Saturday, May 19, 2012

Lingering Remembrances of Loss

Two years ago today, I posted two separate messages on my mother’s CaringBridge site.

In the morning on May 19, 2010, I had this to say: 
As many of you already know, the last few weeks have been difficult for my mother.  During this last week in particular, her condition has deteriorated significantly and she has, despite medication, been in considerable pain. Yesterday, acting upon recommendations from both her oncologist and her long-time internist, my father, my sister and I agreed that it is now time to follow her wishes and make arrangements for her to enter a hospice facility.  Accordingly, we met at length with a hospice nurse, and within the next few days, we expect that my mom will be moved to Haven Hospice at JFK Hospital in Edison (right across the street from her beloved Temple Emanu-El).  In the meantime, she is resting comfortably in the hospital, and we, too, are comfortable knowing that we are abiding by my mother’s wishes.  

Many of you know, too, that the Festival of Shavuot, which began last night, is my mom’s favorite Jewish holiday.  As Rabbi Bravo wrote to a few of her own colleagues yesterday, “Diana would have wanted us to celebrate this holiday, just as she loved Torah and let it be her guide through life.  Ironically, she went into the hospital on Pesach, and here we are on Shavuot.  Her family and I decided that just as she lived her life by the Jewish calendar, so is she planning her end of days in a similar way.”
By evening, our 11 days of family time in hospice had begun:
This afternoon my mother was transferred from Robert Wood Johnson to the hospice facility at JFK Hospital in Edison.  When we left her, she was (as she has been for the last few days) unresponsive, but resting comfortably and in no pain.  The speed of her deterioration on all fronts during the last several days has been notable and somewhat startling, even to a longtime family friend who has been together with us frequently during the last seven weeks.  Having said that, we have reassessed our earlier thoughts regarding visitors, and would prefer that only family, clergy and close friends visit.  We want your memories of my mother to be filled with laughter, happy times and much goodness.  We are, of course, grateful for your outpouring of care and love on this site and invite you to continue to share your thoughts with us.
Of course there are sweet and happy remembrances, but today, it is May 19, 2010—a surreal and difficult day—that was at the forefront of my thoughts and memory.