Sunday, November 11, 2018

I had one job

My job on Thursday was to be home for hospice deliveries.

First came her pain-management medication.

Then came her box of hygiene supplies.

Finally the bed and oxygen arrived.

I had to sign for it all and learn how to use it all and the very idea of having to do any of it filled me with trepidation. I've seen hospice equipment before and I know children care for their ailing parents all the time. I just felt woefully unprepared to be caring for an ailing parent.

Karen was just up and talking to me last week, I thought. I should not be preparing her death bed today. 

But life is funny that way.

Reid had asked if I would make up the bed for her, with a mattress pad and some sheets and blankets. They don't have any twin sheets any more. In fact, we have all their old twin sheets. So I said that wouldn't be a problem.

But then I went upstairs to retrieve sheets and realized that all the ones I had on hand were plastered with characters from Blue's Clues or The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The fitted sheets we'd gotten from Reid and Karen had worn out long ago (and now that I was staring into a drawer dancing with cartoon characters I distinctly remembered tossing the plain pink sheets and the flowered sheets because they'd split right down the middle and I all I had left of those sets were the flat sheets). I had some plainer sheets on a couple of the kids' beds, but I'd have to peel them off and wash them in order to have them ready and I just didn't think I could deal with that.

Besides, I didn't think the kids would really want their favourite set of sheets to be the sheets that Grandma died on (this is assuming they had a favourite set of sheets at all, but sometimes they're choosy about which sheets end up on their beds so...that sounds like favoritism to me).

So I texted my friend Kara to ask if she had anything a little more dignified than Blue's Clues sheets on hand. She said that she did and she would bring some over when she dropped off a freezer meal for us later that afternoon. Soon Kara was at my door with a frozen lasagna, frozen rolls, a bag of salad, and some cinnamon rolls. Oh, and a set of sheets.

I thanked her, Tetris-ed her meal into our freezer, and then pulled out the sheets.


Now, to be fair, black sheets are much more dignified than Blue's Clues and if I were preparing my mother-in-law for a night on the town I would have no problem draping her in black. But I was making up her death bed and black seemed a little too...deathly.

I made up the bed anyway, but it just didn't look right.

We wanted sheets that would evoke feelings of peace and hopefulness. Black wasn't cutting it.

My mom promised that she would run some sheets over on Friday morning...if we needed them...which we didn't.

Honestly, we were all rather relieved that we didn't have to bring Karen home to die. I think she didn't want to make us have to care for her like that, either, and she's spent her whole life looking out for us so this was her final act of removing a burden for us. A home death might have been more peaceful than a hospital death, but I'm not sure how I would have handled watching Karen suffer the way she was for much longer. I was glad she was able to go quickly once she was ready to go.

And, oh, boy! You should have heard Grandpa (and, well, everybody) laugh about my fiasco with the sheets.

He'd given me one job!

1 comment:

  1. I like how Reid said he thought later, that when Karen said she wanted to go home, she meant Home - to God.

    When I first learned that she died in the hospital, I felt what a shame that you all weren't able to have her home because I know Reid wrote on his blog that she would be home and for people to drop by to say their goodbyes. So I thought it was too bad that plan was thwarted.

    But then I read your posts here and ... it was just precious how y'all gathered around her and sang and told stories of love. And it seemed perfect.

    As as the old saying goes, "Home is where the heart is," and I'm sure y'all are Karen's hearts (loves) so in that sense, she WAS home as she journeyed to heaven.

    I think Karen would have actually liked the thought of Blue Clue's sheets on her bed. :) <3