The Final Chapter.

Paul got the call at 2:00 AM on Thursday, February 3rd, 2023.   Dorothy had fallen.  They don’t know how she fell but, they had her back in bed when he arrived.   He left around 3:30 AM because she was sleeping peacefully. They knew at that point she had broken something- her hip.  Hospice was called and all there was to do was wait for them to arrive and assess the situation-and make sure she would be comfortable and pain free.   Around 5:30 AM he received another call- that she had fallen again.  He called me and told me what happened, and I told him I would be right there.  

As I hung up the phone, I realized that this call was different from the ones I had received in the past.  I was not upset, I did not cry, I did not worry about her.  It was as if God was there administering Grace in the fullest form for me to be able to do what I need to do the coming days or weeks with ease. I prayed for guidance and calmness to surround all of us.  It really was surreal. I got out of bed and headed towards mom to start our journey.  When I got there, they had moved her from her bed into the common area in a recliner.???????    She was miserable and in lots of pain.  The hospice nurse had not made it yet- I asked if she could have some more pain medication and there was no hesitation to give it to her.

The hospice nurse showed up around 9:00 AM and confirmed what we suspected- her hip was broken.  I told the nurse that we needed to start the process of getting Dorothy home for the end-of-life process. The nurse called her office and they scheduled for immediate hospital bed and accessories to be delivered to my house. I was given numbers for transport service and home care service for me to contact.  Hospice does not do in home end of life care 24-7 in Georgia.   {The federal funds Hospice receives are dispersed differently in each state.}  The facility that Dorothy was in does not administer morphine and there were no beds available at the hospice end of life facility. Which was ok with us- because knew we were taking mom home for her final goodbye.  I was eager to get her home and started on better pain management-and her in a more peaceful environment- the common area with all the residence and activity -was at times a bit overwhelming.

While still at the facility- Dorothy was getting liquid syringe pain medication every two hours to keep her somewhat comfortable.  The drugs were as strong as the facility was able to administer- but -not strong enough.  Dorothy was very uncomfortable and in a lot of pain. She was able to be still and resting off and on- she was able to drink water and feed herself some of the sandwich for lunch.  She was communicating with me when she could as she was in sort of a pain coma- I reassured her throughout the day that she was on her way home.

She was soiled through the diaper, and through her clothes- they had to cut her clothes off her to change her- why they did not leave her in her PJ’s and her own bed is beyond me- or maybe she slept in her clothes that night- I’ll never know- I do hope they did not dress her- I can’t image the pain that must have been for her. After we cut her clothes off her and got her changed – which was a painful process for me and her- her screams were piercing. I put a button-up cardigan sweater on her- backwards- like a hospital gown- and Dorothy was much more comfortable, and I knew she was warm.  It was a long day!     

I was able to get transportation to arrive at the facility by 8:00 PM which meant Dorothy would be home by 9:00 PM.    The Drugs were to be delivered along with the hospital bed by 6:00 PM.  I was also able to get in home care to come in for the coming days from 10AM- 8PM, I wanted to be with mom during the night shift. It was a long day.   Paul was at my house to make sure everything was warm and settled for mom’s arrival.

At 8:00 PM the transport vehicle- arrived and they got her moved from the recliner into the gurney- again a very painful process.  I led the way home with Dorothy and her drivers close behind.  As we were driving home- I noticed how calm and peaceful the evening and the drive was.  The moon was almost full and shining very bright- the stars were out, and I said out loud- “Mom, what a lovely last ride on this side of heaven you are getting”.

We arrived with Paul waiting for us at the door- as I said – he had made sure moms’ room was comfortable and the medicine was there.   The transport gentlemen were so gentle and careful moving mom in the house and onto the bed- even though it was very painful, and her screams were heard once again.  Once she was settled- we made her as warm and as comfortable as possible.   I started the morphine right away. Which I had no idea what I was doing- I was given instructions on how much and how to give at the facility.  Just one dose- every two hours.  It helped a little and it was a tough night for her. She was still in pain and very agitated. It was a long, restless, sleepless night. She was constantly trying to get up and out of bed- at one point I was trying to calm her down as she was trying to get out of bed and walk.   I told her that she had broken her hip and she had to stay still.  She insisted that she had to walk- I asked her where she was walking too – she said that “Jesus said she could walk with him”.   This warmed my soul.

