Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Update on BB-December 23-January 2nd

Hello everyone,

I'm sorry I didn't post an update sooner. I meant to post an update after seeing Mom on the 23rd but I was shocked at her decline and didn't have it in me with Christmas looming.

When we went to see BB she was asleep in her new chair and made no response to us being there. Seeing her in that state was a shock. The Priest that married us, Todd Donatelli, was there along with our best family friend Alice Myer to give BB communion and pray over her. It was a beautiful and therapeutic moment as Todd prayed over Mom and we all held each other. Alice had her hand on me, I had my hand on Dad and Mom, Dad had his hand on Mom and Todd had a hand on Mom and Dad. It would have been a beautiful picture.

After communion our Hospice nurse and social worker came to visit and give us an update on Mom. She has slowed her fluids/food and has lost 17 pounds in the past 3 weeks. She would most likely become bedridden in the imminent future. I asked if my brother should try to change his flight as he was coming to visit on January 5th and they said yes....

After the Hospice nurses left Mom's music therapy began. We hadn't planned on staying for that but I'm so glad we did. We sang "I will", and "I get my with a little help from my friends", "Carolina in my Mind" and ended with "Away in a Manger". It was beautiful. Mom started moving her feet a tad and we weren't sure if it was to the music or just one of her muscle jolts. Here is a short video (don't laugh, I didn't know all the words)

At one point I was standing above her and talking to her and she opened her eyes and forced a tiny smile. I think she knew I was there.

On Christmas day we went as a family to visit BB and she was in bed and didn't respond much at all. She briefly opened her eyes as Ford snuggled up to her but that was as much as we experienced that day. Ford has been very emotional about BB. I think because he and I are so close so he sees me get sad. Any recommendations on books/readings for kids would be helpful. 

The day after Christmas I went by with Dad and we met with another Hospice nurse. BB was in bed again that day but we did hear that she was drinking a tad more and ate some pureed breakfast.

I held Mom's hand when Dad stepped out to speak with the nurse and told her I was okay if she wanted to go. I had several friends tell me this was a good idea and I wanted her to know I would be okay. 

I came back to Charlotte heartbroken but with a purpose of planning in my head. We worked on her obituary, I made checklists, set out to find a size 6 navy blazer, made sure Max's dark suit was clean. I have had my dress for awhile, (I think) and Amelie will most likely wear the Skylar Bee Dress from The Proper Peony. It has three Bee's..... for our Barbara Brown Boylan.

But on the following days BB has showed improvement. She began opening her eyes more and smiling for visits. She is still taking a few bites of pureed food and drinking about 100 cc's of juice.

If I don't sound thrilled I apologize. It is confusing. I don't want her to go but this roller coaster is an emotional storm. While most have been celebrating the "new" year with a "fresh" start, I have been thinking that I will be planning a funeral in the coming weeks. There is a great article that can possibly explain this confusion/pain on Scary Mommy called "Watching your parent die is absolute hell". 

I wish I had better words to describe where I am. And what this feels like. I'm also mentally spent with school being out and a long weekend full of solo parenting duties. If that makes me sound like an asshole I apologize again, but good Lord 3 year old girls are crazy. CRAZY. Irrational, moody, nap dropping potty training failing adorable crazy little people And I always always want to remain authentic. I'm not going to paint a rosy picture. BB will die soon, and just when you think you have everything figured out it switches paths and gears. I need to trust in the Lord's timing. I am trying to. But because I see no quality of life for her.....experiencing and watching her die this slow death is awful. She looked like she was dying on the 23rd. And now she looks like she did back in October. I just don't understand.

I know that I should be living my life right now. I want to put Amelie in Ballet. I need to find an indoor soccer league for Ford. I need to plan my father's 70th birthday in 6 days. But I feel handicapped and frozen in place as I wait for my mother to die. I feel like I cannot move forward until then. 


  1. This is probably the hardest thing i've read in ages. I laughed and cried with you. I heart you - and am sending as much hugs as I can. xoxo, Kristin

  2. Katharine, I'm so sorry this is happening - but I saw you asked about books for the kiddos and if this is the one way I can help you - here goes. My son had a class mate pass away this fall and the counselors recommended these books "Something Very Sad Happened", "Badgers Parting Gifts" and "The Fall of Freddy the Leaf". Once you bring those up on Amazon, other great books come up too. The Fall of Freddy the Leaf was a little long for my 4 year old, the others were easier. Much love, hugs and peace to you and your whole family. BB is one special lady. Meg P.

  3. Katherine

    You do not need to apologize for anything since you have been a remarkable daughter and mother. You are not an asshole but a beautiful, thoughtful and loving person. It is remarkable what you do on a daily basis. Please take care of yourself at the terrible time and call me if I can help. I am great at grunt work. All of you are in my prayers.

    Aunt Mollie

  4. i wish i were closer. i'd take your terrible 3 year old and introduce her to my terrible 13 year old and they'd cancel each other out. we could drink wine and watch.

  5. Thank you for being so honest. I agree, you do not need to apologize for one thing. I am so sorry this is happening and am thinking of you and your family.

  6. Your mother regressing more, then coming back a bit is part of the terrible thing that is Alzheimers. I am sorry for your continuing loss.
    Fondly, Anne

  7. My Yellow Balloon and The Invisible String are 2 books that were recommended to me for my children when my mom passed away 2.5 year ago. I am sorry, I understand the awful place you are in right now, Hospice is just a hard "in between place" to be. Is there a Hospice booklet there you can read? The nurses strongly encouraged us to read it and it was very helpful to understand all of the stages and what to expect/not expect.

  8. You're in such a hard place. It's such a confusing time. My heart and prayers are with you and your mother. I feel for your sweet boy who hurts at the thought of you being sad and the prospect of losing his grandmother.