whatever is on my mind….

I love you Mom….

It is going to be a difficult day.  The family will gather at the nursing home for Mom’s 83rd birthday.  She hasn’t taken nourishment now for eight days and only lays in bed and sleeps.  Friends and family bring her treats, trying to get her to eat.  How do you celebrate?  We will put on our happy faces and fumble for some happy words to say.  The little ones will help, of course.  They will give her hugs and kisses and sing Happy Birthday to her.  They love birthdays and birthday cakes!

Birthdays are supposed to be happy, forward-looking occasions.  Mom isn’t looking forward and I really don’t know if she is looking back either.  She seems to be in limbo, just waiting for it to be over.  Death is a mysterious thing to the living.  When my Dad was dying I tried to get up the courage to ask him what he was feeling and thinking but it seemed to personal a question.  I have the same feelings now, wanting to know what Mom is experiencing but unable to put my thoughts into words.  She knows she needs to eat but seems to be unaware that by not eating her body is dying.  She just says she isn’t hungry.  She doesn’t seem happy or unhappy, content or discontent.  She wants her curtains closed, her room is like night around the clock.  She has no questions about the family or even the weather.  When we tell her that her body needs food she says, “I know”.

When I visit her I can only stay for a few minutes because there is no conversation.  I say all the usual things, ask if she wants or needs anything.  She answers yes or no but has no comments or questions for me.  She either drifts back to sleep or just stares at me.  I wonder what she thinks as she watches me just sitting on the side of her bed.

We will go through the motions today, pretending it is a happy day……



  1. I can sympathize with the helplessness you are feeling, and can’t imagine the pain that accompanies it. I pray that y’all have the strength to deal with her wants right now. Don’t stay silent, though. Talk about anything, even your fears. She may not know how you feel, and how afraid you are for her.

    • words just won’t come out of my mouth…..

  2. Prayers continue. I am amazed at your ability to articulate your feelings so well, FOH. Perhaps that is a bright spot? Take care and Happy Birthday to your Mother.

  3. Ann Thrasher

    I’m thinking of you today. It is indeed difficult. And no one can really say anything to you or to her to make it any easier. Just know that we love you and are thinking of you.

    • Thanks Ann and thank you for the sweet note you sent.

  4. cromwellshead

    Prayers and love winging across a cold grey Atlantic. I was where you are a few weeks ago. It hurts, you do not know what to do. there is nothing you can do, except be there. Be strong for she will feel that strength, she needs it now more than ever. Whats more be normal, this is hard to write but I guess you will know what I mean.

    God be with you all


    • Yes John, I do know what you mean and thank you so much. I pray that your hurt is healing. God Bless Lura

  5. thedrpete

    Your presence, FOH, may well prevent your mother’s mind from going to the dark place of feeling that you are unwanted.

    • We just came from seeing her. The little ones sang Happy Birthday about 10 times and I put a candle on her cupcake and she blew it out. I made a bulletin board for all her cards and pictures of the kids and hung it where she can see it easily. She already had company when we got there. I don’t think she could possibly believe that she is unwanted, at least I hope not.

  6. FOH,

    As I celebrate my birthday today; I will also be praying for your mom, you and your family. My our Lord send down his Angels to surround you with his comfort and love and may the Holy Spirit abide within you.

    • Happy Birthday to you Dave! The visit went well today with all of us there. Thanks as always!

      • It feels my heart with joy to know you had a good visit today.

      • 🙂 me too

  7. The valley of the shadow of death is terrifying but, ….He is with you, your family and with Aunt Dell.
    As hard as this walk is ….. treasure these last days… you will relive them time and again.
    God Speed. I pray for you Lura.

    • We had a good visit today. She loved seeing the kids. This afternoon Larry was showing me some of Daddy’s tools he brought to his shop from Mom’s. There was a small pliers that I remembered playing with as a child, it gave me goose bumps.

      Love ya, Lura

    • Thank so much for staying in touch, it really means a lot! Hugs and Kisses to you and Aunt Dixie!

  8. Helen Ann

    LD. May the grace of God be with you. Am so glad you celebrated and she knew. Hang in there, talk to her even if you feel uncomfortable, blubber if you have to. I always wished I had, instead of trying to be “fine”. Ain’t no “fine” to this deal. Love ya and will hold your hand in spirit. Best to all. harp.

    • harp, I know you have been where I am. There ain’t no “fine” is right Love you too!

  9. Linda

    Lura, you and your family are in my prayers. When my mom was getting ready to go, she told us many times that her husband (my dad) and her parents had come to see her and asked her to go home with them. She even wanted to pack a suitcase to be ready.

    Many days later, the doctor told us that it is completely common for our loved ones to sleep, stare, talk about seeing ones gone before (as if they were there). It’s a netherworld. Neither fully here or fully there.

    Love you much, thank goodness, God is in control and thank goodness for his love and caring for us.


