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Sunday, February 20, 2011

ONLY if you really know me - READ THIS

When I came down stairs this morning….
At the bottom of the stairs and straight ahead is the room where my mother in law {Marie} sleeps.
She now is sleeping on a hospital bed with an air mattress.
It has a pump that is constantly pumping.
You can always hear it. It sounds just like a respirator.

The pump is changing the level of pressure that pushes against her body. 
You see, she has 2 unbelievably bad bed sores. Hospice comes every day or so.
And for the first time, on Thursday this past week I was assisting my daughter 
while changing her diaper ...and I saw them!!
The Bed Sores.
Andi {my daughter} told me; "they have become really bad in the past three days."
I almost lost it in the room with Marie (my mother in law} when I saw them. 
I didn’t dare!!
I had to run out of the room…I went outside and lost my lunch.
It is too much. I still can’t believe my daughter has stepped up the plate in this way, and to this extent.
I couldn’t do it…and I can take blood and gore. I was a candy striper as a kid.
And I in high school I worked as a dental asst. in oral surgery….
but this was too much for a kid {not a kid really - 23yrs old}to be doing,
Unless of course, she wanted to be a nurse.
It is a testament to her love for her grandmother.
I am so proud of my daughter. I have seen and heard her with Marie, there is so much love and tenderness there. I know that this has truly changed Andi. She is doing what I could no longer do.
Marie cannot walk anymore. She hardly eats. She is physically twisted up into a knot. Her arms and legs are bent and held tightly to her body. This has come on with in the last 2 weeks. We think that she had some sort of stroke. Her speech all but gone as well.
Hospice doesn’t say what happened….they admit that they would only be guessing.

Back to the beginning….
I came down the stairs this morning and straight ahead is the room where Marie sleeps.
I looked in and I thought she was gone. She was sleeping in a position that she had never slept before.
Her face was small, white, and her mouth was wide open. And her face was sunken in.
Really sunken in. I couldn’t believe it. I walked over to her feeling so sad, yet personally, a little relieved.
I hate saying that… but this house is a ‘hospice house.’ This has taken a toll on everyone in it.
{Sometimes I feel like I am locked up in a smelly, dusty, funky , creepy ,super sad  house/prison}
I kissed her on the forehead and felt her arms, cheeks and hands to see if she was still warm.
She was cold to the touch, but she opened her eyes when she felt my lips on her forehead.
Marie will have her 97th birthday today.
On my way home from work last night I stopped and picked up balloons,
Ice cream and a birthday cake with candles. I have a difficult time dealing with seriously sad situations in my life. I have always dealt with tragedy with sarcasm and dark humor.
The more pain I am in....the more of a clown I become.
I was seriously thinking all day yesterday that she was going soon. Like yesterday or today. And then I thought…it’s her birthday on Sunday. Wouldn’t it be amazing if she died on her birthday?
She would have died exactly when her ‘lease on life’ was up?
Marie has lost her parents,brothers, sisters, cousins, and all her close friends. I know they are calling her and waiting to love her and be with her. She should be free of this body, and the shame she feels when we change her.
It is the saddest sort of sad. She doesn’t want anyone but us taking care of her. She wants to die here, and die with us here at ‘home’. 
We can do that.

 Would you if you could?

xxx 's  to : 'you know who you are'

Renée Finberg 'TELLS ALL' in her BLOG..... Interior Design, Palm Beach, Boca Raton,Ft.Lauderdale,Design Service, Window Treatments, TurnKey Interior Design Service,Online Interior Design,andi, death, dying, hospice, marie, death and dying, hospice at home


  1. Anonymous01:05

    I can understand how difficult it is for you...for the family... for her...
    I remember my mother-in-law dying. She was very old and weak and she could barely breath. I could not offer anything to help her. I was so sad and frightened, seeing the death coming... The exact word is that I was frosen. She was a good person. Everytimes I remember her, tears come on my eyes.
    When life is so difficult, death is better. God knows...

