The Kofford Family relocates to Colorado after 40 years as Californians. In December of 2007, Grandma Lorraine is diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer. Sadly, she passed away on Dec. 26th, 2008 after a year long courageous battle. Follow our journey as we keep Lorraine's memory alive, and as we learn to appreciate that each day we are given, is a gift to be enjoyed!

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
~Maria Robertson

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tuesday update...

It is 3:30 a.m. here and I am having a hard time sleeping tonight. Plans changed yesterday when Sharon, (my mom's night time caregiver) woke me early in the morning with the news that my mom had taken another step closer toward joining my dad. She was having a difficult time breathing, was experiencing pain, and more. Sharon was afraid I would be frightened so she called my mom's best friend Annette to come over and help her change positions, set up the oxygen, etc...She also called Hospice and woke me around 5 a.m. when things were stable. I felt terribly sad seeing my mom this way as just the day prior she was talking about having all that "fun!" We really thought that this last "rally" was going to keep her going for another week or so.

I cancelled my flight and spent the day by her side. She has been unresponsive since last night. Monday was Annette's birthday, and although I was praying for my mom to pass when it was her time, I also didn't want it to happen on Annette's birthday. Sharon, Annette and I sat with her until Gayle and Sande (the other two caregivers who have been like angels to her) arrived. We all took turns holding her hand, told her we loved her, said her favorite prayers, and gave her "permission" to pass when it is time. Many tears were shed, but she seemed relaxed and at peace.

The Hospice nurse came around 10 a.m. and said that she is in the active stages of dying and gave us a pamphlet to read with helpful information. She has a fever, low oxygen, an increased heart rate, etc...The best literature we had though was a symptom time line from www.brainhospice.com which listed specifics to watch for. My mom was calm and resting well, but her breathing continued to be very congested which in Hospice terms is called the "death rattle"; a harmless rattle sound of air over mucous as she is unable to clear her throat, cough, etc...It is disconcerting to those in the room so there are special drops that are given to dry up any fluid so her breathing once again appears less labored. Fortunately she is not bothered by it, but it is quite loud.

My dear friend Kim Ludwig came by to be of support, and brought us all a warm lunch which was so appreciated since we hadn't eaten. She stayed and spoke to my mom which I know was such a comfort as well. Kim is on stand by to take me to the airport and help in anyway. Thank you Kim! My sister in law Cindy drove an hour to just sit with us and "be there." She gave my mom a very special message, and a promise that touched my heart deeply. I will never forget it as long as I live. She walked with me to get some fresh air and we enjoyed walking around the peaceful surroundings of my mom's property. My in laws, Ron and Billie, also came to be of support and later left returning with dinner for us all. These small gestures just mean so much, especially to me at this point in her journey. What meaningful and special gifts were offered: warm meals, time, presence, and love.

The evening ended with Gayle, Sande, and me sitting with my mom telling stories, and reminiscing. We also started counting breaths as they are now coming at longer intervals of 10-30 sec. between inhale and exhale. I called the Hospice nurse to ask a few questions and she told us that although keeping a 'vigil' is important, sometimes your loved one will not pass with everyone in the room. So, we decided to stay up until midnight, so that we would know if she passed on the 22nd or 23rd. We felt relieved when midnight came and went and that Annette could be with her family on her special day. We had a fire burning in the fireplace, and played soft piano music for my mom while we spoke to her. The Hospice nurse said that hearing is the last sense to remain so speaking to your loved one can be of great comfort. Each of us is taking turns sleeping and staying with her, and we have agreed that if she passes in the night, we can all be at peace.

When saying my 'goodbyes' to my mom a few days ago, I told her that she soon would join Jesus, my dad, her parents, her aunts, uncles, etc...A few days ago she said she will go, "...when they come for me." We all asked each other this evening, "When do you think they will come for her?" We cannot answer that question, but we do know it will be in God's perfect timing.

11 comments:

Lorri said...

We are with you. Scott's dad went through a very similar process. We continue to pray.

Love, The Steers

glitzen said...

Denise, everything you mention sounds so very familiar, and I know it will be soon. I am glad you are still there. For me, I wanted to sit and hold my gram's hand for awhile after she passed away. I wanted the feel of her hand in mine. I didn't want to let her go, so everyone had to pry my hand loose finally. I thought that yesterday when she was lucid, ate well, etc that was a sign her time of transition was close. sometimes there is a burst of energy and attentiveness right before time to go.
I was in the room and told my gram that it was a beautiful day to fly away home. right after my words, she did. she seemed to be waiting.
I got up early to check your blog, and now i can sit and cry in private. I feel so shaken by all you are going through, and I know its strange because we have never met, but I feel a kindred spirit in you, and logic just doesn't enter into that connection.
To be absent in the body is to be present in the spirit, and I want you to remember that the moment your mom leaves you, she will be gathered up into the arms of her maker, who loves her intensely. try to picture that reunion. I loved the song "I can only Imagine" and listened to it over and over for a bit of comfort. Also "Praise him in this Storm" by Casting Crowns. The words are so wonderful.
Lifting you up in prayers and long distance hugs, thoughts, and support.

Candace said...

Our prayers are with you, Thank you for letting us in your world. God's grace is abundant

Love, Candace

glitzen said...

Still here....prayers!

glitzen said...

Denise... this reminded me of your mom, in my Sisterchicks devotional book:

"I wanted to live out the rest of my days expressing extravagant love to others. I didn't want to be cautious and live out a string of unfulfilled days, pitifully folded up in myself. I wanted full days and a full life!" from sisterchicks down under (book)

To me this sounds like what your mother has lived. A full life living and loving others extravagantly. She has passed this zest for life and loving onto you. She and her deep and pure love will live on in you, as you show others what she has shown you..the capacity to open your heart ever wider every day, taking in all within your reach with your compassion and wisdom.
(((((((hugs)))))))

Beth said...

Oh Denise. Thank you for sharing your experience as you share these last hours with your mom. I feel honored that we can all know what is happening. I know it is difficult to be away from Tom and the kids right now, yet you are exactly where you should be and this is an incredibly special time as you say goodbye. We love you back here and are sending much love, warmth and caring.

sue bakalar said...

Denise,

Prayers continue to be sent your way. Just feel God there with you and with your mom and know that soon she will be healed and home. I hope this gives you the peace you deserve. God is good, He will never leave your side.

Love and hugs,
Sue

charlene said...

Please know we are here for you! I pray that God will continue to hold you near at this time and give you peace and comfort.

Love,
Charlene

Kim said...

Dear Denise,
I am reading your blog with tears in my eyes. It won't be long until your mom is with Jesus and it will be wonderful for her. So glad to hear of the love and support you are feeling from those in Red Bluff right now. You and your mom are loved by many. I especially felt that the excerpt that glitzen was appropriate. It really sums up your mom's attitude. I love you very much and am only a phone call away.

Yaya said...

(((Hugs)))

Lori said...

I'm praying for your Mom to pass peacefully and for God's grace to hold you up. Thank you for taking the time, precious time, to stop by and thank me. You are very sweet. Your Mom has been so blessed by having you for a daughter.