Saturday, March 26, 2016

Goodnight Mamma

At 18:44 this evening, our mother, Deanna Beattie, passed from this life/consciousness/dimension into the next.

I will wrote something for this spot but not tonight.


Sitting with my mom while listening to the sounds of erratic breathing with long pause's between breaths.

Listening to the hum and cycling of the oxygen concentrator. A television in another room is providing background sounds. Occasionally hearing Porkchop's nails clicking on the floor as he wanders.

Listening to the sound of Ashley making carrot cupcakes in the kitchen.

Listening wondering if Mom's last breath has been breathed.

Then the answer, not yet.

I continue meditation and listening with my heart.

Yes, a Good Friday.

I am thinking now about how much fun I've had with my mom over these 60 plus years. We've played a lot of card and board games and laughed so hard our sides hurt. One of the big lessons mom has taught be example is that having fun doesn't have to be costly. We've done a lot of crazy things  and a whole lot of just everyday stuff.

As I sat with my mom today I noticed that she was having a lot of periods of REM rapid eye movement sleep. I wonder what she's dreaming about now?

Mama's farther away today yet her energy iss still strong. She didn't really rally while I was with her. Or maybe she did just a little bit. It is as though two dimensions are intersecting. Initially she was more here; now she is more there.

I love you Mom. And I'm grateful for you, because I wouldn't have become me without you.

Thursday, March 24, 2016


Grateful for a long talk today with my dear friend and teacher Martha Creek. Helpful for me to remain open to the possibility in every moment of this experience of my mother's transition.

Grateful for a call from Jim Lee this afternoon. Jim has been my boss, colleague, mentor and friend over the years.

This afternoon my calendar notified me that my mother would be staying with me from tonight through Monday. Originally the plan was for mom to stay with me so that Dion and Jeremy could enjoy Easter weekend away. It is interesting to me how much can change in one week. Last Thursday, I took mom to see Dr. Barnes so mom could see if she had a cold.

When I got to my sister's house around 5:30 this afternoon my family had already gathered, I love their energy as I came into the house. When I went to see mom, I noticed that she seemed much farther away. She rallied a couple of times when I was with her one-on-one, but my sense is she is pulling away from this dimension. I know it is the right and perfect way of it. After saying a prayer of blessing for her journey, I said I love you. She opened her eyes for a moment and then seemed to drift away. Still present but smaller ...

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Musical Moments & More

Mom has always loved music and she has shared a lot of music with  us over the years. I also have an eclectic and far ranging interest in music. I heard this song called "EYE" by the group Brandi Carlisle on SiriusXM Coffee House  a few months ago. One day it came on the radio when I was driving mom to a doctor appointment and she loved it. So I got would play it for he on Youtube and she would sing along. Tonight, I streamed the  song while I was sitting with her and she sang parts of the chorus. "You can dance in a hurricane, but only if you're standing in the eye."
Occasionally over the last few months mom would ask me to play some songs for her, often Cat Stevens or Elton John. We would sit ant my house and I'd cast Youtbube to the TV and she would listen and laugh. I shared many groups that she had not heard of like HomeFree -  a favorite of mine who sing country acapella. She likes their version of Ring of Fire

There was a VeggieTales song popular when my three nieces, Ashley, Alicia and Jordan were small called "A Bushel And A Peck" that was a kids version of the musical from Guy's and Dolls. Mom would sing the Doris Day song with the girls adding a few lyrics of her own and they all loved it. This evening while sitting with mom, I started to sing the song and she opened her eye and then sang along.

I am grateful for today's moments and memories with mom and also grateful for the presence of family gathered in conversation and sharing a meal as we hold a space for mom. Many in their turn sitting with mom and sharing love. Love my family.

The First Tough Night

Dion called me early this morning to tell me that mom had a rough night last night. Mom is weaker and last night was her fifth night without dialysis.

On Monday the nurse had told me that because of mom's renal failure that things could probably progress  quickly. The body is unable to deal with the waste products and they build up in the system. What I know is that my mother will pass right on time.

Mom has seemed more at peace than anytime in the last two years. She's also been enjoying eating many of the things that she hasn't been able to eat such as a hot fudge sundae and having a glass of milk with a sandwich. In some ways her appetite has been better than it has been for a while.

My task has been to keep my mind in the moment. Not projecting what I think comes next, being present to what is here and now. I'm grateful for the tools of the work in the way that modality is alive in me.

I'll go out to see mom after work today.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Monday Morning With Mamma

Porkchop and I are spending the day sitting with mom so that Dion can get some things accomplished.

Duane and Randy came by which was very sweet. Got a chance to meet mom's hospice nurse and the social worker. Both are very nice.

No matter what I might think I want to talk about with my mother, she doesn't really want to talk. She's chased several people out of her room who want to get too teary and sappy. I think I have just known better.

My mother and I have had plenty of times to talk over the last three years. Talk about the end of life, reminisce about the odd and quirky and strange things that we've done. Moving on sleds one time and her struggle to raise us. I have let my mother know many times how much I appreciate her and how often I have wondered how she managed to get by and she has told me how much she loves me.

I was thinking we might talk some today but mom is sleeping peacefully and Porkchop is laying up on her bed with her.  I tried to write a little and read a little and keep my mind in the moment.

Late afternoon and Ashley and Alicia come by to visit with their grandma. Mostly we visit  my sister, her girls and me. I understand our brother Darrin will be home later today, and I wonder how he's been feeling once again being on the road when things shift.

