When my mother first went into hospice (July, about 10 weeks ago), I did a lot of research about what to expect. More than one website said that it was an "easy" death, with gradual organ failure leading to a peaceful death.
It didn't sound lovely, but it sounded tolerable. Like, that wouldn't be too hard to bear. And that's how it was, for a while.
Yesterday, Mom asked my brother, "What's wrong with your face?" It was a complete sentence, an entire thought, a rare thing these days. He told her, I was just crying. But today she told my sister she couldn't see, and my sister says her eyes are filming over. She says my father said exactly the same thing to her, What's wrong with your face? when he was dying.
She won't take food or water or medicine, now. They're giving her liquid morphine drops from time to time, and she sleeps. She cried out, "Help! Help!" just twice, today. Usually it's a lot more. Just a couple of weeks ago, she could still have a conversation, but sometimes she prayed in Polish, and she called out for her sister May, who has been gone more than 40 years.
The mental breakdown is sad, and it's especially sad that her sight has failed, since it was the one thing she had left. She loved looking out the window at the woods in her backyard, so I sent bird feeders to attach to her windows, to bring the birds closer to her. But now she can't even see them anymore.
The lie, though, was about the physical breakdown, and maybe it's just because my mother has so many degenerative conditions that it has not been a gentle descent. Horrible, painful things: wounds that won't heal; bowels that impact; scratching and scratching at itches that won't stop; wanting to get up and move, but not being able to sit up, much less get out of bed.
We are all grateful she can sleep, in the hope that she is not in pain.