Mom fell ill with pneumonia in early December. Steve and Chery took her to the hospital in Owatonna and she managed to fight it off. She was occasionally confused, and often tired. Eventually she was transferred to a nursing home and seemed to be getting her strength back. But her recovery was short-lived.
Following is a compilation of emails I sent to various friends and relatives from the past few days.
Jan. 5 —
Steve called. He took Mom’s records to the cardiologist, and before they got home the doctor called saying to get her to the emergency room in St. Mary’s hospital in Rochester right away. So they did. She is in the intensive care unit. Her heart is failing and is beyond repair. I am flying up there tomorrow. Steve said I may be too late.
Jan. 7 —
I arrrived in Rochester Thursday night and got to visit with Mom for an hour or so. Cousin Mike also arrived from New Jersey; he beat me here by a couple of hours. Mom was quite lucid and engaged in conversation for a while. Then, as she tired, she became more confused. We went home around 10. She is obviously at the end. Her kidneys have shut down and her legs and arms are swollen with fluid. They have removed the monitors and and are giving her morphine for the pain. This afternoon they will move her out of intensive care into a hospice room. The doctors have said it is only a matter of hours or days.
Jan. 9 —
Last night Mike came out to the house and brought me in to be with Mom throughout the night. I sat with her and talked and read to her and rocked in the chair in time to her breathing. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow, and with the occassional pause. In the morning, Mike came and took over the vigil and I went to nap in his motel room across the street. Steve and Cheryl and Dad arrived while I sleeping. I got up around 11:20 and came back over to the hospital.
When I got to her room, Cheryl said that doctors had been in and discussed moving Mom to a nursing home. The earliest that would happen would be Tuesday. Mike was preparing to leave to catch his flight home to New Jersey. Mom’s face was losing its pink color and she had a few more pauses in her breathing. And then she stopped and didn’t start again. It was a very gentle passing.
Dad said, “All her fun is over. And so is mine.”
Mike stayed for a few more minutes and then had to leave to catch his plane back to New Jersey.
Mom’s body is being donated to the Mayo Clinic as were her parents. We are going to plan a spring memorial service so that various and sundry relatives can be here together to celebrate her life without having to dodge snowstorms.
Steve and Cheryl will be staying here with Dad for several more weeks. He has a kidney stent replacement surgery coming in mid-February.
I will miss her terribly; but she had a good and long life, for that I am happy.