Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I have thought a great deal about whether to keep the Feedin' Mama blog going, some folks have asked me about it. And while I never will say never, I think it is time to lay this aside at least for the moment. I miss Mama very, very much and I will forever be happy that I got to spend so much time with her and for the things I got to share here about taking care of her. I have not one regret about anything else I may or may not have been able to do and I believe that I did honor her in the fact that she was able to stay in her own home until the very end. I see so many, many older folks who aren't able to for many different reasons, most of them very valid, but there is always a tinge of sadness in their spirits and I am grateful that I was able to help Mama avoid that.

I am grateful for my family, my church family and friends and those of you here whose support made it possible. Thank you for encouraging me and listening to me.

I may come back here and post again, I still work mainly with older folks so I know I'll have more to share at some point. But for now I need a new perspective. I need a place to laugh and be joyful in this world where joy and laughter are often hard to find. So if you're looking for me, you can find me here for the time being.

Grace and peace to you all,

Friday, June 11, 2010

Rest in peace, Mama

Mama passed away at 12:30 this morning. God speed Mama, we love you.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Tom Petty was right, the waiting really is the hardest part. It has been ten days now since Mama decided she didn't want any more food or curative measures or medicines. She has asked for something to eat twice since then and only had a bite each time and is only on morphine and a lidocaine patch on her back for pain. A few spoonfuls of ice chips or sips of water a day. Pastor Thom says she has a really strong constitution and Dr. G says you don't get to be 91 1/2 by being a wimp. All the siblings are here and we have been by her side 24/7 in shifts. So Mama is ready and we are ready but apparently God, who directs the schedule, is not ready. So we wait and watch and rub lotion on her skin and stroke her hair, play soft music and love her to the best of our ability. And we recognize that the process of dying is another of life's mysteries that we won't have all the answers to until we have crossed over ourselves. Perhaps it is one more way that God lets us know that He is God and we are not.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

She's over it

Mama is just done. She is weak and weary and the past twelve days have been quite an ordeal for her even though we have managed to fend off the most egregious procedures that the different specialists have wanted to do. This morning she told me she was done, she doesn't want any more food or medicine or treatments. She just wants to go. So we have called hospice in and with their help we can concentrate on making her as comfortable as possible so that the transition will be as peaceful and easy as possible for her. It stinks for us, we will miss her so, so terribly but she is ready and we have to respect that and celebrate her 91+ years and the fact that she will soon be free of her tired and worn out body.

I am learning though, that no matter how much pastoral caregiving, bereavement and/or social work experience you might have it's a whole new and different reality when it's your own Mama who is dying. And it really and truly sucks.

Friday, May 21, 2010

It's Complicated

Well we have learned that even when you have advance directives in place and a medical surrogate to convey your wishes about invasive procedures, sometimes they happen anyhow. Mama has done all of that and yet, there we were in the ER having to make an immediate decision about putting her on a ventilator. She was rapidly losing her ability to breathe in the midst of a congestive heart failure episode and the nurse was pressing us for a decision. She promised us that it would be A)temporary and B) that she would be sedated the entire time. She lied about B). Well, she didn't lie, she was a wonderful, caring nurse but some hours after the vent had been started Mama's blood pressure tanked and they had to back off of the sedation to counteract that. They did give her morphine and ativan to help try to keep her comfortable but I ended up feeling betrayed and guilt-ridden nonetheless. She was on the vent for 4 days and a feeding tube for 2 (another thing we had discussed and Mama didn't want - more guilt). She's still in ICU with a lot of medical "issues" but we will deal with them. I thank God for wonderful, amazing Dr. G (not the medical examiner one) who runs interference for Mama as her primary care doc and keeps the specialists at bay who are programmed to want to "fix" things even when sometimes it's best that they're simply managed instead. Like I said, it's complicated.

Friday, April 16, 2010

An Attitude of Gratitude

I know almost all caregivers have heard this all before but this article is a really good one to remind us all of the importance of gratitude as part of your own mental well-being. It's way too easy to focus on the real or perceived ingratitude of others but you can only be responsible for your own thoughts and feelings. Don't quit trying until you find that one little thing you can be thankful for today and then focus on that. It's the first best way to be sure that you end up being not only a survivor but a winner.

A merry heart is good medicine but a crushed spirit dries up the bones! Proverbs 17:22

Thursday, April 15, 2010


I have learned some useful new phrases while working at the Manor - "pleasantly confused" and "intermittently oriented". I believe that I will aspire to both of those conditions in the aging process. Being pleasantly confused sounds like great fun and checking in and out of reality might come in pretty handy on some occasions that I can think of. I plan on being one interesting old lady, I sure hope my kids are prepared.