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Oh, My ChickensJune 9, 2008

Mom ain't doing so well. This whole bringing-her-home to die thing is on one hand:

a) Perhaps the single hardest thing I've ever been part of. It's at once heart-wrenching and soul-gratifying to be the people who keep her comfortable, even though it's at the expense of her being able to communicate clearly with us. No. That's overstating it. That's just what it feels likes. A couple of days ago, she could handle this dosage and still be clear sometimes. Those were really good moments. Today, between hits of morphine, she was agitated and frustrated, unable to move the way she wants to, unable to make herself understood. But then she drifts back into sleep and appears peaceful. It's hard and scary and sad and painful.

On the other hand, it's:

b) Perhaps the single best thing I've ever been part of. I am inordinately proud of the people that comprise my family. Christy handles every part of the logging and charting of everything that's happened/been given with brains and cheer, and the tone in her voice as she talks to Mom is one of the most loving things I've ever heard. Bethany, who seems to always be there for the worst moments, is grace personified, very like her mother. Bethy rolls with every punch, and keeps a clear head even through tears. Dad is holding up admirably, and I love the way he kisses her hello and goodbye, just like always. Mom likes that, too.

We are a team. A really good, cohesive, united team, and if we had a chant, it would be Give me an N! Give me an O! No Pain! No Pain! Mom says, "Give me dope," and we give it to her. When she can't say it, but looks it, we give it to her. And then we have our dinner in dribs and drabs, as we are able to, and someone sleeps next to her and the next day we start it all over again. How do people do it without this kind of team? I am honored and blessed to be able to be here (paid leave and kind employers make all the difference in the world, too). I am so lucky to have this time. We've told her over and over how loved she is, and how she's the best mom in the world. How lucky we are to be able to do this. I've heard from people all week who didn't get this chance, and we don't take it for granted, not for a second.

So if I'm not around for a bit, don't worry. The Herrons are busy being the best family they can be.

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Comments

I've been thinking about you all, all the time. Lots of love.

There aren't really any words...just know that your cyberfamily is here for you, too.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Sending good juu-juus your way.

I think the Herrons might be the very best family a little Mama could have ever wished for. My heart and prayers are with your family. All of us will be thinking of you and yours, most especially little Mama. May she have no pain.

The thought of you had just crossed my mind and then I came to see if you had another post.

I really do hope all of you get through this time as easily as possible.
I hope she is as peaceful and as pain free as she can be.
You all are in my thoughts daily.

I only hope that when it is time to do the same for my mother that my family is able to do as well as you all are doing for your mother.
Best thoughts and wishes to all of you.

*hugs*

Just lots of *hugs*

Alone last year, I had the same experience and with morphine pump in hand helped with the pain to ease my mother's passing. This journey is life changing and difficult and I am extremely glad you have others with you. Take care.

What a wonderful team, and what a clear reflection of how amazing your mom is. Sending hugs, peace, and strength to you all....

I've been thinking about you and your family so much - I wish for peace for all of you, and especially for your little Mama.

I am thinking of you often and sending hugs to you and yours.

I have nothing profound to share or write, only wanted you to know I'm thinking about you and your family and sincerely hoping everyone keeps being okay and team oriented and lots of positive energy from Seattle...

My thoughts are with you and your family. My mom went much the same way, years ago, and I know that combined grief and gratefulness you write of well. May you all be comforted by each other's presence and by your best memories of your mom.

Oh. To feel the gratitude at a time like this makes magic. How glorious for your little Mama to go in a cloud of magic and love. Blessings to you all.

Oh Rachel, I'm so sorry. Thanks for writing about this. Hugs and peace and love to all of you.

Just remember that the roller coaster ride may get more roller coastery before the very end as her lucidity really slips away, but it's still far better than being in the hospital. And doing right by your loved ones is the most precious thing you can do in this world.

I ache for you. Many hugs to you and your family.

This is the right thing- bringing her home. When my closest friend died, it was in hospital - which he did *not* want - with a camera on him 24/7 since it was the terminal cancer ward. At home and with his loved ones was where he wanted to be.

At home among all her loved ones is exactly what your mama should have. She is so lucky to have the family she does. Many prayers.

So hard, and so wonderful. I'll be holding good thoughts for you all. And chanting 'no pain' along with you...

Big, big hugs from Japan! What a very lucky family you are to have each other!

Hugs, hang in there. Without wishing for her demise, I hope that the end in peaceful. You are doing great, you are there for her and she knows it.