    • I know you have been in this place and so it makes your words even more meaningful. The neither world seems to be the place Mom is. Thanks you

  10. Jan

    FOH, I so feel for you and your family. I am a hospice nurse (retired). It sounds very much like your mom is choosing to orchestrate her own end of life, and this is very common and natural. When a person begins to die, food is not longer needed nor wanted, and after a certain point will not be able to be utilized by the body at any rate. Eventually even water is no longer needed nor usable. People begin to withdraw from those around them, even their most beloved, when they sense the time is coming. I don’t want to scare you, but it may be that urging your mom to eat is wasted effort. You may want to ask for a hospice evaluation for her, because if indeed she has a hospice-appropriate diagnosis her care will be (usually) much better and more suited to her current needs than nursing home staff can provide. Even the better homes are often not trained and equipped to deal with terminal patients, and I heard many times from nursing home staff how relieved they were to have us come in to care for the patient when appropriate. I pray that you will all find the peace you deserve, and that you will be able to hear your mom even when she is not speaking–it isn’t easy, but I have a feeling FOH, if anyone can do it, you can. Godspeed to you and your mom. I know it is hard to have a birthday celebration under those circumstances, but I think your mom might be okay with things moving along as they are.

    • Thank you so much for your sweet words and concern. We do have a hospice agency coming in to the nursing home and seeing that she is made comfortable. They are doing a very good job and Mom is made comfortable and no one (with hospice or the nursing home staff) is trying to force her to do anything. Some of her visitors (not family) still are. I am finally able to come to peace with what is happening. The hospice RN called me this afternoon and asked me once again whether a feeding tube would be something Mom or I would consider. Of course the main reason we called hospice in is because Mom expressed several times that she didn’t want it which I agreed with. The nurse was very kind and said that she was just required to give us that option again. I felt as though she was also letting me know that time is getting short. I am so touched by the wonderful outreach from both friends and from people like you who have been such a comfort. God Bless you and thank you once again….

      • Jan

        You are more than welcome, and I am very glad you and your mom opted out of a feeding tube. I have never seen a good outcome from the insertion of one at this stage of life. The reason hospice does not do feeding tubes is it often places an undue burden on the patient’s increasingly frail body. In our hospice here, we did not offer feeding tubes. If the patient had one, we would care for it, but we would not place one once the patient was admitted without it. If the family insisted, we had to de-certify the patient. If that seems harsh, believe it is not. It was for very good reason that we did not place feeding tubes. And though families often wanted one, I never met a patient who was lucid who did. That tells me something. Again, blessings on you and your mom. You sound like the daughter we all hope we have. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

      • I told my Mom today that she doesn’t have to do anything that she does’t want to do. This was after a friend of hers had told her that she was going to eat, eat, eat. She went on and on, I could tell that it was upsetting Mom. She seemed to look relieved after I told her not to worry about it. This friend is a sweet sweet person and has the best of intentions but it isn’t helpful at this time. Thanks for your wise counsel.

      • Jan

        Your words to your mom were very wise. I know that patients are always relieved when someone understands that they are still in charge and need to do what THEY want and not what anyone else wants. You are doing a great job, FOH, of being your mom’s advocate. Bless you.

      • When I took my 3 year old granddaughter with me to visit today, Mom seemed more at ease, especially when Zane (granddaughter) sang Happy Birthday again, climbed up on the bed to give Mom a hug and kiss and say ‘I love you’, I am so glad that she loves to go to the nursing home, it helps me more than I can say….

  11. I wish I had talked to my parents more before they passed away, one month from each other, both from Cancer. I felt it was too personal too, and that to talk to them in ways I never had would just seem so apparently like giving up or giving in. (Hope that made sense). I can only say, talk to your mom. I wish I had. 😦

    • It does make sense. That is how I feel. I am still trying….

      • It is hard, I wish you the best of luck. You might not overcome the feeling. 😦

      • Jan

        FOH, hospice can help with this. They can help you formulate the words and frame discussion with your mom. Often, the patient really would like to discuss death, dying, their lives–all of it–but they are afraid they will burden their already-stressed loved ones. One quote I heard that a terminal patient made was, “I’m living with cancer but I’m dying of loneliness.” Hospice social workers and chaplains are particularly gifted in helping familes and patients communicate, at least the best ones are. I wish you the best with your efforts. It’s obvious how much you care.

  12. FOH, I read how you helped your Mom and in the process I trust it will help you as well. I have been reading your exchange with Jan and it is stunningly beautiful in it’s own way. Would seem to me your Mom just needs to know you are ok. From your comment above, it sounds like that may have been accomplished. My heartiest compliments for your strength and courage. Prayers continue, FOH, for all.

    • Thanks Mrs AL for your continued support. I have no problem defending those I love and although I know Mom’s friend means well, I felt Mom was being pushed and that she wasn’t happy. It is easier for me to say things when I think someone I love is threatened is some way. That was the feeling I had at that moment. Anyway it did help me and I hope that it helped my Mom too.

    • Jan

      Mrs. AL, you hit the nail on the head. FOH is letting her mom know she will be okay, and that is what her mom wants to know. Even if patients don’t verbalize these things, they will often wait for someone they love to arrive and tell them it is all okay. My mom waited until my daughter told her she was having a baby and asked her to be his guardian angel. The nurses had told us she was working on something still–she was comatose–and sure enough, once she heard those words from her beloved granddaughter, she was able to let go. We all told her it was okay and she did hear us, I am sure. FOH is doing a wonderful job in such a difficult situation.

      • I am at peace no matter what, partially due to the comfort and counsel of my sweet friends in the blogasphere….good Samaritans all!

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