Jun 18, 2012 - 1:43 am
A couple years ago, I moved from Los Angeles to Hawaii to be with my dying mother. She was dying of leukemia, although I did not know she was that close to being at the end.
I have 5 sisters, I am the youngest, and the only man in the family.
I chose to come home to be with mom. One sister lives here, the rest live in California (and one an island away). Anyway, when it got real close to the end of her life, I had Hospice of Hawaii help me to manage mom's affairs.
In the last month, she was in a lot of pain, crying at 4:30 p.m. daily, and crying herself to sleep most nights.
I summoned my sisters to spend time with mom, and to see her before her passing. Keeping in mind, I followed the guidelines that Hospice had set up to help mom ease her end days' pain.
As each sister came to visit mom, they all brought their own personal baggage and agendas.
I was accused of not letting mom out of the house (she never wanted to go anywhere, the pain was so great that a simple car ride was unbearable). Anyway, sisters wanted to take her shopping, out for meals, GET HER NAILS DONE, and various other things. One paraded a boat load of friends and acquaintances and even an EX-HUSBAND through.
The one that was most interesting though, is an admitted "evening pot-smoker." This one was particularly difficult for a miryad of reasons, but she would tell me to not cook dinner for mom, because she'll take care of it. Mom was accustomed to eating at 4-5pm. Sister would stroll in at 7 pm and say "I got dinner for all of us, but didn't get one for mom." Another time she promised dinner at woke up at 7 pm. Her daughter flew in from Chicago and brought grandma 4 blouses to wear. She had grandma put on each...the pain for mom was so great, that dressing once was an accomplishment. The same sister would try to keep mom up at nights past 10pm, playing cards, her normal bed time was usually around 8 pm or earlier. Mom did not even have the mental capacity to play cards anymore.
So the story goes, my sister and her daughter (my neice) sat in on a Hospice visit. Hospice recommended against taking mom out to get her nails done, but sister and niece insisted upon it. (You're a guy, you don't understand this, sis said). Hospice finally said, okay, take her, but make an appointment and bring the wheelchair, not the walker). As it turns out, sister did not bother to make an appointment, kept mom out for 4 hours WITHOUT a wheelchair. After mom got in she told me in no uncertain terms, she will never do this again. And she didn't.
Anyway, I got into a heated argument with this sister, which, I directed out of the house, since mom was inside...sister yelled at me, "My mother is not dead yet!" and "You are dead to me, brother, you are dead to me!"
Well, two weeks later, mom died, and the whole nail grooming affair was her last time out, and it was not enjoyable. Two days before she died, myself and my girlfriendI took her out for a wheelchair ride, which she enjoyed tremendously, she smiled and laughed and enjoyed the wheel chair going up and down the street.
In the end, it was just me and my girlfriend caring for mom as she died, carrying her to the bathroom, calling people to come visit, watch and manage her pain.
I am still dead to my sister, and her son, my nephew got married this weekend in Minnesota. I was shut out of that.
In a few weeks, my eldest sister i