Oh, darling, you and your family are in my prayers. I pray for peace and grace for your Little Mama, and for that unnameable but very real emotion that makes people instinctively hold out their arms to one another in times of crisis for the rest of you. Bless.

Wow, good posts people!
All I can do is send kind thoughts your way and be glad that you have such a wonderful family around you. Love and peace to your beloved little Mama.

Rachael, I am so sorry to read this. Your words and perspective are a beautiful and comforting thing and I wish you all peace and freedom from pain for your mother.

This is so much like the rest of life, you know? You can't have B without also having A. It's just all squished up together right now. Love, love, love to you and your Mama and the rest of your family.

My thoughts and prayers are with your family.
I was also blessed to be able to care for my mother in her final days.
Now, 18 years later, I'm able to remember with love and the odd tear this time and feel comfort that i was able to do this last thing for my much loved mother.
You will cherish this time.

a few years ago, i went through this with my best friend. it was a life changing experience. i think of her every day.
wishing you peace and strength and knowing that you have support all over the world.

I have been thinking about you, looking forward to reading your next post and dreading it at the same time.
I wish there was something I could say to make it better, to make it less painful. I can't honestly imagine what you and your family are going through... It's so amazing and heart warming seeing how strong and full of love you are for each other.
Sending you the warmest hugs and most positive vibes, hoping to ease your pain even just for a fraction of a second. Much love xxx

Oh girl, I'm so sorry you are going through this, but I do know the satisfaction and warmth that comes from a family that unites to support each other at times like this, instead of tearing itself apart. Been there, experienced this, too. I have seen the other kind - I used to joke that I was afraid to walk into the ladies' room on the oncology floor, I'd interrupted so many ugly knock-down drag-out fights among grown women screaming at each other, I called it "the Springer Show." Caring for a dying loved one is a huge test of family bonds, and you all are acing the final. Everybody doesn't rise to the challenge.

The love and support you are showing each other, as well as to her, will give your mother peace.

Huge hugs from Florida.

Delurking to wish you and yours strength in the coming days. Having been were you are with my father, now almost 25 years ago, i can tell you this is the hardest and most rewarding thing you will ever do. (bar raising children ...maybe...)I remember well those days of being emotionally completely drained. But the final memories of my father are wonderful, and are what stayed uppermost in my mind. Not having to leave him alone, being with him 24/7, brought me and my sisters closer even then we were, and witnessing his final days, helping him, helped us through the dark times afterwards. He died in his sleep, a final woosh, and this image is burned in my mind, after all the pain and drug induced confusion, he looked so at peace.
i wish you strength for the hard times ahead, and remember, lean on your sisters, and let them lean on you, and try to remember the little funny episodes as they happen, they will live in your memory far longer then the pain.
strength and hugs.
Carolien

My mom was home when she died, too. My dad did mostly everything but Dale and I were there when she died. It's a blessing, really. I'll be thinking about you.

You and your family are amazing for what you are doing for your mother. She is lucky to be surrounded by so much love. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

Oh, sweetie - I was going to wish you and your family all the best, but you ARE all the best.

So I'll just send love.

I am just awed at your family's strength. Situations like this can bring out the best and the worst in people and I'm just glad it's been the absolute best for you. My thoughts are with you and yours.

You and your family are in my thoughts. xx

Our thoughts and hugs and 'online support' are with you. It is good that your family is able to lean on each other. *good thoughts*

With you in love

peace
j

there are no words for this experience. my thoughts/prayers are with your family.

stay blessed with this beautiful love. thinking of you and hope for peace and strength for you and your family. take care.

You know, I was lying awake last night during a thunderstorm around 2:00 am and prayed for your Mom and for my own relative in need of release from pain. I hadn't realized fully what stage your Mom was at and I am very sorry to hear this. It is as you know it to be - this tender farewell is a very precious and in our society, an all too rare gift to a loved one. Very courageous too for all involved. Peace, comfort and laughter too - that helps a lot...

I tried and tried to think up some witty quip to make you laugh for a second, but came up dry. I think about your mom all thru the day. You are all so strong, and you could never be that way without the example your mother set for you. As mothers, we spend our whole lives preparing our children to be able to deal with stress and sadness, and it appears that your mother did an awesome, awesome job. She should be proud to have such wonderful daughters.

Khalil Gibran once wrote, "Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation." I don't know if he was entirely right. It seems to me that some lucky folks - your family among them - know just how deep and strong their love for one another is. Not only are you enmeshed within the security of the web of love you have for one another, but you are also blanketed right now by the love and warm thoughts of everyone who cares for you and yours - from people near and far, people who know you well, people whom you've never met but whose lives you've touched via your blog. So much love. Strength and peace to you and your family, Rachael.

