Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas with TuTu

TuTu is what I call my grandmother; it's Hawaiian. As I posted earlier, my TuTu's life is coming to an end after 95 1/2 years of good health and happiness. She is with me, having arrived a week ago Saturday. I wasn't sure when she arrived if I'd be able to take care of her beyond a week, but I know I can and it's important to me that I do, so she'll be staying with me until the end of her life. I've always known that I was the one who would take care of her at this time and, sure enough, it's come to be. I feel so priviledged to have this most special tender time with my TuTu, a time to show her how much I love her. Even though I've told her often, I believe that actions speak louder than words.

She can barely swallow now so eating is impossible and drinking extremely difficult. She doesn't want tube feeding and I agree with her even though it's hard to watch her getting so terrible thin. I've gotten very creative with liquid meals, but today she choked off and on for 3 1/2 hours after choking on a sip.

Tomorrow will be the first day of hospice care. For those of you reading, hospice is a type of care one receives in the last 6 months or less of life when one wants to remain at home rather than go to a hospital. If needed, a hospital bed and necessary equipment is brought into the home. In my case, I think I have a good set-up and don't think I need anything, but I'll find out tomorrow. The hospice nurses don't stay 24 hours, but check in on a schedule or as needed. I really don't know much yet, but will find out what I need to know tomorrow.

The weather was mild on Christmas day so I took my TuTu for a walk outside and I'd bought her a glittery Christmas top, which she's wearing in the above picture, so she had a present under the tree. Until two days ago, she could manage to speak a word or two or communicate with nodding if I asked her something, but today she is so exhausted from the choking episode that she can't do much at all.

Please remember us in your prayers. It is a hard time on one hand, but in other ways it doesn't seem hard at all, but very natural. I firmly believe in the natural order of life, being very pro natural birth, which I'm very well known for as a doula and birth advocate, but I'm also very pro natural death. To come to a gentle natural, dignified end of life is hard to achieve in western society, as death is generally fought and feared. My TuTu has had a great life and I'm priviledged to be the one to help her finish it out as she always indended to, at home.

1 comment:

Catherine said...

I will be praying for you. I know firsthand how difficult this time is yet at the same time how very, very precious. Your Tutu's story is exactly how things were for my grandmother just a short week ago. It's so hard to see them unable to eat or drink yet you're so very glad to have this time with them and be with them to keep them comfortable.

After 90 wonderful years Grandma was ushered into the waiting arms of Jesus on Saturday morning. She is at peace.

Praying for you as you spend these special days and moments with your Tutu.