  2. oh sweet friend... i was going to comment and say "what are you doing up so late"??

    well now i know and i wish i were there to give you a big hug... and kiss marie on the forehead..

    so many prayers coming your way... and i wish precious marie a lovely birthday... you are so darling to buy the balloons and cake... you are a gem.. xoxo

  3. Renee my heart goes out to you, Marie and Andi at this time. May you soon all find a better place knowing that great love paved the way.
    It is the loss of dignity that is so hard for us all but being at home makes it bearable.
    My love and prayers are on their way to you xoxo Jules

  4. oh my sweet renee, my heart are with you and your family, nice of you when you buy this ballons..soo cute and are a great person..tears are in my eyes..its hard so se someone die....
    my thoughts and prayers are on my way to you../marie

  5. (..well... I dont know you..but I read it anyway..and just feelt I had to say something)

  6. Renee, I don't know you per sa but your title naturally intrigued me and I was curious. I send you a cyber hug. I feel your pain. We went through a nearly identical sitaution about 6 years ago with my husbands father and it was heart wrenching to say the least. First and foremost in his case, becuase of his extreme pride and dignity.;...I know he cringed inside everytime any of us had to do anything to help aid him (turn over, change, bath,etc....) It was mortifying for this once able, strong proud man to have to succumb to the help of his children and their spouses. It is horribly painful for all of use to watch and go along though we know he has no quality of life. Within a few long months, he did pass and it was peaceful as I am sure he wished it would be. As sad as the finality was of it all knowing he was gone forever, we were all at peace on another level knowing he was no longer suffering, just barely hanging on and mostly that he left wtih his dignity and pride intact.
    It is difficult beyond description unless one is or has gone through it.;....I wish you much comfort and peace during this time. God will know when he needs her.

  7. Good Morning Sweetheart, I hope today will be a good day in the hospice house.

    I have never been in this situation myself, but GG has. She moved home several summers ago when her mother was dying and was there amidst a constant stream of visitors and the angels of hospice. She will always be happy she did it.

    Showing up for life can be a bitch.But what a miracle you can be.

    Loving thoughts and prayers for you.

    xo Jane

  8. Ummm sort of same same although my mum is not quite so we are headed there.....surprising who can really care at this stage of it all....hopefully the birthday will be a complete celebration! All ten best Heather

  9. classic style

    thank you so much.
    your mail was the first i read this morning when i sat down and opened my computer with my cafe.

    your comment was so sweet...
    i had tears in my eyes.

    i blog because i am surrounded by people that i can not get my emotional need met.
    and i got what i desperately needed today from you and my cyber-close friends who have commented today.
    a genuine 'big hug' and xxx's

  10. Renee...I hear you....All I know and I believe this to be true is that Marie will pass on when she is ready and only she can decide that. Her battle is hardest on those who love her but remember she takes such huge comfort in your love and attention. You are an amazing girl and I admire your dedication....Life has a funny way of rewarding the good people...xv

  11. jules
    i hope you know i love you.
    you have been such a friend and confidant to me.

    am grabbing a big hug from you
    and sending one back with kisses

  12. Dear Renne,

    I know that I could do this for my parents, maybe not alone, however I am the eldest of eight.You and your daughter are so very special.

    I don't know that I want my children to take care of me though...I may just want to go...

    Art by Karena

  13. Oh my precious friend, I feel what you feel, the overwhelming sadness of your entire family. How could this kind of suffering be allowed in our humane country? This is what is a delimma for me. As you know, my poor husband, Ned, has been confined to a facility for 3 years, going down each day, not knowing what's happening in the world around him. The degradation to these elderly people is almost unbearable. The caregivers are suffering just as much & yet are all powerless to make a difference.
    Love, patience, understanding & finally acceptance of the final outcome are the only solace. Pray she will be released soon. And, God bless Andi, and you. Sending love....

