Tuesday, March 08, 2011

I'm wide awake. So much has happened these last few days. My mother-in-law passed away March 6 around 2:40 am. My husband, his sister and dad were able to spend the last week with her in the nursing home. My father-in-law had a huge day scheduled on the 4th, and I believe my MIL held on until that big day was over for him. The ultimate sacrifice from a wife who was always in the shadows of a successful, powerful, driven academic. Yes, I believe as she lay there not eating or drinking and getting weaker and weaker, she did what she could do to not ruin his day.

About 4 months ago we received an invitation to a symposium to celebrate my FIL's 70th birthday hosted by the Dept. of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Harvard University Asia Center; and Dept. of Anthropology, Harvard University. About six months ago, my MIL was placed in a nursing home because she could no longer stay in the house due to her deteriorating condition from Alzheimer's Disease. And almost two weeks ago, we got the news that my MIL was no longer eating or drinking-the final part of the disease. My husband waited until the day after my birthday and then he drove up to Boston, not knowing she would be alive by the time he arrived. He did make it and was able to see her everyday until she passed. The kids and I joined him on Thursday that week and we were able to attend the event for my FIL on Friday, the 4th. On Saturday, the 5th, we all hung out in the nursing home talking and just being there as a family. Her breathing was still regular and her pulse was 64. Amazing for a woman who had not eaten or drunk anything in 10 days. Around 5 pm, we said our goodbyes--I told her I had learned to cook and her son was taken care of. My husband told his mom it was OK to go now. The kids kissed her and told her they loved her. We then left and went out to dinner. The phone call came at 2 am from the care giver, Sioban, and she said, "she's not going to make it." My husband, his sister and their dad made it to the nursing home just as she breathed her last breath. The care giver was reading Psalm 23.

1 The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwella]">[a] in the house of the LORD

They stayed with her until her body was taken away.

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