Mom is still hanging on. No one quite knows how or why. I am constantly being asked if there is something that needs closure for her: is there someone from whom she needs to hear; some significant date looming in the distance. How am I supposed to read my mother’s mind? I have no idea why she is clinging so tightly to the life that she wanted so desperately to leave. So I cling to the imagery that the hospice nurse provided: we are now in God’s waiting room.
The last time Mom ate or drank anything was 10 days ago. The last time she spoke or opened her eyes was 8 days ago. That person lying in the bed is no longer my mother, she is just a corpse who continues to have a pulse and every once in while gasp for air. I was told 12 days ago that the end was “eminent”. I was told a week ago that any breath could be her last. I was called out of school on Wednesday because “it could be any minute and she is just hanging on for you to come.” And yet…she still continues to hang on. I was told that she will probably not make it through this weekend, but I am sure you can understand why I don’t hold much faith in those words.
It occurred to me one day this week as I was taking my daily walk – that nature mirrors my own life. My mother continues to hang on – much like the withered leaf that clings to the branch. New growth is starting to bud and perhaps that old leaf wants to ensure that the next generation will continue before it is willing to fall to the ground. As it stands now – I have a number of significant milestones to experience – all within about a month of each other. I will become an orphan – a grandmother – and the matriarch of the family. That is a lot of changes to learn to accept in a very short amount of time. I’m not quite sure where I fit in this nature metaphor. My mother is the withered leaf – my granddaughter is the new bud. I suppose that makes me the mighty oak? Not quite the responsibility I bargained for.