Saying goodbye to my mom

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My mom is dying. It’s imminent. She has Parkinson’s along with a plethora of other health diagnosis. And my dad made the tough decision to enlist hospice just over a month ago after months of encouragement to do so by my siblings and I. He and my little sister are her primary caretakers.

She has become unmanageable for any one person alone. While the equipment has been purchased to make everything as easy as possible, a single person just cannot do it alone anymore. We have a hospital bed, a lift, shower chairs, diapers, waterproof mats, stretchy clothes, body alarms and straps, lift chairs and much more.

We have been made aware that the end is coming. It may be a year or it may be a couple of months per the hospice nurse. But our bodies know “how to die”. After we received this news, I booked a flight to come out at the end of October, knowing it would be the last time I would see my mom. It didn’t cost me anything as I was able to use the flight credit from flights my dad had pre-booked in anticipation of our annual family trip out for Thanksgiving, but we are not coming this year. (I think I already wrote about that, but let me know if I haven’t. My brain is definitely a bit foggy these days.)

Time to hop on a plane

But this past week the calls started coming and the text messages came…

From my brother, “Hope, I didn’t know she would go down this fast. If you want to see her while she can still respond at all, you need to come.”

From my sister, “She won’t eat. We have to spoon feed everything and even then, she won’t open her mouth a lot of the time.”

From the hospice evaluation, “She is just going to get weaker. You may have another week or two where she will respond. But the body knows how to die.”

From my dad, “Come.”

There were a plethora of others, but as I was lazing around my house Saturday, I felt the sense of urgency significantly increase. So I changed my ticket and hopped a plane to Texas the next day.

 

Landing in Texas

The increased cost…$270. I used the remaining flight credit and then paid the remaining $200 out of pocket.

The cost for this ticket in total $600, the most I think I’ve ever paid for a an airline ticket. The true cost PRICELESS!

I will have several other un-budgeted costs for this trip…

  • Parking at the airport = $40
  • Extra tank of gas = $36
  • Food = $20ish

Here’s the point

Here’s the point to this post. Even just 3-4 years ago, this crisis would have sent me into a tailspin. I would have had NO WAY to get out here to say goodbye to my mom on such short notice. I certainly wouldn’t have had the $300+ needed to expedite the trip so quickly. And if by some miracle, I had that money on hand at just the right time, it would have most certainly messed up some other “payment” I needed to make.

I just can’t imagine the outcome had this happened sooner. I am not a big Dave Ramsey proponent. But if you are just starting out or thinking of starting out on a debt free journey…that first step of getting a solid emergency fund that is quickly accessible is CRUCIAL! And this is just one example.

Side note

My mom is at peace with what is happening to her. I know this. We watched this happen to my great-grandmother. My mom accepted her fate and I KNOW I will see her again in heaven. We had many long talks about this over the years. The end will be a relief for her. I know my sadness is for my loss, my kids loss.

But if you still have your mom…send her those flowers, write her a note, go visit her. Do all the things before you can’t anymore.



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