Making phone calls
I have tried to write this post for a day or so now. Getting what I want to get out onto the page (or the screen as the case may be) hasn't come easy. Writing is usually very natural for me, and the words generally flow but trying to say what I want...well maybe there is no right way or wrong way for that matter.
I started writing just after midnight on Friday (which I could consider Thursday night). My mother had called me around then (totally shocking) saying that they had taken her (nasal gastric) feeding tube out because it had become clogged, and they couldn't put it back. Having a tube directly into her stomach (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy) was not an option due to her other health issues. So it was time to make some decisions.
I arrived at the hospital on Friday morning and my mother agreed to hospice care. This was a long time coming. She had fought the fight, but it had gotten to be too much. I wanted her to receive medication that would make her more comfortable; something that she hasn't been what seems like a long time.
While we were preparing for hospice (the nurse had to be called, forms needed to be filled out, etc.), although she was weak and uncomfortable, my mom wanted to make some phone calls. She has had plenty of friends call her during her long hospital (and rehab) stay, but she hasn't often been strong enough to answer. (Or she hasn't heard the phone. Though she had gotten hard of hearing, within the past week or so, she has said that she can't hear out of her right ear. This has made things even more difficult as in addition to the hearing issue, people have been going in and out of her room with masks which makes it difficult to hear. Accents and speed of speech also have made it difficult.) Friday, with my cell phone in hand, she made some outbound calls to friends.
What she did with my help was touching and magnificent. She did her best to speak to each person to tell them what a good friend they had been and how she loved them. Although the overall theme for each call was the same, each person she spoke to, she addressed personally, sharing specific memories. Each and every call she had something unique to share; whether it be about sailing, playing bridge, having a meal...Her intention was specific for each person. Although it was often difficult for her to talk (and be understood) due to the oxygen mask, she did her best to share her love and appreciation.
After making a few calls, she said that perhaps she should stop. She was upsetting people. (And to be honest, some people just didn't understand that the end of the road had been reached.) I encouraged her to go on. It was important for her to share her love and gratitude with as many friends as she could. And although we didn't get to everyone, she did speak to at least a dozen people. (Including my son and my husband, who she had very distinct messages for.)
Now as I sit here with her sleeping relatively peacefully, I'm sorry that we weren't able to make more calls. I don't know if she will be able to do anymore. I don't know if she will wake or not. That's okay. This is the first time I have seen her be comfortable (or what I perceive as comfortable) in a long time. That it is what I want and what I think she needs.
I have tried to tell people what they mean to me throughout my life. I certainly haven't tried enough. I should do more. Shouldn't we all do more?
How many of us will have the chance to make those calls? To say goodbye and acknowledge love and friendship that while may be known, as not been said out loud? I know I've said it before, but this experience has reinforced that we NEED to say I love you. We NEED to share our memories. We NEED to say those things that we are often reluctant to. (Why? Is it too embarrassing? How silly is that?)
Profess your love. Share your appreciation. Let those around (and even afar) know what they mean to you. We all have an opportunity to do so...let's take it.