Three months later, my father became ill and was back in the hospital. I approved and signed papers for his hospice care. I wanted him transported back to Braswell’s so my mother could spend her last days with him. That same night I noticed my father’s breathing was changing; I brought my mother to his side so that she could be there during his last breath.
I thought that by her being with him during those final hours, even watching them wrap his body and taking him away, that this would stay with her. That she would remember he actually died, and didn’t leave her. But it didn’t work. Minutes after they took his body, she asked when were we going to visit him at the hospital.
Eventually I had to return home, but I knew mom was happy and well taken care of. Well, I’m not so sure “happy” would describe her, at this point. She thought my dad had left her for another woman, so ultimately she spent many hours crying. But days later it was like she was never married. She never spoke of my dad again, and before long it was: “Who’s Gene?”
After dad passed away, she lived alone for about three years. During that time I visited her every three months, but spoke with her a dozen times a day. She still knew who I was, and I was grateful for that. I got her a special phone that needed only for her to press a picture of my face and it would automatically dial my number.
As her illness worsened, she would call me approximately 60 times in one evening, confused as to where she was. It got to the point that I had to turn the volume or my phone off, completely.
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