I am grieving so many losses. Tears come to my eyes at random times. When I close my eyes to sleep, tears come instead.
I grieve my bickering, dysfunctional family that cannot keep from picking fights when we gather for our Mother's last hours.
I grieve that I alone sit with Mother seven hours in ER.
I grieve that as I try to quickly pack a few things to stay with Mother in a hospital 100 miles away, my husband clearly does not consider coming with me and is doing everything he can to slow me up.
I grieve as I stop at Mother's nursing home to pick up a few things for her.
I grieve as I drive through the rainy darkness to reach the hospital to help with Mother's admission.
I grieve that the calls from the nursing home and hospital are all going to my SIL when I am the one that has to respond.
I grieve that I have not eaten since early morning and I will have to wait until Mother is settled for the night.
I grieve that the time in the ER, ambulance ride, and admission to the hospital has brought on an episode of full dementia for Mother.
I grieve that Mother does not know anyone or recognize anything she sees.
I grieve that I am the only "normal" Mother can see or hear.
I am grateful that I brought along the shawl I gave her that she loves and the blanket she made for herself from her Mother's old bath robes.
I grieve that I am so tired and I still have to check into my hotel and unpack the car before I can rest.
I grieve that it is after midnight before I get something to eat and am finally in my room.
I grieve that I need to be at the hospital by 6 am to catch the doctor making rounds.
I grieve that I cannot sleep and my mind is whirling with information and todo lists.
I grieve that I finally fall asleep and do not wake until 9 am.
I grieve that I have missed the doctor and dread the walk across the street and up the hill to the hospital.
I grieve that I am so frail that I cannot walk to the hospital without stopping to rest against a light pole.
I grieve that the Covid-19 virus has caused the hospital to heighten security and it slows me getting to my Mother's room.
I grieve that I cannot walk the length of the hospital (a block long) without stopping to rest.
I grieve at the extremity of Mother's vital signs and her reaction to the hospitalization.
I grieve at how exhausting it is to keep Mother calm and encourage her to rest.
I grieve that I have to leave Mother alone in her dementia while I go to my room to rest.
I am angry and grieve that my siblings have no time and see no need to stay with Mother so I can get some rest.
I am resigned and grieve that I have to get my wheelchair out of the car and get rides to and from the hospital because I am too weak.
I grieve that on the third day I have to give the instruction to follow Mother's wishes and treat with no invasive measures and for comfort only.
I grieve that I have to call in the family because Mother is not expected to live through the day.
I am angry and grieve that siblings who have no time for Mother are now crawling out of the woodwork for public notice now that Mother is close to death.
I am grateful when siblings and their children start to arrive.
I grieve when I hear the last sibling tribe come down the hall and enter visibly and audibly sobbing.
I am angry and grieve that this family's first words to Mother are "Goodbye."
I don't want to leave Mother's side, but everyone deserves their turn, so I go to the family waiting room.
Soon everyone is in the waiting room arguing about the funeral arrangements and no one is with Mother.
I grieve the callous behavior of my siblings and their families.
I don't want to, but since there are 11 other people there, I go to my room to get some rest. Exhaustion is my first name now.
I am confused when I find out later that almost as soon as I left a cardiac doctor came in to declare that Mother would recover and we did not need to be there.
I grieve that as soon as Mother's recovery was declared all but one of the siblings and their families peeled off and left.
I am again angry and grieve that again no one thought to call me.
I was sad and could not leave Mother that night. She did not look better to me, but her vital signs and monitors showed stability. Mother would not sleep with me in the room so I spent most of the night on my feet pacing and checking.
I was anxious that Mother's rally was short term and could not relax. Mother's physical signs and her color improved over the next few days. She worked with Speech, OT and PT; showing small improvement each day. She began drinking and eating. That day I was cautiously grateful that Mother might go home the next day.
The next day I was disheartened when I walked into her room and saw that the IV was connected again.
I grieve the combative nature of Sundowner's that Mother endured every day she was in the hospital.
I grieve that Mother was discharged without my knowledge.
I grieve that moment when I stood in the doorway of Mother's empty and cleaned room and didn't know what had happened and if she had died, where was her body?
I grieve that again I was right there doing the daily work and someone else was called and again did not inform me.
I am angry and grieve that some of Mother's things were still in my car and my things had been sent home with her.
With anxiety I stopped at the nursing home to switch our things and see how Mother was doing.
The doors were locked. Covid-19 precautions put the nursing home in complete lockdown.
I was devastated that I could not hold Mother in my arms, see how she was and let her know I was there.
I was grateful when the nurse finally agreed to take Mother's things and see if she could find my things in Mother's room.
I was even more grateful when the nurse agreed to wheel Mother to the door so we could see each other and I could scream at her through the closed and locked doors. She looked really good. She was pink, sitting straight, alert, still chewing a mouthful of food and responsive when the nurse repeated what I was saying.
I am still sad and grieving, even though the crisis is over.
I feel empty and lost.
Hurt upon hurt and I am not well.
I am surviving.
And the tears, well the tears come whenever they want.