  14. I send you prayers for strength... a hug for comfort... and thoughts of sweet memories of your mother-in-law from happier times.

    You and your dear daughter are a gift to her. Your angel wings are clearly visible.

    wishing you all Peace...


  15. Renee,

    I know how this situation plays out and the moment by moment reality check that goes through your mind.
    With my Mom's passing (Mother's Day 2010) I was at my Mom's side everyday with my Dad for 4 months. We got to a point where she stopped talking and my siblings, Dad, and I were realizing we were at the end.

    The statement that you never know your strength or those around you until you have to be strong enough to use true. I just kept thanking God for supernatural grace and favor to go through me so I could go through this process. I've endured this process now 6 times.

    I pray today for Renee, Andi's and Maire's supernatural grace and favor to be present as this process goes through. It is bittersweet, humbling, and natural. It's God's process and it's not about us
    but it is about doing God's work in the presence of those that need us most.

    Peace be with you!


  16. I have done this and it is so hard. I had to "enforce" my mother's DNR orders. She had gone to an attorney after my father died of a very long illness and said she did not want to linger. Yet when the time came, so very soon, about seven years after my father's death, having to be her advocate in death was beyond difficult. My heart goes out to all of you. You are strong, strong, strong...and we are here.

  17. R~
    That is a very tall order indeed.
    Compassion and patience are two of my best quailities I think, so I can relate to your delima.
    Bless you and your daughter for the care that you are giving.
    You will recieve your just reward!
    Until then,
    bless you both.
    Have a Happy whats left of it weekend!

  18. I've told MOTH & the boys if they let me go to God in a hospital bed I'll come back & haunt them forever. I want to be at home, tucked up in my own doona & having the normal noises of the house as the last sounds I ever hear. Having worked in ICU's most of my nursing life reinforces this. You & Andi are giving Marie the greatest gift of all, but I get the feeling that she may giving you an even greater one in return. Keep the faith Sista.
    Millie x

  19. dearest renee;

    we CAN love you because you truly SHARE yourself with us and in particular this difficult time in your life with grace and honesty. do know your thoughts which we can all haunt ourselves with, are very normal

    just returned from the hospital where my beloved step father is in recovery from a massive heart attack. he wants to come home, and he will but is unaware of the short time remaining. if he knew he was in a diaper and his children witnessed this, he would be horrified.

    the chain of life can be cruel if we live into our later years. your gift of dignity and comfort to marie is beyond measure. take comfort in watching your darling daughter lovingly express her deep love to her beloved grandmother.

    hugs and prayers to the three generations of admirable women

  20. What I admire about you (amongst all the many things) is you love your MIL like she was your blood relative; and you Renee are human and not afraid to show it. We all just want to leave with some dignity and grace don't we? I am so proud of you for having her with you in your home as long as you have. This cannot be easy. You have a wonderful daughter, I've never met her but am very proud of Andi. I however have a tough time dealing with such things and I deeply admire anyone that does. So painful to those we love deteriorate. I'm praying that it's Gods will for her to pass soon. I hope she was able recognize her balloons, cake and the love that is shown each day and especially today her 97th birthday. I'm thinking about you all Renee. I'm with Millie, keep the faith sista.
    xo xo

  21. I don't know you well, but can so feel your pain. There are just so many things we cannot understand. I think there is some solace in loving another well, as you and your dear Andi are doing. May God bless you both.

  22. ...oh bless you...and your precious daughter (and the love she shows her grandmother had to first come from her mother)...your dear mother in law is simply where we all will be...she is ready to fold her tent and go to her final house...we pray with you and for you as you help her find her way home...blessings this night...and for the promise of joy in the morning ...

