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[Comments] (3) The Beginning of the End: From Frances' sister, Anne:

I just wanted to keep you posted on what's going on with my sister Frances. She has asked Leonard, Jonathan, Robert and me to join her in California this weekend for an initial meeting with hospice to "plan her last phase." I am not sure what all this means, but the bottom line is that she cannot start recievng hospice service until she discontinues use of the pump that delivers nutrition via IV 24/7. I am not sure how much nutrition she actually absorbs by eating normally, after what come back up, and what goes straight through. Whatever the case, the TPN has kept her alive for several years. She is getting weaker and weaker, and has a hard time conversing on the phone for any amount of time because she says she is running out of air. She has wrung every ounce of life out of her poor old body, and has done it valiantly. She has been in much discomfort and pain, and tolerated many inconveniences to do so, but she did it willingly in order to be with her kids and enjoy the home and the very full life she has built for herself. Now, there just isn't enough of living that she is still able to do, and I think she is finally ready to say "It is enough." (This comes years after the doctors would have predicted.)

I am very honored that she wants to share the the beginning of her new journey with us, and that our little band is ready and willing to be at her side. I am grateful for the support of our partners that allows us to do it.. I am proud of the five of us, and that we are still functioning as a family so long after our parents are gone. Frances is our leader, and the respository where our family history resides. I wish we could have her with her with us always. However, I know that at some point there just won't be enough of Frances left to recognize, and none of us, especially Frances, wants to extend her existence beyond that point. My biggest fear is that after all she has and tolerated and suffered to remain here with us, that she will have to suffer more to depart. I pray that this will not be the case. Please join me in the prayer that her passage into the next life will be well-timed, comfortable, and joyous. Once that happens, she will be alive, for the most part, in our shared memories of her. Let's keep this amazing woman in our lives always.

----- We had our meeting with hospice this afternoon and Mom wants to stay on the TPN a few more days before beginning hospice. However, the TPN is causing adema and she is only able to stay on it for an hour at a time. Once hospice care begins and the TPN is discontinued, she will likely live less than a week. Right now, she is in the living room sitting with us, not asleep I think, but in her own thoughts, preparing for the new journey ahead of her. --Susie


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