Two weeks ago my mom passed away. I thought I was ready.
I had visited her in the hospital for 3 days prior, seeing her mostly unconscious, bruised from IVs and the respirator on her face (she had very thin skin from sun damage as a child and would bruise easily just brushing up against something).
She had degenerative disk disorder and arthritis in her hip which made sitting for any length of time uncomfortable, even when she was younger. In the hospital, she would try to toss and turn, but was so weak she could barely move. We would shift her around as her breathing shallowed indicating she was in pain. She’d settle down and breath deeply for a while, until that position became uncomfortable.
She had congestive heart failure, had a heart attack 17 years ago or so, continued to smoke afterwards. She had COPD and breathing problems over the last few years, and kept smoking. I think cleaning out her dresser & purses, we found 5 packs of ‘stashed’ cigarettes. She told the doctors she only smoked 2 cigarettes a day. It was closer to a pack a day.
She also lost her eyesight to macular degeneration. She had told me it’s hereditary but I can’t recall anyone else in the family with it. I honestly think it had more to do with sitting in a 900 square foot house, windows and doors shut, with a haze of cigarette smoke lingering in the air.
In the hospital she was in pain, annoyed with the respirator and during one days when she seemed more conscious (although I still doubt she knew who was who) wanted to go home. I wanted her to recover and go home, but I think part of me knew it was the end. I thought I was ready.
Part of my anger in the grief cycle is why didn’t she take better care of herself. Why continue to smoke after such drastic health events. I never saw her exercise for the sake of exercise. I really don’t understand it.
I know everyone dies, and no one lives forever but Mom could have lived another 15 years easily. Well, maybe not easily if she had no desire to change her lifestyle, quit smoking, move more, eat healthier. I’m not sure how many fresh fruits & veggies she ate.
As I am approaching 50 years old, I’m making a serious commitment to moving more, eating less sugar, and more fruits & veggies. I’m not going to live forever but when I’m 72 yrs old, I’ll be able to get out and continue to geocache, hike and be social.
As much as I love my mom, I’m not ready to become like her as I get older.