We had a house full of people last weekend. Well, we currently have twelve full-time residents, so the house was full of extra people, all of whom had come to visit Mom. I've mentioned that her pulmonary fibrosis has progressed and I guess that news alarmed enough of our relatives that they flocked to see her. Pappou returned, Mom's brother came up from Florida, his son flew in from California, and her sister and niece traveled from Long Island. Remaining relatives from New Jersey also participated in Grand Visitation Day/Five's Birthday Party, which had been planned prior to the mass influx because, you know, life goes on and kids get upset if you forget to honor the day they graced the world with their presence.
Every day now is busy from the minute I wake up until I collapse in bed eighteen hours later. A lot of time is spent planning which drives me nuts after a while because I just want to do things. But it's all necessary because we're transitioning Mom to hospice palliative care, which means we're test-driving home health aides to find the right one who will come in for ninety minutes a day and make lunch and help with personal care, mostly to give my sister Erin a break.
Erin is Mom's primary caregiver. I hesitate to say Mom would be dead if she weren't here, but I can confidently assert she'd look a helluva lot worse. Erin is an A to Z personal assistant--she sets up medication delivery systems and coordinates outfits. I've already informed my mother she'll be in sweatpants and t-shirts when Erin leaves for a much needed break to see her family in Arizona. I've lived too long with boys--choosing complementary shoes and jewelry are no longer in my skill set.
These details make it seem like Mom is bedridden, and she's not. Her mobility is dramatically decreased because exertion makes her heart work too hard to compensate for her damaged lungs. So our goal is to limit her exertion. She sits most of the day, but she's still Mom--involved, social, caring, fun. She had a great time last weekend, although it was very difficult for her to say good-bye to my cousin because she may never see him again. It was wrenching to watch.
Managing other people's emotions is taxing. Everyone who loves my mother is understandably upset. My mother-in-law keeps encouraging me to share my feelings, and the Captain has reminded me I don't have to be stoical. I know they care about me, and maybe they think I'm in denial. But I know how all this ends. But until it does, life continues, full of school and sports and homework and laundry and company and dinner and Mom, who is alive right now. I get to spend every day with her, and that's a gift.
I'll cry later.