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Deciding On Death

Posted by terrepruitt on March 27, 2014

So, I am experiencing one of the oddest situations we have created for ourselves in the world of modern medicine and technology.  I am sitting with my mother waiting for her scheduled time to die.  I am starting this story for you a little bit backwards, because Tuesday I didn’t have a chance to post.  My mother has been sick for a bit and I have been wanting to write about it.  I wanted to share plus I am surprised to find it is a bit therapeutic.  But I always thought I should ask her before I posted something, but now I feel it is past that point.  I came up to be with her on Monday for the day for what we thought would be a procedure that would get her back out in the world and home.  But it turned out that the doctors decided that the procedure would be too risky AND it wouldn’t really give us much more time.  So they advised us to decide when they should remove the breathing tube that is keeping her breathing.

My mother is fully conscious.  She has cancer that has affected her throat so she has not been able to eat for probably about a year and a half.  She has not been able to swallow well for about eleven months.  She’s been spitting into a cup and used a feeding tube.  As I said I am telling this story a bit backwards, I will do another post regarding how this all started.  I thought I would have time on Tuesday after my Nia class and Yoga Class to type up the beginning of the story so you could get a glimpse of how much she has been through and to end up here is just — I have no words.  I started to type it but I didn’t finish and ended up not posting on Tuesday.

MachinesThe cancer has spread to a point that is has basically mangled her trachea.  She was in Reno on Friday and in the hospital with a tube in her throat Sunday morning.  The tube is a small one they use on pediatric patients.  That is the only size they could get down there and it was a struggle at that.  One is not meant to live like that.  The body will keep fighting it and trying to reject it.  And with her body it is really going to try to fight it because her body has already had a severely compromised immune system.  So a breathing tube — especially one meant for children — is not a long term solution.

When the tube was placed in her throat the idea was that it was going to be temporary — she was in the emergency room on Saturday and the tube was placed in during the wee hours of Sunday morning.  The hope was they could put in a stent on Monday.  Then, the thought was things could proceed a bit more.  There was talk of additional chemotherapy and maybe even more radiation.  But the team of doctors met and they were not optimistic.  The doctor that would be performing the surgery was very frank and honest in talking to us about the procedure and the miracle that he would have to perform.  He said he would do it if my mom said yes.  But with the facts in front of her she decided not to have it done.

So then her next decision was when to have the doctors remove the breathing tube, the one that is keeping her alive.  What kind of decision is that to have to make?  I am still just having the most difficult time with someone having to be faced with that decision.  Living with a breathing tube that is so small you can hardly get any air and that has to be cleaned out all the time is not for the weak.  She can’t talk, she can’t laugh, she can’t cough, and she can’t cry.  That is probably the worst part.  She can’t cry.  The pain is too horrible.  She has much to grieve for and she can’t cry.

This is just crazy.  I am at a loss.  I am putting it down because I have to get it out.  I am not ready to cry yet because I am pretty sure I won’t stop or maybe I am still just in shock.  I had an entirely different picture of what was going on.

We are visiting as much as we can.  Friends and family are visiting.  She is communicating by writing.  Sometimes she uses a little white board and sometimes she uses paper.  We are not so great at guessing what she is trying to say, so she patiently writes it down for us.  She also still has her sense of humor.  She is funny.

I have found that the outpouring of love from people is really up lifting and very helpful.  I have vaguely mentioned on Facebook that my mom was ill and many people have responded with positive thoughts and mentions of prayers.  It really is  helpful — all of it.  To know that people are out there doing what they do when they want to support someone in need is amazing.  So I am posting this to help shed some light on my vagueness and to give some of the people who are supporting me (and my family) some idea of what is going on.

Now the big thing.  The big bad.  The ugly.  The most important thing . . . . the hardest thing . . . the thing I am typing blindly (I can’t see through tears). . . . can you take a moment out of your day (I know I am asking a lot) on Monday, March 31, 2014 at 1:00 pm to help her on her way?  She is a strong, strong woman.  A woman who has a lot to live for so letting go might be really difficult for her to do.  If there were thoughts and prayers and vibes and ju-ju and love and songs and dances and lights and sparkly stuff to help her let go . . . to help her on the path to the next journey–that would be awesome.  The angels will be there too, but I am sure she would love the additional stuff — she always loves a party.  Would you do that?



