Thursday, April 03, 2008

Dying Clears the Mind

Dying clears the mind.

In the last four years of Lewy Body Dementia, Mom has often been confused, irritable, forgetful, even hallucinatory.

But today when Jim told Mom he was leaving, her mind was clear.

"Thank you for coming," she said.

There were four of us bustling around the small room: the hospice nurse, the private caregiver, Jim, and me. It was not easy for him to have a private moment with her.

I wasn't sure she understood that this was his final goodby.

"Jim's going to fly back to Denver," I said loudly. "He came here to visit you for three days."

"I know," she said.

"Goodbye, Mom," Jim said, hugging her as well as you can hug someone stretched out in a recliner.

Jim and I walked outside the room and left the hospice nurse and caregiver to continue their work with her. We were talking two minutes later when they called Jim back in.

"She wants to see Jim again," they said. He went back in, and the three of us retreated to give them another few moments together.

"I love you," she said clearly.

"I love you too, Mom," he said.

After a few more words, he left again.

Tremendous presence of mind for someone dying with Lewy Body Dementia--it moved us all to tears.

Jim, her third child--neither oldest nor youngest nor nearest during her last few years--needed to hear this, and she needed to tell him.

Her clarity took our breath away.

No comments: