Friday, February 01, 2008

No unfinished business

I've been in New York all week sitting at my Mom's bedside in the same hospital where I was born. She is busy at the work of dying. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but soon. I think she is satisfied that she has no unfinished business. Then again she could fool us all and be imperiously bossing her way around the nursing home by Spring but I think not. My sisters and brother have been with her round the clock because she gets anxious and disoriented if left alone despite the best efforts of the nursing staff. I spent my shifts talking with her and doing a lot of hand stitching on this piece, more than I expected to. More slow cloth, the stitches marking out the moments as they passed. My Dad was well enough to visit with her one afternoon and she spoke to him on the phone the next day briefly.These days she always ends her conversations with "I love you." Northern Westchester is a wonderful facility and with a retired postal worker's medical insurance, she's getting the kind of treatment usually reserved for movie stars. Christopher Reeve, Superman himself, lived his last days right down the hall from her room. There is art on the walls everywhere. This installation by Kim Tamalonis is across from the main elevators on the Lobby floor. At first I thought they were glazed tiles but on closer inspection each element is a separate canvas. It's called "The One That Got Away". Much thought has been given to the needs of caretakers here. There is a center where they can go and rest, have a snack, use the internet. There's a massage chair great for having spent the night sleeping in an upright chair and a quiet room with deep leather chairs and waterfalls on the wall. There is a baby grand piano just outside the doors of these rooms and a talented man was playing something from the Standards songbook, I forget exactly what but it felt appropriate. Somehow it didn't feel right to luxuriate there but the music was enchanting.I guess I haven't been at the caretaker thing long enough. Meanwhile,upstairs, Rosalie was sleeping peacefully for the first time since I arrived. I got home to Georgia late last night and my Mom goes back to the nursing home for Hospice care today. Many thanks to all the kind folks who are thinking about us and helping first hand with this, Life's final project.

8 comments:

Nellie's Needles said...

My thoughts are with you during this difficult time. How appropriate that "beasts" is the piece you had to stitch on ... death being a beast that none of us can deny. It looks and sounds like a marvelous facility and Hospice care workers are wonderful and caring and capable. Dying isn't easy.

zquilts said...

Deb:
Just want you to know that I am holding you in my heart during this hard time. I can only imagine how difficult this can be. I

Caron said...

Deb,
I went through this process last April, and my heart and prayers go out to you and your family. Having a great facility with compassionate people makes all the difference in the world. You will find that the stitching you do at her bedside will be of great comfort to you now... and in the future, as it will bring back memories.

God's Peace,
Caron Mosey

Quilt Pixie said...

hope you too are able to do the "work" of this time, so there wont be unfinished business for you...

verobirdie said...

I think of you in this hard time. So good that you mother can have the company of her kids, and is taken good care of.

Anonymous said...

Deborah,
My thoughts and prayers are with your family in this time of extreme emotional distress. I have also gone through this as of last February we lost my youngest sister to cancer. She was only 47. At least you are there for emotional support of your mother and family. The only thing left to do is tell your mother it is okay to let go and you all understand. We done that with my older brother 4 years ago. I know it is one of the hardest things to do but we have all must go through it.


Doreen

Sharon said...

It's so nice to hear that your mom is getting the care she deserves and that you are able to be with her for her final journey. I was with my mother last spring when she traveled through her last door, and I happened to be working on "Her Mother's Daughter" at the time. Somehow, the stitching then and seeing it now gives me peace in my heart. You are lucky to be able to have been there for parts of it. It's hard now, but later, you will feel it. Hugs. (You can see my piece at http://www.kansasartquilters.org/Exhibits/AlteredViews2007/KAQAlteredViews.htm

JulieZS said...

Thinking of you and your family Deb.