Thirty-First Stone: Endings

January is nearly over, just ninety minutes before we flip the calendars over. Another month consigned to history. I plan to visit Mother tomorrow. I have had reports that she is not well, and the doctor suspects she may have had a minor stroke. Aunt saw her today. She tells me that Mother is very quiet, very tired, and there is even less of her than before. I am hoping she will know me, hoping she will respond to my touch and to my voice, hoping we will enjoy some poetry together. Beyond that, I don’t know what to hope. Mother has been at the beginning of the end for so long now, that I have no idea what to expect.


30 thoughts on “Thirty-First Stone: Endings

    • Thanks Speccy. She is surprisingly tough for someone who weighs around five stone. We have prepared ourselves for her death so many times, in so far as you can prepare yourself, but now I think I just expect her to survive.

      • That is the way it was with my husband’s mother. When she finally died, we were all shocked because we thought she was going to live forever even though we thought she would die soon for 30 years. My thoughts are with you, Isobel.

        • That’s it. She seems to have such a tenacious grasp on life, but one day that grasp will fail. I hope when it does she is comfortable and serene. I would feel we had really let her down if she were in pain or frightened.

        • I wonder if you need to ask her if she is ready to die. So many times people are ready to die but don’t want to let go because they believe their children want them to hang on. I have seen good outcomes when people have told their loved ones that they will be missed but it is okay for them to pass on. In your mother’s case her body may not be ready to let go – it is just the thinking part of her brain that is getting messed up.

        • Sometimes she says she wants to die. Sometimes she asks if she is going to die and looks quite anxious about it. If the opportunity comes up to ask her if she is ready, I shall take it. We read a number of poems about death, and one of her favourite hymns for me to read o her is Abide With Me.

        • Her anxiety may be leaving you and not wanting to think about your grief. I have a book in Michigan that I am reading about a mother and son who form a two-person book club and their reading gives them opportunity to talk about her death from the incurable cancer she has. I don’t remember the name but what you said about the hymns and poems reminds me of it. Yes, Abide With Me would be a comforting one for her.

        • You know Pat, that may be true at a visceral level, but I don’t think she could articulate such a thought anymore, and today she didn’t talk about dying at all.

        • It makes it hard for you. All you can do is try to reach her, and comfort her, on a visceral level. I am thinking of you both.

    • Complex is a good word. I think my reasons for wanting my mother to live are probably selfish. If she had been able to see her future ten years ago, I think she would have almost certainly swallowed the pills.

    • Thanks Pseu. It’s a beautiful afternoon, and I am looking forward to being with her. I hope she knows she is loved. I tell her often, and so does my aunt. I am looking forward to reading Instructions to her and seeing how she responds to it.

  1. I know you’ll enjoy just being with her…..and she’ll enjoy the comfort of holding your hand and hearing your voice… far as expectations, I found it easier on myself not to have them – it’s hard enough going through this time without wanting it to somehow be different. I’ll be thinking about you!

    Hugs, Pam

  2. Pingback: Beginnings | IsobelandCat's Blog

  3. My heart goes out to you….I do know how hard it is to see our parents not be well and to grow weaker. I was able to take care of both my Dad and Mom here at home…hard at times but such a blessing to be with them…you are such a blessing to her and a good daughter…my heart and prayers are with you. Even when my Dad and my Mom came to the place of being in a coma I kept talking to them and telling them how much I loved them…it made a huge difference as the hospice nurse told me they can hear us…so keep talking to her, hold her hands and she will know and feel you with her. Lots of prayers and hugs to you…God Bless.

  4. I have a feeling you mother will enjoy what ever you read to her…but ‘Instructions’ seems to me to be something she might just respond to the magic of…I hope so Isobel.

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