Friday, October 21, 2011

Death becomes her

Today marks day 30 since my sister's stroke, and also day 30 of no food and very little water.

It's a strange thing, watching my sister die. Each day, a little more of her slips away. She's a little less aware, a little thinner, and laughing a little less.

Yesterday was a wretched, horrible day. She can no longer get out of bed because it's too painful. Her paralyzed side, with all it's intact and working nerve endings, tortures her with pain if we try to move her even half an inch. Her doctor, who makes house calls, said it's not worth it to move her and have her in so much pain. The morphine sublingual drops don't even help with that intense pain. She doesn't want to move and since the time is short, she remains in one position, on her back, where she is the most comfortable.

I spent several hours alone with her yesterday, as she sat in bed, staring out the picture window, looking at the river and the snow. I did everything I could to make her smile. She would only look at me with tears in her eyes. I kept asking her what was wrong, besides the fact she was dying, why was she so unhappy.

Once again, as she has several times in the past several days, she spelled "E.....L.....I!" I know what this means and it breaks my heart. I asked her, are you asking about Linda again? (heavy sigh on my part) A big nod yes from my sister. Linda, my sister's oldest daughter (49), who lives only ten miles down the road, has not come to see her mother since October 1.

There are a lot of things I could say about Linda, but I hesitate to say anything. I know she's mentally ill, but right now I can't excuse her behavior. Linda told me today that she can't bear to see her mother like this because it hurts her too much. A lot of responses went through my head, mostly that I wanted to tell her she's a spoiled, self-centered little bitch, but instead, I told her I understood and that it was okay.

After spending several hours with Linda today (she's finally talking to me again), she has agreed if we move my sister to a hospice for her last few days, she will visit her there. She just can't come to the house where she only had happy memories. It would ruin it for her.

Again, the thoughts in my head were quite different from what I said to her. I hate the idea of another ambulance ride for my sister. It will be her fourth in four weeks, but this one will be one-way to the hospice. I think dying at home would be better, but I also know my sister's dying wish is to see this daughter. We have almost everything lined up to move my sister tomorrow to the hospice.

My other niece (46) and her husband haven't left my sister's side.  The sad part of this is that this niece, sweet, mild mannered and kind, suffers from severe depression. The kind of clinical depression that  leads  to suicide. There have been many attempts over the years, several were almost successful.

My sister was not only her mother, but her best friend, her support and her confidante. This is a very difficult time for this niece, and I'm not sure she's going to pull through what is undoubtedly the most catastrophic event of her life.

Funny thing about my sister. She's always been a great beauty, she had movie star good looks in the fifties. People would often comment on her beauty. Even though she's 73, she's still gorgeous. She never thought she was pretty. Each day, as she gets weaker and thinner, she becomes even more beautiful. Her wrinkles are disappearing. Her eyes are bluer than I've ever seen them. When she blesses me with a smile, my heart melts.

I already miss her.


Miz said...

sending you my thoughts.

xo xo

Jane Cartelli said...

All I can say is God bless you for your love and compassion to so many people in your life. Wow.


Anna Down Under said...

My heart broke while I was reading that, but at the same time I felt your love for your sister, and the beauty of that warmed my heart as well. I can't imagine how difficult it must be watching her decline - I did so with my own mother before she passed and while it only lasted 2 days, it was so hard. My thoughts are with you.

dawn said...

I can't help but cry for you Diana and for your sister and the whole family. Wish I could give ya a big hug. I think once she sees her daughter she will let herself go. I'm sad that her daughter is so selfish to make her mother suffer so long. I hope her other daughter will be ok. I'm sending love and prayers your way.

Beth said...

Oh, my. Thoughts are with you.

Dawn said...

You paint us a picture of what a beautiful woman your sister is, and how special she is to you.
You also show, with your gentle kindness towards Linda despite her behaviour what a lovely lady you are.
I'm sorry this has been such a hard month...but the image of your sister gaining this beauty you describe will be a memory that lasts.
My thoughts are completely with you in the days to come

Anonymous said...

Diana thank you so much for sharing so openly and honestly about your situation. It is so complicated. It does sound as if your sister is hanging on until she can say good bye to her oldest daughter. Its shocking that she has lived 30 days without food and so little water. I'm so glad you are there with her and her daughters. It will not be easy when she is gone, but at least you will not have any regrets as you have been there 100% for her. I will keep all of you in my prayers. I will say a special prayer for both of her daughters to experience healing. And a prayer for God to continue to give you the strength to get thru all of this.

Ron said...

Thinking about you daily

Anonymous said...

i'm so angry about this whole thing - for what you've been thru. i just don't understand this whole process- i understand her right to die.. but knowing that people are around her suffering watching her - well just seems selfish to me. i don't know that i could stand by and watch this. i'm very sad for you to have to see your sis go thru this... just feel angry today about your suffering at this point..xoxo Patty

David bone said...

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Joy said...

I'm sorry to hear about your sister. There is nothing anyone can say or do that's going to take away the pain of losing her. However, I will pray that your family and your sister will have peace.

I lost my grandfather who was like my dad a few years ago. He was eat up with cancer and watching him waste away killed me because he was always the strongest man I knew. Having to pick him up off the floor was difficult and painful but I wouldn't trade that time I spent with him for the world. Your other niece will regret not spending time with her mother.

He died in hospice. Our family was hesitant to send him there but in the end it was the best choice. They are some of the nicest people on the planet and in the end I was thankful for them.

I know you probably already are but make sure you tell your sister how much you love her every minute you get.