It turns out Mom and I are both full of surprises in the last few weeks of her life. She is oddly peaceful, openly grateful, even wryly humorous at times. It seems she's finding something soothing and comforting about being cared for like a baby, and about having me be the one doing it. I never thought it would come to this, for many reasons. My mother has been hoarding that stash of pills for so long against the day when she would be incompetent, incontinent, unable to take care of herself or maintain her basic independence or dignity. I fully expected she would ask about those pills, implore me to bring them and help her take them when it got to this. But no, not at all. Last night I offered her a sleeping pill when she was waking every hour with thirst and pain, and she agreed to take one. One. Didn't even think about the full bottle in my hand. For my part, I never imagined I'd be changing her diapers, getting up over and over all night to tend to her many issues, feeding her with a spoon or straw as she lays there in bed. I always said if it came to this, she'd have to go to a nursing home. But no. I want her here when I can watch over her, make sure she's comfortable, offer little touches like a back rub or a swipe of Chapstick, try to tempt her with ice cream, jello, soup, pudding, fruit. I told her last night: "This is what I moved to Florida for, all those years ago. This time when we can be this close and really love each other." After all the conflict and resentment and the butting of heads, it all comes down to that. Who would have thunk?