48 Responses to “Deciding On Death”

  1. stacy b said

    Oh Terre…..I didnt make it through your post before the tears came. I am so sorry that you and your family must make such an heart wrenching decision. My prayers go out to you tenfold. May you find peace during this difficult time.


    • Oh, no, I did NOT decide. No way, my MOM decided. I don’t know how to do that — decide when to die.

      Thanks for your prayers. And thoughts of peace.

      Think of her Monday!

      Thanks, again, Stacy!


  2. paywindow7 said

    Yes, I will pray for her Monday. Starting now.


  3. Michele said

    I am here, holding you all in my thoughts and praying for peace, I believe in quality of life…modern medicine can sometimes take that away from us. Only a strong, strong woman can take it back. God Bless my friend.


  4. My heart goes out to you. I have been through this and will pray for you all and especially for her peaceful passing. xo


  5. I love you and mom honey.


  6. Jennifer Campbell said

    Terre, I am so sorry I didn’t know that it had gotten to this point. I know you will be busy and maybe not taking calls, but I will try to call you. If I can come and be of any support to you I am ready to do so. I love you. Talk to you soon. XXXOOO


    • Jen – Thanks. I know you didn’t know, we didn’t either. It QUICKLY got to this point! She was in Reno last week! The coughing (the bad, telling, coughing) started while she was in Reno.


  7. suzicate said

    Lifting you, your mother, and all, and situation up in love and light. Big hugs to you, Terre. So sorry you all are having to go through this.


  8. Melisa said

    This is a hard, unfair, and terrible thing. Sending love and strength to your
    family, Terre ❤️❤️❤️


  9. wow…i have no words. I cannot fathom the deep emotion and travailing that you, our sweet mama, and family are going through. I will pray!! For her transition to be smooth and full of peace and hope. And that she will know how loved she is. I met an older man a few months back that shared with me an incredible experience he had in his twenties. He was in a terrible motorcycle accident and died for 7 minutes be for he was resuscitated. When I asked him what those 7 minutes were like his eyes lit up and sparkled and he shared the moments he experienced, outside of time and space, that changed hi forever. He met Jesus Christ, saw him face to face and was overwhelmed with the most incredible peace and warmth. His exact words were “I just knew everything was going to be okay.” And now…he lives with that truth and it has marked his life. He no longer holds grudges or sweats the small stuff…and most importantly, he has no fear of death. He already tasted it….and it was sweet.


  10. pegbur7 said

    Oh, sweet Terre…. what can one say in a situation like this? Having just been through a similar situation with my dad, I can say that I KNOW how hard it is and how much it hurts. There was nothing worse than the waiting….. It was actually somewhat of a relief when he finally let go because I know each and every breath he TRIED to take was painful. It was heartbreaking and heart wrenching. We ALL just went in to him and let him know that we were all going to be okay and that it was okay to let go. He needed to hear that and he said he needed permission to let go. As awful as it was to literally watch him die, I am so glad I was there for the final moments. He had even told my mom that all those people calling and praying for him to get better… that he wished they would all just pray for him to go ahead and die because he was ready. It broke my heart but I know he’s in a better place and he is no longer suffering. I will pray that you and your family find the strength and peace to get through this. Peace is what you will need. Know that you are loved and so is your mom. {{{{{{{{{{Terre}}}}}}}}}} My thoughts and prayers are with you. Much love and strength to you.


  11. Diva D said

    I will most definitely pray! My mom had lung cancer and fought it for almost 4 years. The last year she had a tumor near her esophagus that prevented her from eating so they inserted a feeding tube. A lot of what you went through sounded very familiar 😦 Love to both of you ❤️ My mom did not have to make such a heart breaking decision…..but when she was sick in the hospital I think she knew that she wouldn’t be going home with me but home with Jesus instead. I prayed a lot with her that last week ❤️ I will pray that she is peaceful through it all and I will pray for strength and peace for you. HUGS! 💗


  12. Becky said

    I’ll be with you and her in my thoughts.
    Monday the 31st is the anniversary of my mothers death — xoxo


  13. Marilyn Dickerson said

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I love you and will pray and cry with you. I am mostly speechless – words are hard to find that describe the tender depth of empathy I wish to express. We shall send our strength along with our love to you and your most precious mama.


