When I saw mom today she was sitting in the lunch room with her stripped multi-colored terry cloth bib on, waiting for her lunch. I was amazed at how remarkably great she looked. I went at a perfect time to help mom eat. As soon as she saw me today she smiled, “Julienne, are you going to eat with me.”
“Yes, I will sit and help you eat if you need any help mom.”
“I have a taste for a hamburger.”
“Is that what you chose for lunch today?”
“No . . . fish. I want McDonalds.”
“Would you like me to go to McDonalds and buy you a cheeseburger?”
“Yes . . . hurry.” Since mom never has a taste for anything I was happy to honor her request.
I spoke to her aide, Laurie*, to let her know that mom would not be eating their food. As always she is so willing to please their residents. I assured her that I would be back as quickly as possible so mom could eat while everyone else was eating.
Fifteen minutes later I returned, mom anxiously said, “What happened . . . you were gone forever! I don’t even feel . . . like eating now.”
I find with mom that I should not disagree with her because she truly only sees her point of view when she is feeling this way. I could tell mom was having a tough morning. Her mental state was definitely imbalanced.
So I wheeled mom into the small lunch room where they prefer you eat when you bring outside food in. I unwrapped her food and set everything in front of her as if she had never told me she did not want to eat now.
Mom commented, “I wanted . . . cheeseburger . . . for my last meal”
“Is this your last supper?”
“This probably . . . last time we eat together.”
“Really, then I am glad I went and bought you a double cheeseburger and fries, too,” trying to add some light to a very tiring subject with mom.
“I think . . . Sunday.”
Mom’s comments sometimes leave me speechless as I have heard this so many times before.
Although mom’s hand shook very much, she needed no help today eating. She enjoyed her cheeseburger, fries and a root beer. She ate every last bite. When I could see she had only one bite left I asked her how her cheeseburger tasted.
She commented, “So anxious . . . I could throw up.”
There were four other people in this lunch room who were regulars. A husband feeding his wife and another daughter feeding her mother; neither the wife nor the mother could speak or had any physical movement. They had to be spoon fed by their respective family. I have seen both the husband and the daughter feeding their relative on a regular basis.
The room had soft music on in the background. Mom’s voice seemed unusually loud in her anxious state. She was complaining about everyone at The Community* calling them liars and saying they are trying to hide things from her. I actually think most of the staff is tired of hearing mom talk about dying and why God has not taken her yet. I know that mom has a tendency to become paranoid; she believes people are talking about her. Sticking up for the people or trying to convince her that she is mistaken never works so I tried to be understanding, listen to her frustration while trying to calm her down. Mom became angry talking about them and at one point even swore.
“Mom, God becomes so disappointed in us when we swear.”
Mom became quiet.
I wheeled mom out away from people as soon as she finished feeling embarrassed and bad for the other people in the room who obviously heard some of our conversation if not all. Before leaving this lunch room, I apologized to the woman who was feeding her mother at our table who told me no apology was needed.
“Julienne, no one . . . heard me swear.”
“Mom, you could have heard a pin drop in that room. You and I were the only ones talking. No one wants to hear you swear.”
Mom lowered her head commenting, “God . . . forgive me.”
Up to this point, I was screaming and shouting inside feeling like her being chemically imbalanced today was making me anxious.
Mom said, “Let’s pray.”
“Good idea, we both could use some spiritual help here.”
Just then one of mom’s favorite people popped up, Rosalie*, the hospice chaplain. Mom made a 180 degree turnaround. The joy in mom’s eyes was incredible; I had to experience the transformation to believe it. I told her that mom had wanted to pray. Rosalie* said, “God answered your prayer, Miss Gilda. I am here to pray with you and your daughter.” She began to pray a special prayer designed for mom and all of mom’s children.
When Rosalie* finished mom said, “You bring . . . me joy.”
Rosalie* asked mom what she ate for lunch.
“I had . . . double cheeseburger . . . delicious.”
“How did you get the McDonalds cheeseburger?”
Mom said proudly, “My daughter . . . she went out.”
Rosalie spent quite awhile with us the entire time holding on to mom’s hands. Mom mentioned to Rosalie* about wanting to go to God. Rosalie* commented, “Miss Gilda, you know when God’s ready for you He’ll come.” The whole while she was there mom could not have been happier. She was able to make mom laugh out loud many times.
At one point I asked mom if she would like a photo with Rosalie*. Mom said, “Yes, definitely.”
I took a photo of them; they both loved their photo.
“My daughter . . . takes a lot of photos. You should see.”
Then mom asked me if someone could take a photo of all three of us. So I was able to make that happen too. Laurie* was only too happy to assist.
Mom hugged Rosalie* several times before letting her leave. Rosalie* promised to visit her again next week.
Ready to leave, I wheeled mom to around the nurses’ station and asked her who she would like to be next to today. Mom pointed and said, “My girlfriends”. She proceeded to introduce me to three ladies who I have known for several months. I smiled and greeted them. Then mom said, “Tell them . . . nice to meet you.” So I did.
Before I left she saw Laurie* again and said, “I want picture . . . Laurie*.” So Laurie* came over and I took their photo. I showed them both the photos and they loved them, too.
Laurie* stayed talking to us both. I pulled out a blue raspberry sucker out of my purse. “Mom, the last time I was here you asked me to bring you a sucker. Would you like me to open it for you?”
“Yes,” mom popped her sucker in her mouth as quick as I removed the wrapper. “Do I look silly with this in my mouth?”
Laurie* said, “No, but everyone will be jealous.”
“Julienne, do you have more?”
“Not with me, but I can bring you more.” Mom shook her head no.
Mom looked at me, and said, “Julienne . . . I had . . . perfect day.”
“Me, too, mom.”
Who would have guessed this day would turn out to be a nice one?