Not sure what the next few days hold, but today all is well.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Mom and hospice is now real.

I went out and hung out with mom, Dion, and our cousin Jolene. I took some food from Hollywood market. Some chicken and stuffing and gravy, mom and I ate a bit together. Then she wanted to go back to bed she said her back hurts when she sitting up.

Seeing the medication on the table brought home the fact that it's now very real, that mom is in care of hospice. The shift from the pile of medication in the process of dialysis which have kept her alive for three years now gives way to peace and comfort.

I ponder the question, "My mother has stopped dialysis, and that means_______?"

Friday, March 18, 2016

Enough! Mom Makes The Decision

The day we have known was coming arrived today. My mother, Deanna Beattie, has been dealing with the effects of end-stage renal failure for about four years.

Initially the diagnosis precipitated big changes in mom's diet. By altering her diet, we were able to hold off the need for dialysis for a urinary half. There are many things that she enjoys that were not on the allowed list: ice cream, nuts, milk, cheese, tomatoes  and whole grains. So we went to a dietitian as a family and got an education about phosphorus, potassium and kidney disease. And try to help mom eat healthy.

In the fall of 2012, we began a new journey. One with a new language, new skills  and new people to help us. And I say us because the whole family has been involved in this journey at some level. Dr. Clyne had advised me to take mom to an informational meeting at Davita to learn about the various treatment options for end-stage renal failure, meaning dialysis.

During the meeting we learned that there were five treatment options:

  1. Traditional renal dialysis, meaning in a center on a machine three times per week.
  2. Renal dialysis at home, which involves always having a partner to insert the needles and your arm.
  3. Peritoneal dialysis (which is a process whereby the peritoneal membrane in the abdominal cavity is used to perform dialysis, performed at home often by the patient.
  4. Peritoneal dialysis performed in a center with assistance.
  5. Hospice care. 
I remember when mom and I came out of the informational meeting, which was at Davita here in Rochester Hills, and got in the car she looked at me and asked,  "How did this happen to me?" We talked about diabetes and blood pressure and too much salt in processed food and all the things that we're told contribute to kidney failure. Truth is that we have a very high per capita rate of kidney failure in the United States.

After that meeting and our conversation, mom decided to try peritoneal dialysis at home. When it came time. Little did we know that the time would come very quickly.

During November and December and into January were talking the end of 2012, mom who hospitalized five times. And although her numbers didn't indicate that the need for dialysis was eminent, over the hospitalizations was discovered that mom needed dialysis so we began to make plans.

During the the Christmas holiday time of 2012, there was a particularly bad night for mom. She had gotten pneumonia and the infection had gone septic in her system. We had spent the night in the emergency room waiting to see if mom would pull through. I had set with her all night watching and listening to the sounds of the hospital and the sounds of care around us. Praying wondering if mom would pull out of this or if this was the end of things. In the morning at it all around nine or 10 o'clock she finally came around, the antibiotics have done a job in the infection was on the decline. And she began to wake up I said mom I'm so glad you're here I thought you might be gone from us. I said I love you. And she asked, "Do you love me  enough to let me go?" I responded,  "Yes when it's time but I'll miss you."

At the beginning of February mom had told Dion early one Friday morning while she got ready for work that she was gonna stop dialysis on her birthday which is 18 February. It happened to be at Dr. appointment day and I was picking mom up so when I got to her house she told me. And then she told Dr. Clyne. The next day she had changed her mind. She had a good day playing games with Ashley and sit up and talking with Dion. I wonder now if she just scared herself.

Yesterday I took mom to see Dr. Barnes because she could hardly breathe. I had been at her house on Wednesday to take her to the doctor but she didn't want to go. So Wednesday night late she called me and she said please get me in to see Dr. Barnes I need to know what's going on with me. She didn't realize if she had a cold or flu, Dion had been sick the week prior. Mom had a very difficult time getting herself ready meaning her coat on and shoes on and then out to the car. I'd never seen it so tough for her to breathe. Congestive heart failure was taken in big time.

On the way to Dr. Barnes office that Thursday, mom looked at me and said I wish God would take me right now. Her blood oxygen level was 73. He asked her she would go to the hospital and she said no. He said I can try and patch you up if you want to be at home, or is it time for other end-of-life decisions. Because mom had talked with him about hospice a couple of times. Mom hung her head and she said I don't know what I want. Making decisions for mom has never been easy, she'd rather somebody else made them her life made the decision.

Today, Mom decided enough is enough. She let Dion and I know that she was going to stop dialysis. The three of us talked for a little while and I asked if that meant it was time to call hospice and mom said yes. She had talked to the folks from hospice a few months earlier so that she understood what would be involved.

Mom seemed to relax after making the decision or at least sharing it with us, I think she was relieved. After Dion and I talked for little while I went in to say good night to mom to let her know that I was going home. I kissed her and said, "I love you mom".A she smiled and looked back at me and said, "I love you, never forget that." I said.  "I won't mom and I want you to know this mom because I know sometimes you wonder doubted it you've been a wonderful mother to me and to all of us. Thank you." I started so sing softly, "I love you a bushel and a peck; a bushel and a pack and a hug around the neck... Mom joined me as good as she could and we sang the little song the Barney song that she had so often sung with her granddaughters.

Tonight we begin a new chapter in the story of Beattieville. I don't necessarily like it. Yet I know it's time for my mom, the struggle is over. God carry us through the next little while.