For some reason I am unable to respond to my original post from 4 years ago so I have to start this new one to thank all of you for your guidance and for simply being there for support. Here is the link to the original post.
I'm writing to thank everyone who helped me to get through our family's long journey. Mom passed away peacefully this February. I was blessed to be the one there alone with her. It was both beautiful and awful at the same time. She is truly happy now.
Since I last wrote, she was admitted into a NH just down the street. Can not believe it was a little over 3 years there. She required NH care after the fractured ankle. Early in her stay she suffered from respiratory arrest and was in intensive care for more than a week. It was so bad that I actually bought her a dress. Our hearts were in our throats as they extubated her. She pulled through without ANY complications. The staff was amazed and teased her about having 8 lives left. This is what went through my head. What would you ask your mom if you had one more chance? I took that opportunity to think of everything I could and brought all of the old picture albums and wrote the stories she remembered on the back of each picture. I took tons of pictures, as I always had, but even more. I took pictures of her in my car, in Target, in her favorite club store and even of her ear that my grandson needed for science class. I am so happy to have them now.
As time went on I decided to show her the dress at a family gathering. Looking nice was always important to her. My daughter said, ewwww, Mom! But Mom looked at it with a big smile and said, "Champagne, it's beautiful!!" "I'm sure your brother would have me in plaid. I'd hate to be in all eternity in an ugly dress." During her next 2 years she had numerous hospital stays, including one for a fractured hip. She continued to be her feisty, and to be truthful, her crabby self. Brother and I heard on a continuing basis how much she hated it there. We visited anyway on almost a daily basis. We talked about how we couldn't tell if Mom was being her usual self or if it was dementia that settled in for the last 8 months or so. She'd say, "You always leave, " when I was heading home and I'd give her a smooch and say, "But I always come back!" What I'm saying to you all is that I couldn't, in my heart, do anything different. If you can let things roll off your back, hold your tongue and enjoy the other parts of your life, you can and will survive.
Read these boards for words of wisdom, know that you can NOT make your parent happy and just go ahead and love them anyway! Knowing I did everything I could for her gave me a great sense of peace. And a champagne gown certainly far out shined plaid! She's now looking her best in all eternity, and I believe happiness was finally bestowed upon her. Thank you all for having been there for me.