Saturday, April 22, 2006

heaven bound

It’s been one week since we said goodbye to Ernie’s Mom. It seems longer, in a way.

The ‘longer’ of it started last Saturday evening when the cell phone rang just as Ernie was digging in his pocket to pay a Kelowna grocery store cashier for the Easter dinner punch fixings.

It was my sister calling from home – about our Mom. Mom was concerned about edema and the fact that she was having trouble breathing. Our doctor’s clinic was closed and when sis suggested she take Mom to Emergency, Mom said to phone me. (My mother has congestive heart failure. Edema, as well as collecting in her feet, legs and elsewhere, can collect in her lungs. When this happens she feels extremely uncomfortable, can’t get a good breath and tires very quickly). Of course I concurred that sis take her to the E.R.

When we got home Sunday, Mom’s edema had not improved at all, even though the doctor had upped her Lasix (diuretic). The E.R. doctor had also left us with a string of orders - more blood tests and doctor visits.

I took Mom for a blood test on Tuesday and to our family doctor yesterday. I noticed the deterioration in Mom from Tuesday. Yesterday walking slowly with her walker wearied her beyond all reasonableness.

The doctor’s prognosis is not good. On top of her CHF, Mom now has kidney failure – what we suspected from reading the E.R. doctor’s notes (and it’s why the edema won’t go down). She said, among other things, that Mom needs to be in a place with more care, and that we need to discuss ‘end of life issues.’

Since yesterday and the doctor’s frank confirmation of what we’ve suspected, I find myself tearing up at the most awkward moments.

The doctor hasn’t given us a time frame - only that we need to be prepared. We’re reading into that days to weeks, maybe even months – most likely not years.

This morning I was thinking of her, alone in her room and not seeing much of anyone now until we visit – in her present state she can’t go to meals in the dining room so someone delivers a tray to her room – and wondering what she’s thinking and how she will fill her time. She’s great that way though, keeping her hands and mind occupied with embroidery, watching the odd TV show, and reading.

I was thinking if it were me in my mom’s place, I’d want to read. But not about just anything. I’d want to read and research where I was soon going to be going – like you research before you travel to a foreign country or to a new vacation spot.

Immediately I thought of Things Unseen – Living in Light of Forever by Mark Buchanan and wondered if it wouldn’t be the perfect book for her. I found it on my bookshelf and read the beginning:

“I’m dying.

Sometimes I forget that...
a line here and there:

Heaven is meant to be our fixation – our big Fix. It’s to be our deep secret, like being in love, where just the thought of it carries us through menial chores or imparts to us courage in the face of danger...

And He will be more beautiful than we ever imagined.

Life doesn’t justify living. Only eternity does...

and suddenly I realized, I may need this book as much as she does!

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