The next day my mother awoke with no memory or realization that she had been in a coma the day before. My mother was very religious and my sisters and I had contacted the convent and requested a visit from a Sister we have known for many years. We also had made a doctor’s appointment for that day. One of my sisters was helping my mother dress when Sister William Noreen came to the house. We explained to her about my mother’s illness, the coma the day before, and her desire to not return to the hospital. Sister William Noreen prayed with my mother, gave her communion, and offered her support in upholding whatever my mother’s wishes were. She also told her “It’s Christmas in a couple of days, so put on a smile and be strong for the grandchildren.” After she left, my sisters and I spoke to Mom about the end of her life. It went a little like this:
Mom, we would love it if you could live forever and we don’t know how much time that you have, but we want to do whatever it is that you want. We could get hospice. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have long to live, it just means that you can get their services. If you don’t want to go to the hospital then we won’t take you. Whatever you want…
She then decided to see the doctor. He told her that she probably had a year to live. She left there in great spirits and went to a luncheon with her retired nurse friends. Things seemed better, until Christmas when she went into a coma again!
The following Wednesday, December 27, hospice came to the house to initiate the services for Mom’s end-of-life care. She was so weak she couldn’t sign the papers. I was her Health Care Proxy and had to sign the DNR. It was the hardest thing that I have ever done in my life. I myself have been a nurse for over 30 years but all my knowledge and experience did not ease the pain of signing my mother’s DNR. The only thing that got me through it was knowing that that was what my mother wanted. She wanted to be home and she did not want to extend her life. Friends and relatives were able to visit, to say goodbye and God Bless. She died peacefully with five of her nine children at her bedside in the early morning on January 17.