  23. What beautiful thoughts expressed here. I lost my Daddy 3 years ago- it was the afternoon that we told him we were going to take him home. He wanted to die at home- like most of us, I think. I was going to extend my trip for as long as it took- I thought we'd have him another week. But we left for an hour to get some dinner and got a phone call from my niece, telling us Daddy was breathing funny and to get back. His last breath was before we walked in the door. My Uncle had told him to get some rest, he was going home tomorrow. He said Daddy gave a big grin and slipped right into the funny breathing. I know he felt he could leave then because we 7 children were surrounding Mama and supporting each other. He loved her too much to leave her with her by him. He knew she was safe.
    You are giving your MIL a great gift and to yourself and family as well. I loved seeing how we pulled together and helped each other through our sorrow. I know I'll see him again. I know where he is. I know that if he's not busy doing something else, he's watching over us. What you're doing is hard, but the blessings and peace and comfort make it sweet.
    Oh- Daddy also had a terrible bedsore. The thing we did was to tell the nurse to stop rubbing the ointment on his body- that was too painful. We told her to put it on the bandage and then gently press it on his back. Hope this helps.
    You'll make it. And Marie will go to heaven and call you "blessed".
    Peace and strength to you.

  24. is morning in atlanta...and i am thinking of you..

  25. lisa

    i can hardly believe it, but marie is NOT in pain.
    it is bizarre to me....if you saw these things on her butt.....
    i can't imagine how it couldn't be painful.

    the people i work with were telling me about the funny breathing
    right before the end
    one person said it was called; 'the death rattle'
    scary stuff

    i am sure your dad is in heaven with all is loved ones that have passed before him.
    to is a great source of comfort
    that i will be with my dad again when i pass.

    xxx thank you

  26. R....After seeing the title of your post...I hesitated to visit...but here I am...knowing you only as a blog friend......what I do know is your situation.
    May she find peace....and then may you and your daughter as well. k

  27. My Dear Renee,
    That took some real guts to share. Oddly enough, as I write this I am in the outpatient waiting room of a hospital where Robes is in the recovery room after surgery on his arm.He's fine. I am reminded when I come to these places of my Aunt Maryanne who experienced this same type of thing, so thin, in the fetal position, but in a hospital...I admire your courage and your daughter's too...I suspect this won't begoing on much longer and my heart goes out to Marie....Know this. YOU are doing the best you can she knows that. I'm sure it a comfort to her. Hang in there, you and your family will be in our thoughts and prayers.Maryanne xoxoxoxo

  28. Marie is lucky to be loved and cared for by you and your sweet daughter. Blessings to you. And peace. xx

  29. Renee, you and your daughter are amazing women. I can't imagine how painful this is to live everyday. Of course you know that all the things you are feeling are completely natural. I hope Marie's suffering ends soon.

  30. My mother is named Marie and will be 98 years old in a few days. She still gets about with her new walker with wheels (we have to tell her to SLOW DOWN!), and still watches CNN news and political discussions with glee. She happily gulps down the healthy smoothies, the carefully prepared salads, vitamins and minerals that my sister gives her daily. I stop by her house (where she insisted on living) daily to give her backrubs. She's laughs often. We have been blessed, and know our days to be with her are numbered. Thanks for bearing your soul.

  31. dorinda
    thank you
    your comment has been a comfort xx

  32. pitiful, poor renee.
    so sorry. Mama



Thanks for participating!!

About Renée Finberg

I have been in this business since the age of 22.

I love what I do and cannot imagine my life without Design.

Design Challenges are great.

And because of those challenges

I have imported fine antique pieces from Paris,

Designed and Manufactured Furniture,

Created Fantastic Window Treatments,

And solved all kinds of spatial & architectural issues

With my unique style.

If I can't find it, I create it.

My rooms would make excellent movie sets.

I am a visual, tactile and audio sensitive individual.

Creating is what I live for, not math, not spelling, not science.

Just Great Design.

Just imagine how it would be if each of us,

If only for a few hours of everyday,We could be in a space that is our very own.A place that is exactly the way we want it to be

Surrounded by all the things we wanted to see,

The atmosphere we wanted feel, smell and the sound we wanted to listen to.

Private Paradise



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