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Posts Tagged ‘death’

What’s Been Going On

It’s been awhile. I’m having a difficult family time at the moment that will not get better just worse. It’s clear that my parents are both at the end of their lives. My responsibility is to shepherd them through to the end. I didn’t understand that part about shepherding. I was trying to make it all better, fighting against what naturally happens at the end of lives, trying to “turn back the clock” so to speak. That all came crashing down around me and I kind of crashed along with it.

Mom and Dad both fell. They are 87 and still live in their own home. They are desperately possessive about their independence. When I got the hysterical call from mom that she and dad were hurt, Skip and I both got to their house in under 10 minutes.

Head wounds bleed a lot. Head wounds of people who are on blood thinners due to previous heart attacks bleed a copious amount. When I arrived I called 911. I tried to stem the bleeding. By the time the emts and the police arrived I had gone into shock. I was still functioning but in shock.

I spent the evening in the emergency room with them. The hospital said it would admit them. Of course. At 2 am I went back to their home and proceeded to clean all the blood up and out. I washed, scrubbed, scoured, made sure there wasn’t a speck of blood anywhere. I was still in shock of course.

The next day I was told by the hospital that dad had vascular dementia. Progression unstoppable. The forgetting, and misplacing of things was not somethingĀ little. It was part of a bigger disease that would take him down.

When the hospital released them I took them home. Things I hadn’t noticed about dad became more apparent. The vascular dementia was moving along. On the second day out of the hospital, dad started running a fever. Whenever he does that we have to get him to the hospital right away because it is a urinary infection. In the recent past, the infection has caused him to lose a kidney. Another night spent in the emergency room. He is still hospitalized.

Mom and dad work like a unit together. What one can’t do the other can. With dad in the hospital, mom can’t really function. She is in the middle of heart failure and all the symptoms associated with that. I have to be there for her most of the day. I run between her house and the hospital.

Yesterday I was so tired, I myself fell on the steps coming up into my own home. I thought the knee cap was broken, but it just seems to be terribly banged up. Today, I will do the same thing as I did yesterday. Take care of mom, then go the hospital and see dad.

Shepherding is not easy. It is so full of emotions I don’t want to feel: loss, fear, panic, despair. But I remind myself it is not about me. This is their time and I need to be fully present for it in a calming, soothing, positive way.

This is what I’ve been up to lately. Just trying to keep it together.

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