Fourteen Days to Heaven: Being with Mom at End of Life

 

The phone rang early one morning as I was getting ready to go to work. “Come quick, something is wrong with your mother!” came my dad’s voice from the other end of the line. We quickly got into the car and headed the eighth mile to my mom and dad’s house.

My mother had toxemia when I was born. Her blood pressure had gone sky high, and caused her to be blind for several months after I was born. Later, the doctors at Mayo Clinic could not believe I had lived when she told them I was two years old and the picture of health. Over the years, she had many health problems, and her blood pressure was at two hundred over one hundred most of her life. She was put on kidney dialysis at sixty years of age because her blood pressure had totally wrecked her kidneys. Ten years later, something catastrophic happened.

Once we got to Mom and Dad’s house, Dad told us he believed Mom had a stroke. She had a couple of strokes during the ten years she was on kidney dialysis, but she recovered almost 100% from them. This time, though, she could not speak or swallow. The doctors could not do anything for her. She had already signed a living will saying she did not want to be hooked up to machines that would keep her alive. We adhered to her wishes, and a hospital bed and hospice were brought in to help her with the remainder of her life.

It was especially hard on my dad and my wife, Cathy, to watch her lay there and starve to death. I had to go to work, and could only be there at night and my days off. Anytime Mom was asked if she wanted to go to the hospital, she would shake her head no. We did not have the ability to end her life legally, but I am almost certain she would not have wanted that to happen.

I still remember, some thirteen years after her death, when I told her I loved her, I could see the love in her eyes, even though she could not make her mouth form a smile. I knew she was in a loving place waiting for her death to come naturally. Her life was in order, and she was ready to meet her maker.

Cathy sat with her day and night, holding her hand most of the time, to give her comfort. My wife would occasionally be relieved by my mom’s sister, Kay. Dad was unable to stay close to Mom except for the first couple of days, as he knew the inevitable, and could not face her demise.

I will not lie, it was a hard time for my family knowing it was just a matter of time until she would be gone. We were glad for the extra time we had to say goodbye and to tell my mother we loved her and would miss her.

Fourteen days after that morning phone call, my mom passed away.  The saddest part for me is the fact that it was on a Tuesday around midnight. I work late on Tuesdays, and was not home when she died. Because I had gotten to sit by her bed many times during that two weeks and tell her I loved her, it made the grief much less traumatic and it was easier to let her go.

I still love my mother very much. I am glad for those last fourteen days I was able to love my mother before she died. Luckily, my mother was not in much pain during those fourteen days. Had she been in extreme pain, I might have hoped her life would end sooner. That is a decision each person must make according to their situation. Personally, I believe death should be in God’s hands and not our own!

 

James Einert

More Articles Written by James

My name is James Einert, ND, CH and I am the creator of Grief Recovery That Works.com. In 1995 I started on a quest to learn all I could about natural health. I studied for almost 3 years and received my degree as a Naturopathic Doctor from the Clayton School Of Natural Health. I had practices in Ft. Smith, Conway and Clarksville, Arkansas over the next 4 or 5 years. I have helped many people using natural health practices to regain their health, but there were many who needed more help mentally and emotionally, some of who where seeing therapist, but were just unable to get help for their deep seated emotional troubles. So I sought to find a way to help these people as well. As a result of that search, I found the techniques I use in the "Grief Recovery That Works!" coaching plan. Since about 1999 I have known there was a wonderful technique for removing the pain of grieving. That was when I first discovered the Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT for short. EFT is a way to tap on accupressure/accupuncture points that will change your emotions. It will disarm your troubling emotions and set you on a path to true freedom. I have studied and worked with EFT since that time, but other obligations in my life kept me from really getting serious about helping others to benefit from my knowledge. Now things are different. I have much more time to work on helping others with my knowledge of EFT. Neuro-Linguistic Programming is something you may or may not have heard of, but it is most often thought of as a form of mind control or persuasion. But the great thing about NLP is that it has the same powers to affect your emotions as EFT, but it is somewhat slower and not as good for going deep into the emotions. But when combined with EFT, NLP makes EFT work much better and quicker, so instead of having to live with your debilitating grief for months, maybe even years, you can be over the pain and depression of grief in just a couple of hours!!! Stop the grieving and get on with your life!!! I am also a Certified Hypnotist and have created a very successful stop smoking program by combining Hypnosis and EFT. I also work with other health problems both physical and emotional.

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  • kemi araoye says:

    My mum passed away August 2015. She had heart problems through the last years of her life, and was in hospital twice for heart failure. Both times she amazed us and ended up leaving the hospital walking on her own two feet. But she final succumbed to end stage kidney failure, after being in the hospital for over a month. The final two weeks of her life were soul destroying to watch, as she was unable to talk, eat or drink. Her dignity had gone as she was dependant on strangers for her personal care, and medication. We watched her starve to death, and she must have been in a lot of pain . And that was the thing with my mum she didn’t complain all those years she must have been in so much pain, but didn’t want to make a fuss.
    I was not there when she took her final breaths, and part of me is relived I was spared the agony of watching her take her last breath, as I would have been a blubbering wreck. My sister was there and she held it together to send our mother to the maker in calm profound way.
    My family remarked that she looked at peace and she did.
    But her death will be with me to the day I die.

  • sherree robichaud says:

    Thank you for sharing your story.
    I had the privilege of taking care of my mother the last year of her life. She was 97 when she passed. Although I miss her so much, I know that she was ready to leave. Her body had become her enemy – so frail as it betrayed her vibrant spirit.
    After her 3rd triumph over cancer, she received word that she had lung cancer. Not wanting any further treatment, she insisted I help her get all details taken care of. We did, and 2 weeks after updating her will, she had a stroke. For 2 1/2 days she was constantly surrounded by her family, telling her stories and stroking her hair.
    My grief is combined with anger – the feeling that we were taken advantage of financially. It soured such a tender situation. Example: $408 for a one day simple obituary, over $100 for dessert, funeral home not willing to budge on any details, although my mother had changed her mind about a few things.
    I am sure I am not alone in this experience. I would love your thoughts on this.