Lisa suggests I offer Ensure again. Bea drinks it.
Lisa reads out loud from the “Patient & Family Resources Guide”: “When a body is preparing for death, it is perfectly natural that eating stops. The body is … slowly shutting down normal body functions …”
“You’re the nicest person I know,” my mother murmurs as I change her brief for the night.
I suppose this is her way of saying thank you.
I don’t feel like such a nice person. I was unable to respond to my daughter’s latest emergency. My husband is depressed. I am barely able to contain my rage that society does not provide a better solution for its citizens of extreme old age, obliging loved ones to sacrifice themselves and enter into a relationship of servitude … In the “Patient & Family Resources Guild,” I read anger is a normal reaction.
Bea is going to die soon. That fact in itself produces such conflicting emotions.
Last month Sven and I began our 10th year of elderly care.
To those whom might say, “You should have put your mother in a nursing home,” I respond, “Visit a few. Then tell me if you would like to finish your days in such a place?”
The answer will probably be no.
I am so grateful that, at least, we have hospice …
Postscript: Thank you to everyone who holds us in their thoughts, like Karyn, a stranger who posted a comment immediately this morning. Bea woke up and said, "Am I ever glad to see you! I'm hungry." She has already eaten half a banana and wants more, so we are off and running again.