As many of you know, my 86-year old mom has advanced dementia and lives in a nursing home. Her condition has steadily worsened over the past few years, and the news these days is not good.
My mother stopped eating a couple weeks ago. She has now stopped drinking water or any other liquids. She is refusing her meds as well. The doctor tells us that not eating and drinking is a sign of late stages dementia. He said the brain essentially “forgets” to tell the stomach it’s hungry or thirsty.
The doctor says it’s only a matter of time for Mom at this point, probably not more than a month. We are looking into hospice treatment for her, so that her pain will be as minimal as possible.
Almost 20 years ago, my mother signed a living will giving specific instructions on how she wanted to be treated (or not treated) in just this type of situation. I witnessed that document and remember thinking that I hoped we would never have to face anything listed on that piece of paper.
Today, I am so grateful to my mother for having the foresight and love for her family to set out exactly what she wanted and did not want, in terms of life-saving measures. Now, we don’t have to guess what her wishes are – her true wishes, made with clear-headed thinking and clarity, almost 20 years ago. It makes the decisions we have to make – as hard as they are - much easier.
It’s been a hard time for me, and I know it’s going to get harder before it gets any easier. I would appreciate your prayers for my mom and my family as we walk through this hard place. And, if I’m out of commission and out of touch for awhile, I hope you’ll understand.