Between Two Worlds: A Dear Exchange Before My Mom’s Death

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12/2015 Dorothy Caswell Boynton

Dorothy C. Boynton

My 94 y.o. Mom passed away on 2/19/2016 with my younger brother and I at her side in in the Hospital in FL.  She had fallen and broken a hip 8 days earlier, had surgery and a post-op course that was up and down, and down, and down.  My brother Steve has been an ED Nurse and was navigating most of the medical stuff (thankfully) and had been a primary caregiver over the last year(s).  We had many telephone calls with updates during this 8 days as I tried to be supportive and determine the best time to fly down from NH. At first it seemed that I could be more helpful once she got into rehab yet gradually it became clear that successful rehab was not likely and we began to discuss Hospice.  I feel blessed that I could make it in time to help transition her to Hospice and hold one hand as Steve held the other and she peacefully passed.

So the last couple of weeks have been emotional and I am so grateful for my family and friend’s support as I return to work and navigate this huge loss.  I miss her.  She was my biggest fan and always interested in my work.  She’s been the subject of a couple of articles over the last few years and was excited about my upcoming Improvoscopy project.

Empathy MattersMy Anxious Mom in Rehab

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Even in the midst of heartache, I am feeling a sense of newness and creativity. Faint, yet there.

Between Two Worlds?

Untitled design (17)

The dear story I want to share with you is about a brief phone conversation I had with her a couple of days before she died.  A kind and helpful Nurses’ Assistant had helped my mother answer the phone and then left the room.

Mom:  (Cheerfully) Oh Beth, Hi. 

Beth:  Hi Mom, how are you doing?

Mom:  I’m so glad you found me.  (And then to whomever…) My daughter has located me. Her voice was remarkably carefree and light.  Then the phone must have slipped out of her grasp and she no longer seemed to be connected with our conversation.  But, I could hear her continue in a very sweet and non-distressed way:  Yoo hoo, my daughter has located me….yoo hoo is anyone there?  Her voice grew softer:  Yoo hoo…yoo hoo. 

She seemed to drift off and after waiting a bit I hung up and called the nurse’s station.  The nurse I spoke with said she could see my mom and she was fine.  I sat back in my office and reflected. Something felt very profound to me.  She was so delighted that I knew where she was and wanted to announce it.  I can feel teary as I write this and acknowledge a deep sense of reassurance that both my Mom and I felt.  Safe and connected as she drifted off.

Some may think this was pain medication or confusion…..that’s ok, I’m sure it was much more.  I knew my mother pretty well on this earthly journey and this conversation was unlike any other I’ve ever had with her.  I hold it and her close as I share it and remember my dear friend, Diane who passed away last fall and talked about the “Great Mystery”.  I take comfort.  There is so much we don’t know!

Thank you for sharing in this remembrance.

This entry was posted in Communication in Healthcare, Diversity, Holistic Health, Listening and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Between Two Worlds: A Dear Exchange Before My Mom’s Death

  1. Leah Guthrie says:

    My condolences Beth. Thanks for sharing during this difficult time.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Beth for sharing. I’m sorry for your loss

  3. paberryrn says:

    Remarkable story, Beth.

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