She Cried...Now I Can't

She Cried...Now I Can't

A Story by Carol Cashes
"

No crying for my mother...yet.

"

She Cried…Now I Can’t

 

My mother cried just hours before she died.  She was voluntarily in a medically induced coma after begging the hospice nurse to overdose her and hasten her death.  The nurse refused, but offered to induce a “coma” as an alternative and my mother promptly accepted.  Within four hours, she was no longer conscious and stayed that way until her death - six days later.  Every two hours, I filled syringes with Morphine, Ativan and Haloperidol and carefully, and most times, apologetically, slowly pushed the plunger allowing these strong drugs to trickle down the back of her throat.  Six days I alternated between speaking aloud to her and moving silently through her house…still following her rules and her preferences -- she was still alive, after all.

 

On June 29th, 2019, at 4:45 a.m., I administered her trifecta potion of peace and left the room only to refill the syringes for the 6:45 a.m. doses, when, walking back through the room, my eyes were drawn to a spark, a brief flare of light on my mother’s face.  Drawing close, I observed my mother’s tears.  Six days of deep breathing and no response to stimuli.  Six days that I cleaned my mother’s face after each dose to remove the small drops that escaped her open and slack mouth.  Six.  Days.  I had no more words, nothing “efficient and competent” to do with my idle hands.  I crawled into the hospital bed beside her and apologized for every time I fumbled with the elastic cord that held her trach/oxygen collar in place and accidently “popped” her face with it.  I apologized for my elbows that always seemed to be in the wrong place during the dance that was the struggle to move her from the bed to anywhere else, even momentarily.  I apologized for not being a trained medical professional.   Then I closed my “sorry’s” by telling her that NO ONE ever loved their patient more and with a kiss on her cheek, unnecessarily told her I had to “pee, Mama, I’ll be right back”.  Two and a half minutes passed, and upon my return…she had died.  She stopped breathing, her face was relaxed and I knew immediately, felt the lack of her gasping for breath before I realized I didn’t hear it anymore.

 

I have not cried yet.  I have teared up and I have boo-hoo-ed just enough to warrant a mascara check and redo.  I have spoken aloud about the worst and most intense moments of her last two months and I have rambled in excess of an hour about small details that others are unable to attach or even find the importance of.  But I have not cried yet.

 

I have comforted her best friend, who was unable to assist me in her care (mentally/emotionally - does it f*****g matter?!) and on the day she died was unable to leave her bed that day, but I have not cried.

 

Decisions made, burial clothes purchased, house cleaned up and prepared:  bed sheets changed, floors swept and mopped, bathrooms cleaned, coffee and other vital supplies purchased and stored, for the arrival of my cousin and my aunt who live out of state.  But, I did not cry.

 

She died on a Friday, was buried that following Monday.  I teared up when I saw the phenomenal work the morticians had done and how beautiful she looked after what seemed like months of looking at her slack jawed, horror-show death mask that was her face before her actual death.  But I did not cry.

 

Maybe tomorrow…but today?  I do not cry.

 

 

 

© 2019 Carol Cashes


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Author's Note

Carol Cashes
This is not the worst of the story that is my mother's death. It is my current status only and I will exorcise my trauma (I hope!) by telling the story in reverse as it appears that I have started with the ending. So be it. Chronological order does not always tell the story properly.

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Reviews

This is beautiful and yes you should write now from the middle or the beginning tell your story xxx sorry for your loss by the way xx I lost mum five years ago it’s never the same now one big chunk of life gone
Blessings to you xx

Posted 11 Months Ago


I have no words honestly, for all of the boasts about strength I hear now-a-days talk of independence and fierceness I have not seen as strong a person as yourself having gone handled this the way you did. At times I find no tears in my eyes, but let me tell you, I will never be able to say that I can do what you have done. You have my respect, my admiration and my support. It probably isn't easy writing this and sharing it in public, but thank you for doing so.
I wish you peace and serenity.


