I need to move away from doctors and hospitals a little bit and just talk about mom's relationship with the world around her. As we came to the end, and I could not quote you any exact dates or times, but as she came in an out of the acute hospital and when she landed in a new rehab because her former rehab said she was "too sick" for them to be medically able to handle her care, she started to make her world smaller. I didn't think much of it at the time. I was still living in sharp denial of the end being close. And some of the friends who read this now, might be surprised at what I am about to say, but she asked me not to accept phone calls for her any more. So, she stopped answering her phone and while I was there if I answered she wanted me to make excuses about why she couldn't talk. She told me this was because she needed energy focused on what she needed to do to get better. Only now do I realize she was preparing herself and the people she loved for the end.
Our conversations became more centered on immediate family and our plans for the future, but not so much her plans for the future any more. One day when she seemed really sick and out of it I heard a nurse ask her what was wrong and my mom (who was not aware I was outside the door) said, "I am so worried about my kids. I don't know what they will do without me." It was that nurse who later told my brother and I when we asked about mom's health. Look she is really sick, but I have seen patients fight hard and get better. If she has strength of spirit she will get better.
Right this moment, as I write this, I know exactly why that comment has bothered me so much all of this time. She is wrong. Strength of spirit does not always mean you fight to be healthy again. Strength of spirit means you are strong enough to let go. I believe mom fought with all her might, but that she knew before any of us her time was at the end. I believe her strength of spirit kept her alive long enough for her kids to be ready to say goodbye. What an amazing gift.