When is it ok to say goodbye? Now I KNOW there never really is a good time, if that goodbye is permanent.
As I have posted before, my 91 year old grandmother is in the CCU unit at our local hospital. And that is where I have been spending most of my time lately. However, her kidneys are just not functioning the way they should and with the IV's she is getting her body is filling up with fluid-fast.
They are comforting her as best as they can for the pain by giving her meds. Both of my kids have been up to see her, and thank goodness she recognized them both and was coherent enough to say hello. But her fingers are swelling up badly, resembling sausages and her arms are filled with fluid. Tonight her back has been bothering her-she is getting saddlebags as they say, from fluid accumulation in her lower back. And the kidneys are shutting down-her urine output has not been very productive. I know when I am getting even just 1 IV for a migraine, I am in the bathroom almost constantly afterwards. She gets at least FOUR IV's per day, and the urine coming out is minimal compared to what she is taking in. She is now on oxygen, supposedly the lungs are getting fluid near them. And she was recently complaining of how tight her bra was-but she doesn't have a bra on.
My mother, fresh from my father's passing on Valentine's Day is NOT doing well. She really hadn't had time to grieve over my father when she gets hit with this. I am trying to be the strong one here, but realizing with almost certainty that it is only a matter of time. If we can be with her, and make sure she does not suffer terribly-and control the pain-then I will be happy. Sure, I would love for her to be with us forever. But that is being selfish, especially if it means prolonging her suffering and trying to bring her back after she has passed on. My mother, well, she wants them to try to resucitate her. But the pressure they would apply would certainly break her ribs. And dialysis is out of the question, at 91 it would kill her. I think my mom is finally starting to realize that.
I keep trying to make my mom understand that she has to tell her to let go, and rely on her faith to keep her going. She's been calling out to her deceased brother, mother and other relatives-and staring at a certain corner in the room. I bet I know who she is seeing. The eerie thing is when my dad died, I didn't know what condition he was in when I arrived at the ER. My mom didn't tell me much-only that he was in the hospital and wasn't feeling well and needed hydration. And that he may have had some sort of a seizure. So when I saw doctors in his room and we were waiting in the hallway I told my mom I heard my dad talking, and that we probably would be able to go in soon. Um, she turned white and told me my dad was in an induced coma, with a tube down his throat (which I didn't know!) and it could NOT be him talking. But it was, my dad was Canadian and had a very thick French accent. No one else in the room spoke like him. Eerie, huh?
I have decided it is time to say goodbye. And tell her if she has to choose between suffering and going to be with her mother, then she should go on. I have never really been good at saying goodbye-but at least in this case I have the chance to do so. Sometimes we just don't have the opportunity to say the things we want to our loved ones in life, and when the thought occurs to us, it is often too late.
Take the time now, to say how we feel. Show your affection in ways that words cannot express. Teach your children not to fear death, as I have done with Deja and Demetrio. As my grandmother continues to be with us, I will be there for her-but there will come a time when she will need to let go...and I will accept that and let her move on to the other side.