My mom was moved from my parents' home (in hospice care with a paid caregiver as well), to the Clarehouse two Mondays ago. The Clarehouse offers a loving home and quality end-of-life care, as well as continued access to hospice service--and does so completely free of charge. This place is amazing! A great burden was lifted from my dad, both physically and mentally, when she was moved here. Here is a little tour of the facility for those interested:
On Friday afternoon (10/2), my dad had called me because my mom wasn't doing well. She wasn't talking, eating, drinking, or swallowing, and it appeared she had aspirated fluid into her lungs. The hospice nurse frankly told my dad that she didn't believe my mom would make it through the weekend. When he told me this, I wanted to immediately drop everything and head that way. But, we had out of town visitors headed to our home for Luke's party on Saturday, as well as many other party guests. I had to make a tough decision on whether to cancel Luke's party, which he was really looking forward to (and had been for months), or to leave right after the party. We chose the latter, and I felt very guilty about doing it. I am pretty sure I would feel guilty with either decision that was made--someone would be let down either way. However, in hindsight it was the right decision. My mom's condition began improving remarkably, and I even Skyped with her on Friday night at 10:45, after texting one of my brothers and finding out that she was talking. I had already told her earlier that day on the phone that I would be seeing her on Sunday. I told her again that I couldn't wait to see her soon! I didn't get an ounce of sleep that night, with so much on my mind. I called and talked to my mom again the next morning. I was so excited to see her the following day, on Sunday. I made sure to tell her that!
We would usually arrive in the morning to the Clarehouse, complete our school work (thank goodness for homeschooling!), spend some precious time with my mom, and then leave for a couple of hours around lunch.
|Nature journaling inside the "chapel."|
|While on our nature walk, Abbey found a cool leaf to make an imprint of later.|
|The weather was beautiful last week. One afternoon, we wheeled mom's bed out onto her balcony, so she could get some fresh air and sunshine.|
I tried to balance spending that quality time with my mom and dad with caring for and teaching Luke and Abbey. Of course, I desire to spend as much time as possible with my mother, as I know time is limited. It is so tough living so far away! While I was there, my mom began talking, eating, drinking, and her lungs no longer sounded congested. I asked the doctor, who came in to visit my mom on Wednesday, what he thought of my mom's condition, which seemed to be improving (when the nurse thought on Friday she would not make it through the weekend.) He asked if there were any visitors who visited recently, that she may have been looking forward to seeing. Of course I replied, "well, we live out of town and I told her on Friday we were coming to visit." He said that very well could have been enough for her to "rally." He said it is pretty common for patients to use all their energy to improve so that they can spend time with loved ones. I love my sweet mom so much!
Luke prays for her every night. He speaks about "when she is healed." I wish I had the faith that he has--the faith that fully believes in her healing. Miracles do happen! It is just so difficult to see her in her dying state, and have that faith that she can be completely healed. But, it is definitely possible. It has happened before in history.
|My dad was making my mom smile in this picture.|
|It is hard to tell here, but I could tell my mom loved it when Abbey cuddled up next to here.|
My sweet mom. I feel like she communicates with her eyes. They are a window into her soul. Those beautiful blue eyes would look so deeply into mine, as if she were trying to talk to me with them. I just stared right back, as if to communicate, "I love you" back at her. I could have sat here forever, just staring into her eyes. As I did so, I thought about how many more opportunities I may have to look at her, eye to eye. I fear those moments are limited. I yearn to be right by her side so much! It is so tough to be a mother (and teacher) of little ones, living far away from the rest of my family, while also having the strong desire serve my parents.
We had to come back home to take care of some things at our house, and let the kids participate in some of their activities they are involved in (as they missed them last week). But, we will be back very soon. In the meantime, I am so thankful for Clarehouse for my parents--it is a place that is very inviting for visitors. And, my parents have had visitors pretty much non-stop--my mom and dad are loved by so many! I am thankful for all the family and friends who can be right by their side, especially in the times when we cannot be there as we wish.