As I look back over the last months of Angie's life I am MOST grateful that all of us kids got to spend time with her.
Even though we could not predict how much time she had we all recognized that it was short.
I do wish that we had gotten hospice involved earlier than 9 days before her death. In the last weeks I finally could see the stair step pattern of continued decline with her never recovering to what had aready been a diminished quality of life. I wonder with the help of hospice if we could have gotten a better handle on her anxiety and restlessness.
Please forgive my rudimentary drawing below, but I use it because it illustrates a good point. Angie lived in a cottage independently for almost 10 years when she moved to Kansas. By March of 2013 she was using a walker, no longer drove, had fallen several times, had reluctantly let me take over the bill paying, and had trouble with tasks like using the microwave. These things prompted the move out of the cottage and into an apartment where she still remained independent with a lot of support in taking medications, phone calls to check on her and remind her to eat, laundry services etc...
In November there was a big decline in her functional status and she could no longer live alone. I think she had a stroke but can not be sure because we had decided no more testing and hospitalizations. There was no point if she could not get better. From the time she moved into the care center her quality of life steadily declined - this was through no fault of the care center staff. I have nothing but good things to say about how they cared for my mom and did their best to keep her functional. Her body was just shutting down. As I look at the chart above it's abundantly clear that I should have called hospice right when she moved in.
BUT, hindsight as they say is 20/20. We did the very best we could, and that is all you can do. Overall I have no regrets. Mom and I spent a lot of time together in the last 3 months of her life. We said "I love you" a LOT.
When I look back on this time together my body is tired but my heart is full.