You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

My sister did the majority of the care for our Mom as I lived 400 miles away. I came when I could and stayed as long as I could to give relief to the main team. It was one of the most rewarding things I've ever done - an honor and a privilege to be able to ease my Mom to her end. Now my husband and I are doing it for his Mom and again, it's an honor and privilege to be able to do it. It's a real gift to look back when they're gone and know that you did everything you could and that you showed your love in most tangible ways. God bless you all, and give you graces to get through the tough times.

Well, I'm sorry it had to be such circumstances that brought it about, but I'm so glad for you that you get to enjoy your family all pulling together like this. And I'm glad (but not the least bit surprised) that you are able to find the good in what you're all going through.

I went through this same strange, horrible and wonderful experience with my Mom two years ago -- my caring thoughts are with each of you during this journey.

God bless; my thoughts and love are with you, and I'm sure Lucy's are as well.

Love from both of us.

I'm so happy to hear your family is working so well together but very sad for you all. I know this is difficult. Peace to you all.

You are blessing your mother by surrounding her with your love. I'll be thinking of you all.

Prayers and hugs.

Peace to your mama. What a caring, wonderful family you are part of.

Thinking of you and your lovely family.

I had the same conflicting opportunity with my dad eight years ago, and it really was the best thing I've ever done, during the worst time I've ever had.

I'm praying for you all!!

I've read and enjoyed your blog for years. The love you feel for your family has always been clear and evident. My heart goes out to you all during this time.

Oh, lady, I am so sorry. But very glad that you are all able to give her - and each other- the very best of yourselves.

Will be thinking of you.

You and your family are in our thoughts.

sending love and good thoughts to you all and huge waves of "no pain" thoughts for your mom

I'm sending peaceful thoughts to all of you.

What a blessing for your mother, and a gift to all of you to be together during this time. Love, hugs and peace to all of you.

My thoughts are with your family. Little Mama is tremendously lucky to have a family like yours.

Oh honey. I have been in a similar position (but *not* the same) and I get it. But then I also don't, because everyone's situation is so personal that nobody could truly understand fully.

But that being said. You are amazing. Beautiful, strong, and inspiring. The love that rolls off of this entry makes me weep, both happy and sad tears. Thank you for sharing your peace.

Oh, Rachel. I knew the Little Mama was sick, but I hadn't clued in until now how bad it was.

I'm sending you an email right now with more, but just know that we're all out here loving you guys -- you, who we "know", and the others by extension.

Dying is the very last thing we get to do in our life. Your mum's lucky to have such a loving supportive family to allow her to do this her way, at peace and at home. Wishing I could reach through the wires and give you a squeeze.

Sending love.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Please know that although this is a very difficult time, in the future it will give you great peace that you took such loving and wonderful care of your Mom.

You are being so strong and positive. I can't imagine losing my mother (who had a cancer scare at the beginning of the year).

I'm thinking of you and sending you all my love.

Best,
Moira

I'm so glad you have such a great support system for your mum. It is such a challenge, I can't even imagine...

Be careful with the morphine, we had a horrible experience with it and it brought on hallucinations and extreme agitation, which made everything much worse.

My thoughts are with all of you.

I have no words for you, Hon. But lots of prayer -- for all of your family. May God continue to bless you all.

More hugs. I'm so sorry that you are going through this and at the same time, it is good to know that you are all together climbing this mountain with the little mama. You will always remember this labor of love. Each and every one of you is filled with love and devotion and it is a raw and beautiful gift in the midst of deep sadness.

Hang in there. I'm glad you're able to be there, as a family. Family is so important.

I think of you and your family often and wish you all healing, good, strong thoughts. Like many of your other commenters, I've been in your shoes and I'm so glad your family is all together and supportive. Take care dear, it's hard.

Hang in there. I just can't believe your mother is so ill. I remember sitting on the Pismo pier with her eating clam chowder, and she was so cute and content and full of life. You are an amazing family, and my thoughts are with you. Go Team Herron!

You're amazing, Rachel. All of you. How blessed you are to find some grace during this most difficult of times and how gracious of you to share it with us.

Just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of people sending thoughts and prayers in the direction of your family.

Rachel, Please know that you and your family and Little Mama are in my thoughts. This is one of single most amazing journeys you can make with a loved one. Experience the gift through its most painful and beautiful moments. You are loved.

