Saturday, May 25, 2013

Did The Pain And Suffering Stop

Did The Pain And Suffering Stop
Death brought apprehensive consequences to our family as we watched over our mother for days on end waiting for better results. After doing all we could to keep our mother alive her condition worsened so badly that all the siblings agreed with the doctor's not to let her suffer in pain any longer. In addition, we had to grant our mother's dying wishes. For many years she asked us to never let her suffer in pain if she goes before us. Our mother did not want to be kept alive through medications or any other means like life support.

Sure we asked the doctor's to do what you can to make her better after her leg was broken accidentally which caused other complications to advance and the bounce back wasn't there for her; a seventy-five year old woman. A sudden death is shocking but the waiting of a love one to die grips your soul with an emptiness that is unexplainable. We all knew that the hour had come to let her go but it was harder making that decision than all the days of waiting. Death comes like a thief in the night, you don't know when it's coming but when it appears you know it has been there. It's devastating, overpowering, and uncontrollable at the same time. There's no telling death to come back tomorrow because I'm not ready, today. How can you comfort your family when your heart is being ripped to shreds? How can you tell your family that it's time to let go? How do you make a decision after looking at your family member's faces of grief; hearing the weeping (soft and aloud) because everyone knows in their hearts that the moment has come, and the person's life will be over, and you will never see them again? I remember reading one of Max Lucado books, a best-selling author, writer, and preacher as he wrote, "When words are most empty, tears are most apt." There we were, "CHILDREN", grandchildren, great- grand's, great-great-grand's, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces, and friends all with no words to say; being helpless without control while waiting and waiting and waiting.

After four hours of waiting for all family members to come down, we all gathered in a conference room given to us by the hospital staff. My brother Willie stood at the head of the conference table and I was sitting down at the opposite end and the both of us looked at each other knowing it was time to tell our family that the final hour had come. This kind of responsibility will separate the men from the boys and the women from the girls. First, Willie thanked all family members for coming and began to tell all of what the doctors and specialists had said. After everything was explained, Willie and I had to make the decision as being the eldest of the siblings and grant our mother's wishes. We walked out of the conference room leaving all the family behind. We stood out in the corridor because there was no hospital staff visible for us to talk too. We suddenly looked over in our mother's room and the nurse was not there either. This gave us time to just look at each other with nothing to say verbally, but everything was said through our eyes. We slowly walked into our mother's room and kissed her expressing how much we loved her. After about five minutes, we walked back outside in the corridor and saw the nurse walked out of another patient's room and we waved for her to come toward us. While she was walking, I asked Willie was he ready, he said "yes" and we told the nurse that the family had made the decision to stop the medication (s) that were prolonging our mother's pain and sufferings. We asked her (the nurse) to stop the dripping of all medication (s). The nurse said "sure" and hugged the both of us. At that time, we walked back into the conference room, spoke to the family informing them that the medications (s) had been stopped and it was now up to God.

Our mother passed two hours later and has been dead now for three months. Looking back on that night and the time it took Willie and I to walk out in the corridor, seemed like a lifetime. My heart was racing and I was extremely nervous as Willie and I held hands. I've often wondered is there anyone in the family who really knows how hard that was for my brother and me? Sure we are strong and the oldest of the children, but that did not make the choice any easier for us. We had to tell the hospital staff that it was time to stop the pain and suffering. But my question is: did the pain and suffering stop? Did the pain and suffering stop because one died and others live? Did the pain and suffering stop when the nurse asked Willie and me what funeral home would be picking up your mother while we looked over in her room and she is still breathing? Did the pain and suffering stop when our sister Florence kept asking, "Brenda where are you going" with the purpose of trying to keep me in her sight because she was afraid? Did the pain and suffering stop after waiting another hour or so and hearing our baby sister Valencia crying out, "Lord my mother is gone; she's gone?" Did the pain and suffering stop when my daughter Darlisa was sitting by my mother's bedside to see her take her last breath? Did the pain and suffering stop when the rest of the family collapsed all around you and it took all you had to keep it together for everyone? Did the pain and suffering stop when you hear that same sister (Valencia) cry out, "Brenda, you got to move back home because now we don't have anybody". Did the pain and suffering stop when grown men are crying while holding their wives and children in our time of sorrow? Did the pain and suffering stop when the hospital staff comes into the conference room to give their sympathy; and tell you to stay as long as you like? Did the pain and suffering stop when every phone call was an echo in a hollow place as we repeated over and again to callers, "she is dead"? No! The pain and suffering did not stop and is not over. Remember, Willie and I have to live with the fact that a decision was made yes, by all of us, but it was the both of us that gave the spoken words to the staff.

In her last hours, our mother talked to us all as mothers do when dealing with the personalities of her children. Mother knew in the end of whom she could depend on as she sent for me repeatedly. She knew whom she loved either by showing the tears running down her face after Florence told her a story and sang "her" song to her, on her death bed; the tone of her voice when her children spoke was unique, and yes, the smiles that she expressed when her eyes focused on the ones she so dearly loved. She knew in the end what she had to do to make her transitioning easier, and she did all the things a mother could do. She knew that the Lord heard her every thought, smiles, tears and words.

Again, death comes like a thief in the night, you don't know when it's coming but when it appears you know it has been there. A sudden death is shocking, but the waiting of a loved one to perish, grips your soul with an emptiness that is unexplainable, it's devastating, overpowering, and uncontrollable at the same time.

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