This one is difficult to write.
We arrived in Ajo on Friday the 18th. Larry and Grace fixed dinner for us that evening. And I left early the next morning to catch a flight to Cincinnati. We left 4 hours before the flight and still managed to get caught up in rush hour traffic, which added another 50 minutes to our drive. Don was more stressed than I was since I figured it was either sit in the truck or sit in the airport. And I still had plenty of time.
I had a direct flight (a long 4 1/2 hours) and arrived in early afternoon. We went directly over to visit Mama. By this time she was virtually non-responsive, although Jeanne swore that she responded to her voice. Her respirations were still quite fast. After a short visit we went home for dinner and on to an evening practice for the the great nieces' dance practice for a competition the next day. Tired as I was, I slept poorly; could not stop thinking about my mom.
I told Jeanne the next morning that I would skip the competition and asked them to drop me off at the nursing home to stay with Mama. During the morning I talked to her and held her hand. Several of the aides came in to check; later in the morning Brian and Carolyn (nephew and his wife) came by. We chatted and each of them spent time with Mama, although there was still little or no response. Soon after they left her respirations slowed considerably. I mentioned this to the hospice nurse who came in for a daily check (no response.) I told him I wanted someone there with her continually as I did not think 5 minutes per day was sufficient. He said he would see.
After the hospice nurse left, I sat back down to hold my mom's hand. I watched as her respirations slowed and finally stopped, and she was gone. As I was alone with her, I just sat there, holding her hand, and crying. After about 15 minutes I thought I should tell someone, so went to the nurse's station only to find that everyone was gone, probably downstairs for the noon meal. So I pulled the call light in her room and sat back down. After another 1/2 hour someone happened by to see how I was doing so I told her that my mom had passed 45 minutes before. She asked why I didn't use the call light, then looked and noticed that I had. THEN I got some assistance. I didn't want to text my sister with this news, so tried to text and then call her husband, who never heard either one. So I texted my sister that our mom was gone and she should come on back. With her help then, we managed to call back the hospice nurse and start getting arrangements in place.
Back home we tried to make phone calls and each of us posted on Facebook, which was actually easier since I was unable to string more than 2 words together that made any sense. The next day we made formal arrangements and began the process of cleaning out her small apartment.
We planned a small, informal service with many pictures to celebrate her life. My nephew Brian spoke, and his father-in-law Denny spoke and offered a prayer. His wife, Carolyn and her mother, Marle played a duet on piano and violin. Jeanne and I were both having trouble keeping it together until Brian's 3-year-old saved the day by standing in front of the piano to dance, then gave a thumbs up and went back to her seat. My mom would have loved that! After the service we had a light lunch, then went back to Jeanne's to relax (except for moving some heavy stuff out of Mama's place) and to have the obligatory family pictures. Michael left the next day and Amber and family left the day after. My flight was scheduled the following Monday.
Jennifer planned to cook dinner for us on Sunday. I had told her girls goodbye the day before since Marley was not going to be there on Sunday. Late that evening I got a text from Jennifer that Marley was sad she would miss me, so we made plans to go to lunch, just the 4 of us, Sunday at noon. Then on to Jennifer's later for an awesome pot of beans.