  14. louise crivello akazawa said

    i am so sorry for the pain and sorrow you and your family are going through.death is never easy when it comes to the people we love.all you can do is love your mother and respect her decision.ask her if she wants you to be with her as she passes.i took care of my dad and he pasted when i wasn’t in the room..it would have been to hard for both of us to let go .i wish i could have held him as he moved on,but i know his family and friends where waiting for him.i know Aunty Violet will greet your mother with open arms,and your mother will be free of the pain and discomfort she suffers now.love your mother and know that she will always be a part of you…because a mothers love never dies..i will be praying for you and your family


  15. This is just heartbreaking. As a mother and as a daughter. I know there are no words that need to be said. Just know my thoughts and prayers are all yours. I’ll cry your tears for you, because I just can’t imagine. I am so sorry there is so much suffering and not enough time left for the good healthy stuff. It is just not fair. But I know you and her will get the peace and comfort that you need. Right when you need it. Hugs and love from Texas. 😦


  16. Dear Terri, I am so sorry your family is going thru this. I will be praying to God to give you strength and courage during this time. We have been thru this before and I know God will be with you and your family. Love you. Auntie Mary Ann


  17. Cteavin said

    Vibes of warmth and love; prayers for peace, both hers and yours.
    My heart goes out to you in this painful situation.


  18. Cousin Carole said

    Terre, I didn’t know I should have responded here. I did so on your FaceBook wall… For the record the prayers are in process as I write! Love you beautiful lady!


    • Prayers are all we need. She is exhausted and just wants to be calm and peaceful. Love you. Doesn’t matter where you express your love, Cousin. It is always welcome! XOXOXOX


  19. Rosemarie said

    Terre, my heart is aching for you all. I’m praying and please tell Diane I love her. I have very fond memories of her friendship as a great neighbor who encouraged me many times. So thankful she knows her Savior.
    Love you, your old neighbor, Rose.


    • ROSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my! Just seeing your name fills my heart up soooooooooo much. You don’t even know. Oh what joy! Thank you. Cool. So happy to see your name. I haven’t even read your comment yet. I was just so excited to see your name I started typing right away! Ok . . .

      I WILL tell my mom you love her. And KNOW that she loved you too. KNOW that you were the BEST NEIGHBORS EVER!!!!! Really! You guys were sooooo great!!!!!! We were so blessed to have you as neighbors. You always took good care of us and our dogs!

      I am glad you have fond memories of her. Thank you for letting me know.

      I would not be able to function if I didn’t have faith!

      Oh my! I am so excited and happy to hear from you and to receive your words of — yumminess — that is how I can describe it. It is just so yummy to my heart soul. Thank you so much.

      Love you too! XOXOXO


  20. Joan Meyer said

    OH Terre… what a difficult thing to do! Don’t know how you’re able to hold up!! Prayers are with you and your family! Remember to breathe! take care…. hugs…


    • I am able to hold up because I am keeping busy, I have faith in a Higher Power and better things, AND I am receiving the most awesome outpouring of love from so many people it is REALLY keeping me going. I cannot express how much everyone’s comments and support is helping me. I guess they don’t call it support for nothing! 😉

      I am my own teacher now — having to REMIND myself to breathe. 🙂

      Oh, and I miss you . . . . I hope you are doing well.


  21. Carol said

    Terre, I had no idea what you and your family were experiencing. Thank you for sharing. I send you all love, light, and peace. I look forward to dancing with you to celebrate your Mom, as you begin your healing process.


  22. Catherine Cooper said

    Oh Terre, my Sweet Friend, such a trial you are going through. I am so very sorry it has to be this way. I didn’t know that things had progressed to this point. I want you to know that this Rock of Gibraltar is always here for you. I know that through Karma your Mom is getting rid of a lot by going through this. It was a decision she made long before she came to this earth. Remember my Dear, the best of her lives on in YOU. You must take this time to garner all the strength you know she would want you to have and hold. She will be with her Creator, face to face, and she will only know Joy, Peace, Love, and exquisite Happiness. Help her to that stage and beyond with your courage, faith, and love. I love you so much! Please let me know if the coming times if there is anything I can do for you. All my love, Catherine


  23. Three_Ten said

    Hi, Terre…

    My heart truly aches to hear that your Mom has had to endure such pain and hardship for so long (along with you & your family).

    I’ll take many moments starting now through tomorrow and beyond, praying to give all of you; strength, courage and above all… faith.

    ( ( ( ( ( h u G s ) ) ) ) )



    • Hi! Thanks for stopping by. My mom is amazing. She just stuck her tongue out at me. She is a crack up. And thank you for the now and tomorrow. I know without a doubt that the hundreds of people that will be thinking of her tomorrow will be felt!


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