap time

Nana Visits- June 2013
Kisses, 2013

Day After Thanksgiving 2015
Kisses, 2015


Miranda- Day 2 2014
Meeting Miranda, 2014

Nochebuena 2014
Hair bows! 2014

Christmas 2015
Tickling, 2015

Nana Visits- August 2015
Reading, 2015

Nana Visits- October 2016
Lipstick, 2016

Mother's Day 2017
Mother's Day 2017

And her other loves, her friends and other family:

Mom's 60th Birthday 2017
60th Birthday

Mom's 60th Birthday 2017
Bob's family

2016 05 22 Lunch

2015 10 18 Onel Tania
Onel and Tania

2016 03 18 Trivi Zelmy
Dancing night

2015 11 14 SocieTea
Fancy Tea with Yayas

2016 01 02 Moises and Magaly
Cousins Moises and Magaly

2015 11 21 Reunion
High School Friends

2015 05 15 Alice and Olivia
Work friends from Alice & Olivia

2015 09 26 dinner

2016 05 21 Diner
Diner with Sandy and Yvonne

Shute Visit 2017
Elaine, Richard, and Griffin

2017 06 09 Nurses better
Her oncology nurses

Clou Baby Shower 2011
Sylvia, mom, Arelys, Yohana

Mom Moves In 2017
Jen, Ampy, mom, and me

Thanksgiving 2015
Family picture

I love my mother and will miss her. I also think the world will miss her love and style, more than they know.

2015 07 11 Glam Mom
Hollywood style, even in the middle of cancer treatments

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Mom Update- October 2017

After Richard and Elaine visited on Saturday, Bob sat with Mom for a while. She was cold so he tucked her in and stepped out for a minute. At some point, I randomly decided to check on her and she was shaking. I tried to wake her up but she couldn't respond so I called that at-home hospice number and they talked me through giving her some dissolving morphine and a sedative. They sent a nurse out afterward.

Since then she's been unable to get up or swallow. She had a few bites of a bagel she was craving on Saturday morning. On Sunday she started talking a little more again, so Bob got her some Ensure to drink since it has extra nutrients. She took two sips. She kept having a few sips of water here and there but since she can't swallow pills we're not sure how much water she was getting and then she stopped getting any water aside that which I mixed with her dissolving meds.

Her pain med requirements kept going up Monday and Tuesday. With at-home hospice every time I needed her dosage increased I had to call and explain that she was in pain, and then wait for the prescription to be changed. I'm obviously not a skilled nurse and moving her minimally for care hurts her too. I finally moved her back to in-patient hospice care so that they can administer morphine through an IV and care for her in a more skilled way. Her room has a pull-out couch so I'm staying here throughout the day and I'm sleeping overnight.

I've been meeting all the friends she made on the staff the first time she stayed here. She chatted with everyone and everyone has mentioned how she put on her makeup each day she was here last time. No one expected her back so soon.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Richard, Elaine, and Griffin Visit Saturday 2017

My uncle Richard, aunt Elaine, and cousin Griffin visited on Saturday. Griffin is now attending Sarah Lawrence so Richard and Elaine were able to visit him at school in Bronxville and then drive up. Mom was more tired during the visit than she's been and was pretty quiet, then finally she said goodbye and excused herself to rest in bed.

Shute Visit 2017
James, mom, me, Miranda, Elaine, Richard, Griffin

Shute Visit 2017
Mom, Richard, and Griffin

Shute Visit 2017

After they left, Bob took the kids outside to play. He brought them these cool wooden planes that they love. 

September 2017
Flying planes

September 2017
Confused about aerodynamics

September 2017
Trying to catch it.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Apple Picking at Lewin Farm 2017

We ran out to apple pick for 30 minutes yesterday, just to have a little tiny bit of normalcy. The kids loved it like crazy, and we now have 11 pounds of apples to eat.

Apple Picking 2017
In front of apple orchard

Apple Picking 2017

Apple Picking 2017

Apple Picking 2017

Apple Picking 2017

Apple Picking 2017
Bag it.

Apple Picking 2017
Reaching for the high one

Apple Picking 2017
Perfect little red

Apple Picking 2017
So happy

Apple Picking 2017
Cheese balls

Apple Picking 2017
Time to check out
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