Monday, March 8, 2010

Goodbye, Mother Millie

This is a hard one to write but I feel I have to.  It's sad and depressing and it was a major event in our lives.  We just have to live through it as best we can and then continue on looking for the good, being positive, and knowing that you have to accept the sad with the joyful. 

My Bob's mother, my mother-in-law, Millie, passed away last Tuesday evening in Cincinnati.  It was 12 days before her 79th birthday.  She had a longer than expected bout with pancreatic cancer.  She was diagnosed last March and already at a stage 4.  At that time they gave her 3 months without chemo and radiation and 8 months if she decided to go that route, which she did.  She did so well and looked so good even up to the 10 month point that I think we all thought she might just beat all odds and go on as if this was just a bad dream and never really happened.  Then at Christmas we went to Cincinnati to visit and she was looking thin and weak.  We knew then that the dream was turning into a nightmare.  Bob decided that he wanted to make a trip to see his mother once a month to spend as much time with her as he could.  So in January we made another trip to visit and we actually thought she was doing pretty well.  She was still thin, but wanted to go grocery shopping, so we did.  Then she wanted to stop by the Eagles Club to sign the book for the weekly lottery, so we did.  Then she wanted to go out to dinner, so we did.  She had as much energy as me if not more.  In looking back, I think she was just excited that we were there and happened to be having a good day.  We promised her we would be back around her birthday, March 14, and we talked with Bob's five sisters and one brother about possibly having a party for her around that time.
Then we started hearing from the sisters around the end of February that we should maybe move the birthday visit up a little as she was getting tired and weak.  We set this past weekend aside for our Cincinnati visit.  We stayed in daily contact with a couple of the sisters and knew that things were going downhill.  Bob talked with his mother daily and could tell a difference in her voice and comprehension.  He would tell her we were coming down on March 5th to try to boost her up a little.  It wasn't working.  Wednesay a week ago we got a call from Debbie, Bob's oldest sister, that she had taken Millie into the hospital because she was filling back up with fluids and thought they would drain the fluid, as they had done once before, and send her back home.  That's not what happened.  They told her there was no use in draining the fluid again as it would cause more pain now and she would fill up again even faster and they admitted her into the Hospice unit. 
Bob and I started making arrangements to leave for Cincinnati.  We both talked to Millie on the phone and she sounded OK.  Bob had to re-arrange his appointments for the following week and I started packing, asked my parents to keep Ellie Mae (my black poodle) and we would take Fergie (my apricot poodle) with us, and talked with my DIL to postpone our grandson's birthday dinner that we were going to have here last weekend.  We left for Cincinnati on Friday not sure of how long we would be gone or what to expect when we got there.  We drove 6-1/2 hours (it should have taken 7 hours) and went directly to the hospital. 
We were not prepared for what we saw.  The difference and drastic decline in Millie in one month was big.  She was extremely thin, lost all her hair, and was obviously in a lot of pain.  I know it took Bob by surprise and I just started to cry. 
Without going into a lot of very sad and painful details, she got continuosly worse every day.  She talked a little bit when we first arrived on Friday, and by Sunday she couldn't talk at all.  The diloted (pain medicine) was steadily increased until it was changed to a morphine drip by Tuesday morning.  Bob stayed by her side from about 6:30 in the mornings until late in the evenings, taking small breaks to eat or go back to his sister Debbie's house close by for a nap.  That Tuesday he had just left her side at 5:00 pm to come back to the house to get something to eat and just as he was leaving to go back up to the hospital at 6:25, his brother called to say she had passed away.  With seven children, there was always at least a son, daughter, daughter in law, son in law, boyfriend of a daughter, granddaughter or grandson by her side.  Millie had eight children but Bob's brother's twin passed away 10 years ago today.  Needless to say, that is also weighing heavy on the familie's minds right now.  Millie also had four brothers and sisters that visited in and out and she had a boyfriend of 38 years, ever since she and Bob's dad divorced.  Larry spent the night with her each night she was in hospice, except for the night he showed up drunk and Bob's sister, Brenda, took him home with her.  Larry is one year older than Bob.
You're probably starting to get the whole background picture now.  There was total chaos and uphevel going on behind the scenes for this whole week.  This is too much to go into right now.  These stories could take at least one other post.
Bob and Debbie made all the funeral arrangements the following morning and they did a beautiful job.  The funeral was Friday from 11:00 to 3:30 and everything went well and it was a well attended (family alone was a large crowd) funeral. 
We headed home directly from the cemetary.  Bob's job was done and done well.  He was there for his mother and it was comforting to stay with Debbie and her husband.  The behind the scenes turmoil was just too much to take.  We couldn't wait to get back home and try to calm back down into our comparatively good life. 
We now smile when we think of good times with Millie, the vacations that we took her on with us, and how she made us laugh.  We are trying to get the images of the last 5 days of her life out of our mind.  We don't want to remember her that way.  We are so glad she is no longer in pain and in a much better place.