At 10:00 am the In-Home Caregiver arrived, and she was wonderful.  Mom was still agitated and fidgety -but the caregiver was very kind and caring to her.

Around noon on Saturday, Paul and I were looking out the window into my backyard and a majestic, white owl was sitting on top of the swing set.  He was unlike anything we had ever seen – and we couldn’t take our eyes off him.   We wanted to take a picture- but knew it would not do any justice from the inside of the house and somehow, we knew it was just for us to see.

Jessica, Paul, and I were in and out spending time with Mom –at one point we were all in with mom and she opened her eyes and spoke to Paul.  It was awesome. We all got the chance to have one last interaction with her.

Midafternoon I called Hospice and asked them if they could upgrade the meds -Dorothy was still uncomfortable and in pain- still wanting to get up and walk.  They said someone would be here soon to assess Dorothy and make the call at that time.  When they arrived – they did not need to assess much- they started her on a double dose of morphine right away and they added another pain pill that we were to dissolve in water to give her by liquid syringe every 4 hours.   The rest of the evening and night was a bit more calm- but mom was still suffering.

Sunday first thing I called Hospice and told them that we would have to cut back on the double dose because there was not enough medicine to last the entire day.  They said that the doctor had approved more morphine at 10:00 PM the night before and we were to get the medication sometime on Sunday.  Since they couldn’t pinpoint the delivery, we had no other choice than to cut it back. I hated having her at a comfort level then backing off.  Late Sunday afternoon the meds and the Hospice nurse showed up around the same time.  So, they doubled her meds right away.  The nurse also added another pill to be diluted and given to mom every other time with the morphine.  We were to double morphine and do one or the other pill every two hours.   This they said would calm her and keep her pain free. 

It took until about 1:00 AM Monday morning for Dorothy to be totally calm.  The death rattle had started around 11:00 PM.   And it was somewhat of a lullaby for me- I was sucked into the rhythm of her breathing.   At 3:00 AM she was totally calm.  While I had prayed all along with her during since she was home and sang Amazing Grace to her- I was drawn to read her the 23rd Psalm along with the prayers and singing around.   I told her again how much she was loved and appreciated how proud I was of her and how brave she had been here on Earth.   At 4:00 she was still in the rhythm, and I was still calmed by it.  At 4:30- she stopped breathing.  She was warm and just gone.    I sat with her for a bit and was in wonder of her beauty and peacefulness.  Then I went outside to see if I could see her spirit soaring through the full moon, starry night.  I was hoping to see the majestic white owl that had come to guide her home.   All I saw was the splendor of the morning- before the dawn- when it’s the darkest.   I knew because the moon and the stars were so bright- that the owl and her had a safe, clear path to heaven.

I went back in- held her had one last time -then called Paul.   He came over and had his moments with her.   I called Hospice- they were there within the hour to call the TOD.   The funeral home came, and I watched as they prepared her for her body to be transported with dignity and style out of the house and down the road.  There are so many memories I will cherish of her alive and well- happy and full of life- as I will cherish this time with her to help her on her journey to Heaven. It was Monday February 6, 2023.

Dorothy’s life is over.  She has gone home.   She is not suffering anymore.   Her memory restored. She is reunited with her loved ones.  I believe that she is in her happy place with her people and God in Heaven.  

It’s only been 9 days since Dorothy went home- but it seems so much longer.   The emotions are intertwined within me.  Sadness, joy, happiness, love, loss……….  all I have is my faith in knowing what I know.

I love you mom!

Dorothy Lee Branham Boyer Cherry

February 22,1937- February 6,2023        31,395 days

Go Rest High on That Mountain-   Vince Gill, Alison Krauss, Ricky Skaggs

If I had Wings- Dolly Parton

Love and Light,

Cheryl Doreen

One thought on “The Final Chapter.

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