But just over the past two months, she has taken a severe downhill spiraling turn in her health and is now considered bedridden and completely dependent on someone to help her with all things - even going to the bathroom. She is incoherent many times in her conversations and has to give much thought and consideration in her communications with us, mostly being able to use single words at a time to get her thoughts across The pain is continual for her, but not debilitating...and she still maintains a pretty good sense of humor at times. In talking with her about current events and daily comings and goings, she cannot carry on a normal conversation: it is very limited as to what she can remember and what she can say. But if you are to discuss genealogy or her childhood or even up to 3-4 years ago, her conversation can flow very freely and semi easily, with only an occasional need to focus harder.
There have been MULTIPLE times where Del has been sure that her leaving this world would be within days, maybe even hours. I have felt the same. There has been much conversation between Del and his brothers about the future plans of her funeral and the things that will be needed at that time. And Del's youngest brother, Brian, even came for a 24 hour visit last week, knowing it will be his last time he sees her in this life.
Last week, Del installed a door bell ringer in her room to be able to push and call for us when she needs us. Last night, she rang the bell 7 times, and only twice was to use the bathroom. The other times were for emotional and or discomfort needs. Del attended to her every need with patience and much love. I was amazed with his calm and resolve to make sure all her needs were met. I woke up this morning exhausted and with a headache. Del woke up without a single complaint.
Now, all meals are brought to her. All visits to the bathroom are with her clinging to either Del, me or even Lexi. We have all stepped up as care givers, knowing her time with us is short. She no longer goes out of the home and is even bedridden except for the maybe once a week walk around the living room Del will make her take for exercise.
Del's release as Bishop has been timely, as now, he is with her most hours of the day. I have been called to serve in the nursery with him, and will have to cover for him on most Sunday's as she needs him more and more.
Shirley's presence in our home has brought a variety of mixed emotions and experiences. I cannot say that all have been noteworthy or pleasant. Being a care taker is difficult and can try the patience of even the best of us. Shirley is a story teller and a rambler. That is hard for Del, where as I LOVE to listen to her stories and have literally sat there for hours. But in the early hours of the morning, or the middle of the night, when all she wants is comfort, I tend to become weary and Del's compassion and love shines bright and consistent. We both know that Shirley is with us to live out her last days. The benefit of having her here is in the sharing of some very spiritual experiences she and Del have been able to share during some of her most difficult moments. Del will tell me of angels attending his mother and of her seeing specific spirits surrounding her. I'm thrilled for these moments Del is sharing with her and that he will have to remember long after she is gone.
It won't be much longer. How long? We do not know. But it will be soon.
Patience, much love and tenderness will be our guarantee of no regrets.
And I want no regrets.