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As Life Ends

Updated on September 20, 2012
years with mom
years with mom | Source

Hummm... so many thoughts run through this mind of mine since my Mother died.

The phone call I made as I a woke, was answered with "she is resting well" from the nurse on the morning I decided to go ahead and shower and then go to her. Before I could get in the shower to cleanse myself the phone rang again. The same nurse said " I am sorry, your mom has died, I guess when I was in there she was gone." The caregiver found her and reported it to this same Nurse. So as I see it, the nurse (bless nurses though) went in, gave her the morphine they were administering every hour for pain. Without checking her blood pressure or pulse.

At first after she died I was nervous, then excited to get to her and dress her in a manner I knew she would like to be dressed...sounds strange I know but she did not look like the woman we, as her family knew for most of her life. I had previously picked out clothes, a wig and jewelry to bury her in.

I realize the morning shift can be hectic , but come on she was dying and everyone knew it. The late night shift was wonderful, as me, my daughter and niece spent hours there and saw how they were with mom. Maybe because we were there, she was better, I have no idea for sure.

They all made us feel special, feeding us and even made sure we could spend the nights, providing a bed, blankets and support.

So as I entered the office to this Alzheimer's Home with her clothes, the office staff met me with sad faces and hugs asking how I was ? My answer was "I am Numb" I said "Thank You" and rushed with the outfit to dress Mom. The sweet caregivers were instantly at my side.

It was very a very strange moment for me. Mom looked almost like she had for years, but very calm. Her mouth was open, though one of the caregivers tried to close it , but it was stuck.

As she and I went into the closet mom had to get a sweater to also put on her, the caregiver's hands were shaking, and she was very emotional. She and mom had made a personal attachment and this was as hard for her as it was for me.

There were two caregivers there to help me dress this limp, nonresponsive, dead body, and we had a hard time getting her fancy clothes on. It was the strangest feeling I have ever encountered to this point in my life. As we dressed her though I knew she was happy, and she wanted to once again look dressed up. When we were done, I asked "can we put lipstick on? What can we put in her hands?" The caregiver picked up a cross that was always at mom's bedside and so gently placed it in her hands, I began to cry,silently.

At this point, mom looked beautiful, the way she always appeared in my eyes, I took a photo of her with the caregiver, who had gently taken care of her for so long.

The look of pain, sorrow, discomfort, the lack of ability to be able to communicate…was all gone. Mom looked so content and at Peace, I just felt happy for her.

This is hard to write for me right now, but it seems to be necessary, grieving takes on many forms, and I just feel each one needs to go with whatever flow Death takes you on. Don't ignore it, don't forget it and don't let it ruin your life. It is the "Circle of Life", and each of us will complete this "Circle" eventually. I have to say though that being prepared, understanding how the body shuts down and talking about death is a must.

Hospice was one of the greatest experiences both mom and I had during her leaving us. A harpist was available through this wonderful organization and I used the availability of it for as long as was possible. In the beginning when Mom was first put on Hospice. I was told that they could come massage her once a week. I was delighted to hear this because mom loved her massages. Gentle soft caressing massages were administered for around 5 months. Also a Harpist came once a week and played for Mom, an hour long session, which mom totally was relaxed as well as me. Many residents were also around to enjoy this soothing music, which I was so happy to share. So many elderly suffer alone and it was enlightening to see them gather at Mom’s door to listen for “The Moments” that they would stay. We love in the Moment, we live in the moment and we die in the moment.

As death, (the body shutting down), progressed, another Harpist was present. This wonderful, soft spoken, in tune with life and death soul came to play for Mom as she was preparing to go Home. This woman was incredible, played like an angel, sang like an angel and was able to tune out any sounds that might not fit into the moments we were experiencing. She relaxed me, my niece, as well as my daughter. I know from my heart and soul Mom was happy.

In the final moments before Mom took her final breath, the Harpist was there, as she strung an angelical chord on the harp. I am sure Mom’s soul left her body. It was a moment that is so difficult to explain, but I felt her leaving and ran to the nurse yelling…..

“ Come, come something isn’t right” The Nurse came running with me and then she told me this gurgle sound is normal and may get worse, which can be frightening when you first hear it. Well Mom gurgled one more time and the Harpist asked if I wanted to sing a Prayer for Mom…my answer was “I am afraid my singing would scare the Angels away, but please you sing”. Her voice was like an Angel’s and I sat there weeping, saying goodbye to my Mother.

Now I am aware that the body takes time to die, but at this moment I do believe Mom’s soul left and she was walking towards those pearly gates, and how happy I was for her. She would finally be with her Mother, that she missed her whole life because she died when Mom was only six years old.

Moms next to the youngest daughter, dying from breast cancer at a very young age, leaving four young children without their mom, and her beloved husband of over 50+ years…and I am sure they were all waiting for her. I know she is where she most wanted to be, with “Our Lord, and God”.

So after six years of caring for Mom, learning the whole time; I was Happy for her. I still am, though I have my sad days, my crying days, my angry days, my feeling sorry for ME days, and my Dreams.

Memories that no one can ever erase or take away from my mind, I am at Peace with her passing. My only regret is I wish I was as strong and pure as she was, something I would hope to pass on to my children, but can I be sure I did???


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    • G-Ma Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      5 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      shiningirisheyes ...Thank you, but I really can't take all the credit here, My Angels and My God were with me every moment of every day and gave me so much strength. However I have come to see this more and more since she went HOME.