You and your family are in my thoughts, Rachael. Sadly, I've been there more than a few times and it's never easy, but there is some satisfaction in knowing you are doing the right thing for someone you love. Take care of yourself.

I've been thinking about your little mama a lot the last couple of weeks.
I'm wishing you peace.
Your family sounds wonderful and it's wonderful that you know it.

Keep on keeping on. I'm thinking about you.

Thinking of you and your family - sending as much peace as possible your way (and strength and love!)

What Ann said. I've been thinking about you guys all the time. Love to all.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo - SNIFF! - xoxoxoxo

rachel it's so good to hear your family is working so well during such a difficult time. somehow, it doesn't surprise me in the least.

thinking of you and your family often.

Rachel and family - my thoughts are with you all especially your mom and dad. Your mom knows that she has a wonderful family who will do all possible to ease her pain. I hope that she can sense the peace and power that we all send her way. I am in a similar situation as you, but I am alone looking after my mom. I have a caregiver during the day while I am at work. I take care of her during the night. My sister lives in North Carolina, USA and my brother in the UK.

My Dad died a year ago Sunday and your post really hit me. You're right--it's the hardest and most special thing you can do. Your family sounds absolutely loving and wonderful and I'm so sorry this is what you need to do right now.

Be strong and be sad and take care. You and your family are in my thoughts.

Still thinking of you. Holding you and your family in my heart.

I've been thinking of you and your family... I'm so sorry to hear about mom. But, you're right, she's very lucky to have such an amazing family, and that she gets to spend her final days with the people she loves the most in the world.

You guys are a fantastic bunch, and I wish you all the very best.

My thoughts are with you and your family.

I'm so sorry for you, but also glad for you, that you are able to have such a vital role in her life right now. As painful and frightening as it is and will be, down the road this will bring you great confort.

Oh Sweetie. So very glad to hear that your family is there for your mom. I've done home hospice for one I loved - without a team. It was the hardest thing I ever did in a lifetime of taking on big challenges. You and your family and most of all your sweet mother is so blessed to have one another at this time! Sending prayers and lots of love and peaceful thoughts to all of you.

Peace and love.

All the best to you and your family. I think of all of you often. This is a hard thing to be going thru. Made easier because you are all there for one another. All of us who read your blog understand when you can not be around. Losing your mother is hard. Being able to be with my mother her last few days are what makes her passing easier to deal with.

nothing I can say will make this time any easier... We had time, family time like you are describing with our Grandmother. It was the hardest thing we ever did BUT it is one of the things we talk about often and have such important memories of. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and all of your family.

Helping mom go from this world to the next is a joy and crushing sadness -- I know from experience. It really is an honor to care for mom at this time. My prayers are with you and your family.

Without such a team? You go it alone and you bear up as best as you can, and when it's all over, you collapse for awhile and retreat from the world until you're ready to face it again (like I did).

You're very blessed to have the strength of your family surrounding you. Your Mother is blessed to have you all there and she appreciates it more than you'll ever know. Much love and comfort to all of you. You are all in my prayers.

I'm keeping you guys in my thoughts.

Oh honey,
I am so glad that you are surrounded by loved ones. I send my love and comfort to you all.
Words just seem so inadequate, I am holding your hand in my heart.
Katrina

I am in awe of how amazing you guys have been through this whole thing; my thoughts and prayers are still with your mom and your whole family. You guys are great!

love and peace to you all. there are lots of people out there chanting with you.

I am so sorry you're having to go through this, but so happy that you are able to spend precious time with your little Mama at the end. I know she will have the best passing possible with all that love surrounding her. You are all in my thoughts. Love to you and yours.

It is so wonderful that your whole family can have this time together to comfort your mother and each other. So much nicer and more peaceful than the hospital. You will have fewer regrets and more peace that you have done everything possible to make your mother feel loved. Blessings and prayers for all of you. And hugs.

I'm mostly a friendly lurker, but I wanted to say how touched I am by this post. The work of love goes on and on. and this WILL be one of the best things you and your family have done as human beings on this earth. Remember that so many people--even "strangers"--are holding you up in our thoughts and prayers during this important time. Peace to all of you, especially your little Mom...and thanks so much for giving all of us such an intimate snapshot of your life...

My sweetie and I were just there in April and held his mom's hand as she left us. It was very, very difficult time. I would not have done anything else or anything differently. When she "couldn't say it" we were there to help with the pain. Strange to say, but it was an experience that leaves me with peace and optimism and faith. Much love to all the Herrons.

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