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.