My Mom is dying.

Having entered the ER last Wednesday on what seemed a routine checkup for any infections that might be causing her most recent downturn, she was ultimately placed in the hospital. In the past two weeks her ability to swallow had diminished, her confusion and detachment more pronounced, and she barely seemed to recognize me.

She is now in her home, receiving hospice care for the terminally ill, with a prognosis of anywhere from 10-14 days. She was born July 16, 1926 in Red Cloud, Nebraska, graduated high school, and soon traveled all over the country as an employee of TWA. She had a good life and many who loved and adored her–and still do. Even when she entered a board and care home two years ago, she was still doing pretty well, but the dementia she had begun to suffer from insidiously ripped away her ability to even string a sentence together by only two weeks ago.

My Mom isn’t really home anymore, though her body persists, no longer able to swallow or eat, and has already begun to shut down. I could cry (done that), I could lose my temper (done that), and I could feel guilty that I chose to, metaphorically speaking, pull the plug.

But I don’t feel guilty. She has, as I said, had a good, long life, and I could wish she could have had a longer one, but it wasn’t in the cards. So all now is for the best.

So rather than cry or fume or blow up…I bake. I got home after meeting with the hospice folks and baked mango coconut muffins and Irish brown bread for the staff because…well, baking makes me happy and who doesn’t like muffins and warm bread?

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Given that the caregivers are Filipinas, the bread won’t be as appreciated as that other staple of their culinary world, rice, but I’m sure they’ll manage.

It’s funny…my Mom viewed cooking as simply a practical skill to have, though I don’t think she ever took a good deal of joy out of it as I learned to do, and whenever I would come by and bring her some sweet or pastry I made, she always enjoyed it…and this made me happy.

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