In her beloved Blue Heron Farm garden

Barbara Lorie

First post: Mar 3, 2019 Latest post: May 17, 2019
 Dear Folks, I have been so grateful for all of your contributions. They have meant so much to Mom, Tony and me. Although I have been reluctant to share more intimate details, both Mom and I feel now that it would be helpful and necessary.
                For quite sometime now Mom has been dealing with low kidney function and this has evolved into end-stage kidney disease. We were counseled early on by Mom's doctor that of the many ways a body can transition into death, kidney disease is slow and without much pain. For the most part this has been true.  When organs start to fail, the body's capacity to throw off fluid becomes compromised. Beginning last year around July of 2018 Mom developed a large edema in her left leg. We have never seriously considered dialysis and consequently this edema has persisted. Not surprising, she developed another chronic edema in her right leg. The swelling of her skin has been so great that open sores have formed. While we had a difficult and sad time initially trying to accept a skin condition that would remain with Mom until her death, we have moved into a kind of acceptance. This is now the hardest thing for Mom and it requires much management. Her body fluid has nowhere to go and it comes out through her skin. A Hospice nurse comes three times a week to help change and manage her extensive gauze wraps. A Hospice aid comes twice a week and helps with changing the sheets and sometimes with washing.
             In the last couple of months Mom has moved into the beginning stages of congestive heart failure. Again this is a body fluid situation that is progressively rising higher and higher  in her body. Consequently with any physical activity she becomes exhausted and out of breathe. Again this is hard, but Mom once again has moved into she moves slowly on her walker from her bedroom into the kitchen and living room, she stops, collects herself, sometimes sits down to catch her breath.
             I cannot praise enough the ongoing efforts of Mom's community neighbors and... folks living farther away... who stop in and help with food and chores and shower her with LOVE as well. I hardly have the words. While this intentional community, Blue Heron Farm, has had its ups and downs, one of the great hopes of this community is coming to pass with Mom's Care, so many folks united in the goal to make it possible for Mom to die at home. Again I have no way to describe the magnitude of this outpouring of love for Mom. My heart is bursting just thinking about it.
       While Mom is not actively dying now, the topic of death and the preparation for death are at the fore of our thinking and conversations. Confronting death head-on has always been a high value for Mom. She has been adamant for many years that her death involve a "Green Burial". Sending polluting smoke into the atmosphere by cremation is total anathema to her. Blue Heron Farm has its own cemetery . A burial committee has been formed. Mom commissioned a local potter to create a monument.  We have secured the services of a lovely woman whose high and valuable work involves helping the family with the body, providing a simple cardboard casket, bringing a synthetic dry ice to  keep the body chilled. Mom wants to Lie-In-State for two days after she passes. If you have never seen the film, Departures, about the ritual Japanese practices of preparing the body after death, this is a beautiful beautiful movie and I highly recommend it.
         Funeral and Celebration. We will bury Mom 3 days after she dies. We will have a local private ceremony at graveside. At some later date, obviously to be determined after Mom dies, we will have a "Celebration of Mom's Life" when folks and family living farther away will be able to come. 
                In the midst of all this body stuff and care, we have fun. Yvonne and I come over for "Family Night", dinner and a movie. Although I'm a good vegetarian  cook, I am trying my best to live up to Tony's Master Meat Culinary skills. Not having eaten meat since 1973, I'm a little rusty as a Meat Chef. Still I have discovered something that Mom, a die hard and passionate carnivore, loves, Bison Burgers(pure buffalo with no additives) from Trader Joe's. Their Turkey burgers are great too , a great product with just Turkey meat, Rosemary extract and salt.
         I will sign off now and add to this as things come to me that I want to include.   Much Love...doug

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