The evil in this world is spreading and growing.
My mother passed away 4 months ago form a 30-year-long fight with scleroderma. The last year of her life, my wife and I took care of her money, made
sure she had her medication, bought groceries for her husband (she was on a feeding tube because she lost the ability to swallow) and took her back
and forth from the bed to the living room in the morning, to the potty when she needed to go, and back to bed at night. My wife fed her three times a
day, every day, rain, shine, sick, well, regardless. I maintained her place and did her business, so she could be comfortable.
When she passed, she went out with people she loved around her in the hospital, at peace and with dignity. She simply couldn't fight any longer; the
damage was too great. My last words to her, standing at her bedside holding her hand, were, "Mom, it would be my honor and privilege to care for you
another 20 years. I want you back home. But I also know that you're tired. So know that if you feel it's time to move on, I understand." She couldn't
talk... she could look at people, but her eyes barely showed any emotion... she had been lying there listless and unresponsive. Her hands were cold
and limp. But as soon as I finished speaking, she squeezed my hand. I looked into her eyes, which were fixed right at me, and said, "I understand."
She relaxed her grip.
I don't tell that often, but it has merit here in this discussion. In contrast, her husband has three kids who live nearby, whereas Mom only had me...
my only sister lives two hours away. Between all three, they only showed up when they had to, usually when he or Mom called and asked if they were
going to bring him food. When they did show up, they stayed only as long as they had to. My wife offered to clean their house several times, but Mom
always insisted that his daughter do it... he was jealous of the idea of us doing everything and felt we were somehow leaving his kids out. When we
moved in here after she passed and his kids finally let him come live with them, and we found piles of rotten food hidden back in corners out of her
sight, and had a mouse infestation that was absolutely sickening. I have no idea how he is doing now. I am amazed they left him alone here for as long
as they did, all by himself, barely able to use the phone even, almost blind, barely able to hear, suffering from Type I diabetes and advanced
dementia literally sitting in his own waste while grieving for a lost wife. As one might imagine, there is a lot of bad blood between myself and his
kids, who I refer to collectively as "the hoodlums." Some are even banned from my property for actions taken after her passing.
Mom was always clean and cheerful... but only because we cared. At least a dozen nurses have told us that Mom would have died years earlier if not for
us and our sacrifices.
As some have said, hospice was excellent and a great help. Toward the end, Mom could not even stand up by herself, and having a nurse come by three
times a week (and as needed, including late at night on several occasions) made a huge difference.
I could never understand the contrast between us and his kids. They always seemed to look down on us and resent us caring for Mom. In my mind, one is
supposed to care for the elderly. They cared for us, after all, when we were helpless. A society can be judged by how it treats the weakest and most
vulnerable in it, and by that standard we are failing miserably. I can't even get angry enough to scream for prosecution against these supposed
nurses... all I can do is hang my head and grieve at the loss of our own humanity. We live in a world where children are seen as political pawns or
annoyances, where elderly are shipped off to nursing homes and abandoned, where atrocities like the one in the OP happen way too often with impunity
because it was just a patient and not a person.
I have two wonderful kids, don't get me wrong... but they have moved off to make a life for themselves. I know that when I get to the point where I
need help, there will be none; I long ago resigned myself to that. After all, our attempts to care for Mom were quite often met with scorn instead of
acceptance. I should quit caring for her and go get a full time job; we were making others look bad by comparison; we were just doing it for the
inheritance (which we already had), etc. I don't want my kids to go through that stigma. I am a hardened old redneck, though... those of us who live
this long are pretty much indestructible. My concern is for the rest of society. They are not so tough and not so indestructible. How much pain will
we continue to heap upon those who need us before we realize we have lost our way as a society?
a reply to: kaylaluv
You are already advocating. It's nice to just hear a friendly, understanding voice when those voices become mechanized medical speak and few and far
Bless you for what you do for the unfortunate.