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[Comments] (3) 'Tis but a scratch: I know my mom is still herself because when we were signing her up for hospice and someone set her water glass down on the table she said, "That needs a coaster under it."

: Anne is writing down all the conversations we have with Mom, and some of them are pretty funny. Here is my favorite:

Mom (about her horse, Sprite): You were always a good horse.
Anne: Thank you.
Mom: Even if you did sit down once.

The day began with a clean house. Then we began the sorting process. We went through Mom's cedar chest, the books, the crystal, vases and silverware and the paintings. The house is a mess, and I won't pretend it's an orderly mess, but everything has stickies on it now! This made Mom feel better because she is worried about people not getting things. There are heirloom items for all of the nieces, but boys are harder to "shop" for. The girls will be getting not only a piece of their Aunt Frances, but a piece of Grandma Lorna or Della. Mom was very helpful in identifying the origin of the items in her cedar chest. We made sure to write where everything came from, because no one else will ever figure it out.

Mom's cousin Steven Call drove up and spent several hours with us. Mom enjoyed seeing him again. We also had visits from Hillary and Brock, and Uncle Garry also came by and stayed for a while.

We have an appointment tomorrow with the mortuary in Bakersfield. The booklet the hospice nurse gave us places her breathing patterns (occasionally stopped for 10-15 seconds at a time) under "one to two days to hours prior to death". I think I noticed this earlier, but Hillary pointed it out today.

The End is Just the Beginning: Frances passed away peacefully in her sleep this afternoon.

We spent a wonderful night with her and the bishop, sitting in the living room, singing her favorite hymns and talking. We put her to bed around 3:30 am, and said goodbye. In the morning, she wouldn't wake up. Her breathing became more congested and irregular and finally stopped around 1:30 pm.

Services will be held in Bakersfield on Wednesday, May 10th - details to follow.

[Comments] (3) : From an email sent by Alyson today to the Molly Bluestocking list:

I have sad news. Frances passed away peacefully today at around 1:30pm. She has had a rough week, beginning on Friday, April the 28th, when her body began rejecting the TPN. She was removed from that on Sunday, and Hospice came on Tuesday to begin her morphine medications. Her body became more restful after that, but her mind refused to slow down. She had been incredibly alert and lucid all through the week, and last night, at around 12:00 am, she said she could no longer tolerate the drawn out nature of her dying.

We have been writing down many of our conversations, and this is what she said to my mother, Anne: "Nobody has come for me. I have discovered, this is a pretty big blow for me. I have always been able to accomplish what I need to by myself. Maybe if you prayed, I could be strong enough." My mother responded that she's heard a person has to ask, in order to finally die. At that time, Frances asked that we invite the bishop to see her. He arrived around 12:30, and sat with us as we sang hymns to Frances.

We first sang "Redeemer of Israel." Bishop Davis asked, "Do you want another song?" Frances said yes. Bishop asked "Do you want us to pick?" She said, "Well, I was just thinking. . ." She paused, and Bishop said, "That's a dangerous thing to do." There was another pause. Frances said, "If we sing another song, we'll be out of ammo. . . I have to do two more." We sang "How Firm a Foundation," Leonard requested "Master, the Tempest is Raging," "Abide with me 'tis eventide," and "Brightly Beams our Father's Mercy" (which was sung at Franny's dh's funeral and at her father's funeral).

After all that singing, we settled Frances into bed, and Bishop Davis gave her a blessing. He promised her that the veil would become thin, and she would see all the people there ready to receive her. She slept all night and all morning, and passed away sometime in between 1:15 and 1:30 when we were out of the room.

She loved her Molly friends. Her room is decorated with cards and flowers from many of you, and she has been touched with the thoughtful things that you have sent her and her family.

Here is another conversation from May 4th.

Anne (my mother)"Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo."
Frances: "Better not go out."
A: "Why?"
F: "Its wild out there. Everybody is crazy. If you have to go out on a desperate mission to save France, be prepared."
A, teasing: "Maybe you'll die on Cinco de Mayo. Make a lot of commotion."
F: Yes.
A: "But if you wait, you could die on Mother's Day."
F: "That would be a kick in the pants."

I'm glad Frances had a good week with us, and she was Franny to the end. She didn't miss a beat.

Obituary: Here is the link to Mom's obituary, printed in the Bakersfield Californian on Tuesday. The death date is wrong, it was actually May 5, 2006


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© 2001-2006 Frances Whitney.