Posted 11 Months Ago


The end of life is always tragic to the the heart. The story is beautiful, but horrific. Loosing our loved ones can be our end too. You write very well, compelling! The details paint it like a master. You are gifted.

Posted 11 Months Ago


God always bless you Carol Cashes. Your story is a reality I know. God always bless you. When you are ready to cry, I will hear you and my heart will be there to comfort you. God always blesses the helpers, for they are His hands on earth.🙏xo

Posted 11 Months Ago


wow, Carol...i wish you wrote more poems as i seldom have the time to read stories...but this one drew my attention with the title and i knew i would relate.
Lost my mother and father some years back...and there was that same issue...neither wanted to be taken care of to the point where they could not do anything for themselves...both such strong people in life...that was not really living for them...and i totally saw the transition as they got so forgetful and weak...and had to be taken care of...i felt for them so much...
this story is so sad but so true. I am glad for you mother that she sort of got her wish at least, in a round about way...
j.
j.

Posted 11 Months Ago


this is a story about losing your mother it's very sad and tragic sorry you had to go through that

Posted 11 Months Ago


I never know what to say to someone who's lost a dear one. I think I know how they feel, having been in their shoes before. I recall being told "I'm very sorry to hear about your dad, brother, sister..." and telling them thanks. Tough as you are, I suspect the long ordeal wore you down, perhaps more than you know. It wasn't just mentally and emotionally taxing, but physically as well. A few of us don't cry like others, but we mourn nonetheless. I wish you healing, acceptance, and the return of your old bronco-riding, butt-kicking self.

Posted 11 Months Ago


Carol Cashes

11 Months Ago

So good to "hear" from you, Mr. Dickens.

Yes, the physical demand was intense as th.. read more
it seems to me like you behaved like the mature and level headed woman anyone else who found themselves in your situation would want to be..The situation, circumstances and events you describe so well are of course being faced many times up and down the land each day... I experienced something similar with my Father and from time to time have felt compelled to write about certain aspects of my own loss... This is probably one of the most mature and reasoned approaches to this subject I have ever read, and I do mean ever...I still find myself in tears now and then seven years on.. Neville

Posted 11 Months Ago


Carol Cashes

11 Months Ago

Ooohhhh, Neville, your comment brought me the gift of tears, not as many as I will need but a good s.. read more
Neville

11 Months Ago

you are much more than welcome & true..
Is it compulsory for mums to die when you're not there, even if you've been there all day and all night.
Went away myself for a break, same thing. Maybe that's how it's supposed to be.
Too much running around to cry, but you'll get round to it at some point.

Posted 11 Months Ago


Carol Cashes

11 Months Ago

It might be...there are a bajillion stories like ours.

My (don't laugh!) "poetic" s.. read more
Paul Bell

11 Months Ago

My team is royal blue, so we're heading in the same circles. The dying always leave a gift of advice.. read more
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Gee
I wasn't with mum when she died in April of this year and was glad !! After years of near death illnesses she finally gave up the ghost on her terms, refusing all and any medication when rushed into hospital for what would be the last time. A 6 o' clock knock on the door delivered the news, no surprise or tears at first, these coming a wee bit later when out walking the pooch !!
I'm kinda lost at present as mum raised 9 of us on her own and has been the foundation on which the whole 57 years of my life has been built on.
I'm so, so, sorry for your loss Carol.

Posted 11 Months Ago


Carol Cashes

11 Months Ago

I'm sorry for your loss, especially as you describe her as your very "foundation". As one of nine s.. read more
Gee

11 Months Ago

Thank you.
Perhaps tears will never come, perhaps "blessed relief" will keep them away.
.. read more

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Added on July 27, 2019
Last Updated on July 27, 2019

Author

Carol Cashes
Carol Cashes

Biloxi, MS



About
I'm very cynical, jaded, just this side of bitter and the only reason I haven't crossed that line is a good man loves me. I am extremely empathetic, but seldom sympathetic. I can be a ferociously lo.. more..

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