Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Candy Bingham Hanis -- July 8, 1954 - June 29, 2011

I woke up this morning when Owen awoke (just like normal -- around 7 am). I came out into the family room where my Dad was dressed and waiting for a good friend, Larissa (who is a gynecological oncologist) to stop by. During the night (around 11) my mom began to be a little noisy while she was breathing.  To me it was kind of like a groan she was making with each exhale.   Despite being so vocal, she remained asleep and did not seem restless.  Hospice had told us that she might make noises and even gurgling sounds, but my dad wanted to just make sure there wasn't anything more we should be doing to help her remain comfortable. Larissa came and said that my mom seemed comfortable and that we were doing all the right things. (My mom had a fentanyl patch for pain and then every hour we gave her a liquid morphine that does not need to be swallowed as it is just absorbed through her mouth.  Every third hour she got a cocktail of morphine, haloparidol, and lorazepam.)   At about 9am, we decided to change all the bed linens, as well as give my mom a sponge bath and change her pajamas. 

It was quite the project.  We filled the washing machine at my parent's home as well as taking another load across the street to Shad and Amy's house (so that we could get everything through the washing machines quickly).

Carrie and I were helping her with a sponge bath and were putting on her clean pair of pajamas (her favorite ones).  My mother was almost like a metronome in the room, groaning a little with each breath.  My dad was overseeing the whole project and helping as we would gently lift her up to slide on her pajama pants.

The last thing to do was sit her up just slightly so that we could put her pajama shirt over her head.  We all three helped lift her up.  Carrie was kind of hugging her with my mom's head resting on her shoulder while my dad and I on either side of her tugged down her shirt.  As soon as her shirt was down, we gently laid her back on her pillow and then there was nothing but silence.  My dad looked at her and asked, "Is she gone?"

And we listened.  And it stayed silent.

I even vocally whispered, "Dear Heavenly Father, Please keep her with you."

We could see her heartbeat visually and we could watch as it slowed down.  Carrie went and got Tyler.  It was 10:24 a.m.

It was so peaceful in her bedroom, that for a moment it was hard to feel sad -- her poor body was finally free.  Free of the cancer, free of the g-tube, free from the pain, free from the medications.

I suppose that ultimately we do have the last laugh on cancer.  Those cancer cells come in and take over.  They are such a nasty parasite, but they are too good -- they cannot restrain their growth and ultimately their overgrowth causes not only the death of the person, but likewise the death of the cancer.  Cancer really is stupid.  Cancer's success causes cancer's demise. 

I walked around my mother's room and photographed some of her special treasures.  They capture some of the essence of what mattered most to her. 

This is a figurine showing a representation of my parent's and their 5 children all kneeling in a family prayer.  It is enscribed with the saying, "Families are Forever". 

This saying was stuck into the frame of her mirror.  It perfectly embodies my mother's approach to loving others.  She went about quietly doing small (often very tiny) acts of love that truly made other people's day. 

I thought this quote was so interesting as it applies more to all of us trying to move forward than it must have to her.  Every memory I have of my mother is truly a treasure to me. 

This is my parent's engagement picture.

This is my mom's favorite saying.  She truly lived this way -- if there was a solution to a problem she would do everything to cure the problem, but if there wasn't (like cancer) then she would put on her brave sweet smile and go on just like any other day.

At about 11 a.m.  a dear friend showed up (not knowing my mother had just passed away), and she brought us the most beautiful cupcakes.  They were delicious and we all enjoyed eating them (honestly it helped so much.

It wasn't long before the funeral home directors arrived at our house to move her to the funeral home.

Here we are all watching as they very delicately worked.

They brought 2 flowers -- one for my mom and one for my dad.  They placed my mother's rose on her pillow.  It was a real tear jerker. 

My dad was so lovingly watching her as they moved her. 

And then we watched as they loaded her into their car and drove away.  It was an emotional goodbye. 

It was a hard day. 

Later that night we all went up to the Finals Chamionship swim meet where Tyler (having just lost his mother) had qualified for 4 events as well as Hailey and Zach.

Here is the song I just kept singing -- imagining that my mother was singing it to me.

This is my song
To carry on
When you have found yourself alone and I am gone.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

Thank you for sharing this very sacred experience. Know there are many prayers being offered in your behalf and that you have a very special angel watching over you.