I spent time at my mother’s bedside mid-day yesterday. One of our cousins had visited earlier and my mom was, as they say, unresponsive. She slept, and when her eyes opened, she didn’t connect. On the positive side, she’s comfortable, clean, and is periodically offered tiny bits of apple sauce and water, although she has mostly been refusing them. Yesterday I bought some poi, and my sister, Bonnie, took it up late in the day.
In hospice, the patient decides. Whether to eat, drink, to prolong life or not. Their choice. These are the few choices one can still make at this stage of life. It’s hard for us, those who can only wait and watch. But it is what it is.
After I had been there for a while, my mom opened her eyes, but they had that vague, cloudy, blank look. She barely responded, if at all, when I held her hand and told her I was there. She drifted in and out, closing her eyes, sleeping, then drifting back, eyes opening.
According to the hospice staff, she hadn’t spoken since arriving there early Monday morning. This was Wednesday.
So I was startled when she suddenly became agitated. Her eyes cleared as she looked across the room, then she unsteadily raised a hand, pointed.
She spoke, the words slowly bursting into the room. She struggled to get them out.
Then she sort of relaxed back into the pillows, but her eyes were still bright and clear.
Her right arm was still raised, and this time she pointed to the foot of the bed.
Her voice was pretty clear, stronger than I could possibly have expected.
There was wonder, and loss, perhaps disappointment.
“He was right there,” she said, pointing to the foot of the bed. “Right there.”
She was speaking to herself, but I tried to gently ask who “he” was. It was enough to break up the moment.
She faded, eyes slowly closing, energy spent.
In the weeks before my father died, he referred several times to the people that were waiting for him. One day he asked me who was in the hall waiting to see him. Another time he said they were waiting in the next room.
“I really should go,” he told me, his tone of voice serious.
I don’t know what, or perhaps who, my mother saw. I don’t know if it was all part of a dream, or a glimpse somewhere into a world awaiting her arrival.
Believe not without evidences. But are these hallucinations or evidences? I suppose we’ll never know.