Claova Johnston

First post: Aug 29, 2019 Latest post: Oct 7, 2019
Welcome to Claova’s CaringBridge website. Her adult children (Diane, Tom, Carol & Mark) are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place on Mother’s end-of-life journey.

As a way of background, Mom moved to Silverton, Oregon with Mark & Rennell after Dad passed away in 2003. In 2018, she moved into an apartment with Carol in Salem as she was starting to have memory issues and required a little more company. In July, she was diagnosed with Alzheimers.

During this time, Carol has been going to school full-time to become an LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse) while working. Last Wednesday, August 21, Carol finished her last final at school in preparation for her graduation September 6. She noticed Mom looking a little jaundiced and took her to the doctor who immediately ordered bloodwork and a CT scan.

Monday, August 26 was Carol‘s 60th birthday. With heavy hearts, Diane, Carol, Mark & Rennell (Tom & Mary live in Ohio) met at the doctors office for her results. We learned that she has pancreatic cancer and there is no reasonable corrective action to be taken. We agreed to hospice.

With heavy hearts, we went home to meet with Mom. We all agreed she would probably be happy to know she was going home to be with the Lord sooner rather than later. Although she maintained a thankful attitude in her life, she was frustrated with her lack of memory.

None of us were prepared for the extent of her reaction. She was elated. Happy. Joyful. Dare we say — jubilant! She is going home, and she has been ready and waiting.

As Paul said, “Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” (2 Cor. 5:6-8 NIV)

This is Mom.

Needless to say, it’s a little harder for her children to embrace that joy. We are certainly happy for her, confident we will join her one day. But make no mistake, the prospect of her departure from our lives brings a heavy sadness that is hard to bear at times. But, like Mom, we too have faith.

Mom gets pretty tired these days. She is not in a lot of pain and takes minimal medication. Her hospice team is in place. Carol will graduate next week, taking her national licensing exam the following Tuesday. She is committed to staying home full-time with Mom through this journey.

Ken and I are here in Salem from California, and Tom & Mary will be joining us tomorrow. Carol, Mark and Rennell are local so all of Mom‘s children will be together for a few days. Many of her out-of-state grandchildren will be joining those here celebrating Carol‘s graduation next week.

There are bound to be tears, but also a lot of laughter and joy. Mom’s peace is so palpable she most often is the one comforting the rest of us. No surprise there.

Mom is no longer on social media, so we will read your comments to her. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. And may you find hope and encouragement walking with us.

CaringBridge is a nonprofit social network dedicated to helping family and friends communicate with and support loved ones during a health journey. Learn more about CaringBridge.

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