13 comments:

Rae said...

I am sorry to hear of your loss. The important part is that you were there for her and you had the opportunity to say goodbye. Death and traumatic events are so stressful that chaos results in large families and disputes result. I saw it often when I worked at the hospital. Most of the time things have a way of resolving. It just takes a little time and distance from the sadness. I hope things work out for all of you.

Theresa said...

Oh my dear Nina! I am so sorry about Mother Millie:( I know how much you both loved her and always will. It is always hard to let them go but Oh how it warms my heart to hear about the last visit you had with her when she was doing so good. Those are the memories to keep! God has a plan and he must have needed another angel. We went thru similar with my Dad. He was good and then went downhill quickly, ended up in hospice. He was doing so good there that they were gonna kick him out and he passed away that next Sunday. He also had the Morphine drip and I can relate to how those last moments felt. My friend, you and Bob will be in my prayers daily. I pray that the behind the scenes problems will smooth out. Here comes a big 'ole hug from me!

T @ Poppy Place said...

Very sorry to hear of your loss. It is always a very challenging time with so many individuals experiencing emotions that I know it can be overwhelming. I know it sounds redundant but time truly does heal and speaking from experience I am truly thankful it does. Take care, it was brave of you to share and I think it will help many :) T.

Annette said...

Again, Nina, I'm so sorry. I've been praying for Bob, you and Bob's family. I will continue to do so and hope the chaos and emotions subside and all is right with the family. God bless you all!

Marla at Always Nesting said...

Oh, honey, I'm so sorry for you and your husband. Losing your Mother Millie is so hard, I know, and I hope you can find peace in the days ahead. Hugs, Marla

Cottage Rose said...

I am so very sorry for your loss,, to watch a loved one in such pain like that is hard to bare sometimes,, My thoughts and Prayers are with you all, I Pray the hurt eases a little bit... Take care, and God Bless;


Big Hugs;
Alaura

Barb said...

Hi Nina,

My MIL passed away on Feb. 15th. I am so sorry for your loss. It will will take time but joy will come in the morning. God bless each of you. You are all in my prayers.

Hugs,
Barb

DJan said...

It's always so hard to lose a dear family member. It must have taken quite a few tears to write this, but it was well worth it, and hopefully some day you will only remember the good times. Blessings and hugs, as I think of you and send you my prayers.

Lily Robinson said...

Again, I am so sorry for your loss and for her suffering. I am so grateful that God gave her those extra months. If we all could only have that time to say what needs said...

I pray that you are comforted by knowing that she is in place with only joy.

BeautifulDees said...

Oh I am truly sorry for your loss, I hope you can find some comfort in this sad time of your lives.
Love,Debbie

Housewife Savant said...

Thank you for sharing this story with us.
It's good that you have happy memories, and soon you'll be able to laugh at all the crazy.

BeautifulDees said...

So sorry for your lose and hurt. I hope thing's will get better for you. I miss seeing your beautiful post's, so return as soon as you heal. God Bless You.
Love,Debbie

charmine. said...

This is so very sad,but at least you all were there beside her till the end and got a chance to bid her farewell.This has to be the saddest post you put out..... but I'm glad Millie was able to enjoy the day with you both shopping and having dinner,remember the good times.

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