      Life does afford us many luxury's, lessons, love and I see you we have both experienced some of the same. I so admire you , your openess , understanding and kindness. Please know you are in my Prayers

      :O) Hugs G-Ma

    • G-Ma Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      5 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      Feline Prophet ...Thank you sweet lady.With friends like we find here it is somehow easier to express one's self ...God Bless you and do take care...:O) Hugs G-Ma

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      My dear friend,

      I have been away for hub pages for a brief time and came back to read this again as it had a profound effect on me. This had to be a difficult hub to write although I'm glad you did. I can not tell you how moved I am after reading this awesome, heartbreaking and stirring hub. I feel your pain my friend but I also know you took some amazing moments from this lifechanging experience.

      I found writing about it helped and it also gave me a chance to make my loved ones immortal.

      Having written this masterpiece not only helped by getting your feelings out, you have given your dear Mom and sister an honor that will be around until the end of time.

      I'm so proud of you and so sorry as well.

      The warmest of hugs to you my friend.

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 

      5 years ago

      G-Ma, this is as beautiful as it must have been cathartic for you to is difficult to cope with the passing of a loved one but things will definitely get better. Hugs!

    • G-Ma Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      6 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      TOF...Peter...thank you and your compassion is felt...May God Bless and may you have Peace...:O) Hugs G-Ma

    • G-Ma Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      6 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      ...Gerg...Thank you ever so much for your kind and loving comment. And yes "Hospice" was one experience I pray more people have the opportunity to experience. Even the Home mom was in didn't know about the massages and harpist, it was an optional service which I jumped on when I was told.

      End of Life can be so painful, and every bit of relaxation one can be enhanced with helps, in my mind. For her and for me...

      God Bless and Peace to you also...:O) Hugs G-Ma

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      G-Ma, I am without words to express my compassion for you in this great loss. I think that Gerg says my feeling so much better than I could.

      I too wish you peace.


    • Gerg profile image


      6 years ago from California

      G-Ma Johnson - I am so very saddened by your loss. You express your thoughts and feelings with such vividness and beauty, it is inspiring. I can only imagine what a wonderful daughter you have been to her, what a wonderful mother she must have been to you. It feels comforting to hear how well good hospice care can work - love the image of the harpist. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us - I wish you peace.


    • G-Ma Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      6 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      teaches12345 ...Thank you for your support, and grieving is very strange, we all do it in a different way. Yes I have many, many wonderful memories to keep me going for some time and the lessons I learned during these 6 years are just priceless, and I needed each lesson.

      I am glad God was always here pulling me through the tough times as well as the good times. Honestly I felt His presence, as well as my Angels. God Bless you and am sorry about your mom, I know it hurts for a very long time. :O) Hugs G-Ma

    • G-Ma Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      6 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      shiningirisheyes... well it was difficult, but the 2 glasses of wine helped...:O)

      I AGREE with everything you said and I was actually Happy for her. I had watched her slowly dying everyday for 6 years, which was really the hardest part, knowing and watching it come, yet never knowing for sure when or how. I never left this area for more then one day in that time. I jumped everytime the phone rang, and always always had my cell phone, if I forgot it I went back to retrive it.

      I am not complaining and I am very proud to have been the chosen one for this part of her Life's adventure, on her way HOME. a final resting place.

      Thank you so much for your comment and Blessings...:O) Hugs G-Ma

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      G-Ma, I am sorry for your loss of such a wonderful mother. Your memories of her will certainly help you through the next years. I love the harpist touch, how sweet to be carried from this life to the next with such heavenly music. My mother passed away over twenty years ago and I still miss her today. It is hard to endure the loss, grieve because it is needed. I am sure she knew how much you how strong and pure you are. Prayers, hugs and thoughts sent your way.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      6 years ago from Upstate, New York

      I commend you for what had to be an extremely difficult write. I relate 100% percent as I was my dear Dads caregiver. Not many realize what it takes to bathe and dress a loved one after they have passed. My father never wanted strangers to do this and I consider it a blessing that I was able to provide this for him.

      I have often said "It was the worst moment of my life and it was the most beautiful moment of my life."

      Thank you for putting into words what so many in my life just could not relate to. Unless you have had to go through such a heart wrenching situation such as this, you can never appreciate what a life-altering experience it is.


    • G-Ma Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      6 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      Jackwms ..Yes my dear you have been a joy for me, as many others also have been. At times I don't know what I would have done without the friends I have found here on the Hubs.

      So many have left, and I miss them but some of us will always be included...and I always love your comments and caring way...Thank you once again for commenting,making me feel loved...:O) Hugs G-Ma

    • G-Ma Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      6 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      Jackie Lynnley..yes as our circle of Life meets the opposite end we shall all be togehter...Thank You for commenting...:O) Hugs G-Ma

    • Jackwms profile image


      6 years ago

      G-ma Johnson, I joined hub pages over 3 years ago. During that time, I have followed your hub pages, many of which have dealt with your mother and her declining condition. I understand the hurt and loss that one feels when a family member passes on as I have had the experience several times now. But, to each of us, our time will come. Your love and devotion have been obvious from all of your posts. Your mother is now at peace and not suffering. I suspect she had a good life. I wish you the best at this time.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      6 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I am so glad she passed in her sleep, what a blessing that was. I know that even if you know it was good too that you will really miss her and knowing you could go see her. I don't think it will be too long until we all will meet up in heaven.

      God bless you.


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