Last Saturday evening (4/26/2014) as I lay in bed, ready to fall asleep, I received one of those late night calls, as parents, we dread receiving. However, rather from one of our children, or even Mom calling, the call was from my youngest aunts, Monica, the person I first met on my b-mother's side - the Miller family. Monica called to relay Irene's condition. Following her 2nd stroke in months, Saturday, Irene was quite unresponsive and not eating or drinking. "We had to keep physically checking", Monica said, "to see if she was still breathing." That was such a "tough" conversation as I clarified Monica's words to me; "it began sunk in." Irene may be dying - the original estimated time-frame, she was to have one to five days...
Monica is but two years older than I am and the youngest of ten children to Joachim and Barbara Miller. Incedently, 4/26 was also the anniversary of when Mom and Dad received me as their new son; 4/27 is our youngest son's birthday (David). I was Baptised at Visitation Church in Tacoma. 4/29 1:10pm Monica just wrote and they took her off IV. Still on anti-biotics for pnemonia, and she has slight virus in her eye - she gets ointment for that. 5/1/14 When I (Monica) talked with Irene's nurse earlier today, she said that Irene was no longer on oxygen or her i.v. She still needs to drink more liquids and they are working on that. Even her water has to be thickened, as her strokes made it so she has a "delayed" swallow and can choke easily. Her solid food is being pureed for the same reason. Irene doesn't like that very well, but she is eating some. Today they got her into the wheelchair for awhile. Because she leans to one side, they are going to be getting her a different type of wheelchair. She is still on her antibiotics for the pneumonia. Rosemarie was there with her this afternoon and took Irene outside to enjoy the sunshine. Rosemarie said Irene was not responding to her when she was talking to her, and not even trying to talk. The other day, she was at least saying yes/no when asked questions. It sounds like all this is going to be a roller-coaster type thing. Some days poor, some days a little better. We will just have to take it one day at a time. Dennis and I arrived in Fargo today, and will be here until early Saturday morning, and home Sunday evening. Unless things change for the worse, of course. Then we will just have to explain to his daughters and grandkids that we will have to visit another time. I know they will understand. Take care, everyone! I will do my best to update every day. Monica
July 12, 2014
Last week, Monica's sister, Rosemarie, called to relay new information on how Irene was doing. The news was not good. After a couple days of smiling and eating a little bit, Irene had now quit eating and drinking since Monday, July 7. Also, Hospice suggested that she be given a low dose of morphine to help make Irene comfortable. She would be sleeping more and more each day. Frankly, her body is "shutting down". She is dying.
I find myself contemplating her death. I want to be there and comfort her in her last days. At our last visit with her several weeks ago, I read portions of the book of Psalms to her. Psalm 118:24 "This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." She lipped those words as I read them to her. I want this Psalm/song to be sung at her funeral. I also want to tell her that I am her son, before she dies. I want to be there to tell her so. Even as I know, following her death, she would instantly know of this fact, anyway. I want to tell her myself on this side of creation. I feel in my heart, she would like to know...
July 17, 2014
Tomorrow morning is the day. Jesus, I ask for your grace and peace for my mom, Irene, and myself, as I share with her that I am her son. May the Holy Spirit be with us. I am grateful for my Aunt Monica and Rosemarie for taking such excellent care of Irene. I love you Jesus! Hail Mary, full of Grace; the Lord is with You. Blessed art though among women; blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.
July 21, 2014
After much anticipation, the day finally had come for me to tell Irene that I am her son. Donna and I were the first to arrive Friday morning (7/18) at the retirement center. I pulled up the folding chair and sat close to her bed and
reached for her hand. She remained looking away as when we first arrived. She was clutching her rosary in her left hand. Softly, but audible, I prayed several Hail Mary's. Turning towards Donna, I motioned her to come close to me. "Get closer and speak softly into her ear," Donna said.
"Irene, I have something important to tell you...... I love you! I am your son." Then, I sang to her the Psalm/song "This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it." Still, she did not (outwardly) respond. Aunts Monica and Rosemarie entered the room. We exchanged hugs and chatted awhile. Irene took turns drawing each of us to her to sharing hugs and warm smiles, especially, Donna.
July 22, 2014, Tuesday
Today, I took our oldest, Kristy, her husband, Brian, and their son, Casen to visit Irene.
Again, she held her rosary close, displaying such great intimate love for Jesus and His mother, Mary, as she kissed her rosary many, many times in what appeared to be total submission to the Father's will. Oh, how Irene loves Jesus and His Mother, Mary! What a blessing to witness!
July, 26, 2014, Saturday
Happy Birthday, Ed!
July 29, 2014, Tuesday
I visited Irene for about an hour yesterday after work. She was quiet and slept most of the time. I prayed the rosary while I was there.
July 30, 2014, Wednesday (Monica Wrote)
She's been rather "feisty" lately. Rosemarie and I were there yesterday, too, and Irene kept trying to get out of bed! When I was there, her hands and feet were very cold. I'd cover her up and she would smile, then a couple minutes later she'd be pulling off the blankets again. When Rosemarie walked in earlier, Irene's feet were off the bed. I'm hoping the fan was still aimed at her last night while you were there, and hope it was still on! She didn't want to hold hands or anything. Wouldn't answer questions, would just look at me like I really wasn't even there. Guess we should get used to more of this behavior, I don't know. It's getting harder all the time.
August 4, 2014, Monday
Today is 30 days since being informed of Irene not eating, drinking.
August 5, 2014 Tuesday
Monica wrote that Irene was quite irritable (yesterday) and attempted to get out of bed on her own without assistance. (afraid Irene would fall and break bones).
I went to see her today following work. Monica was there; Irene was sleeping as she received medication to keep her relaxed. She looked comfortable and never did open her eyes.
August 6, 2015 Wednesday
I am praying now that God will soon call Irene to her eternal Home.
August 8, 2014 Friday
Tonight I attended a Healing Mass at Tulalip, St. Anne's Mission. Father was late so we said a rosary before he arrived. There were but 20 people total in this small church. I went to pray for Irene, for her journey Home...that God would call her quickly. Following Mass, Father Ewhey placed the monstrance on the alter. It was a beautiful, brown wooden statue of Blessed Mother holding her son in the Eucharist. I went up to receive the blessing. Father anointed me with oil and received laying on of hands. I wept and I felt God heard my prayer. For I have had the past twelve years knowing Irene - the prayer He answered after many years of searching for her. So now, this phase of our lives together would be complete when God finally calls her Home. I pray she receives her reward in Heaven. She so loves her Lord and his mother.