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I am writing in regard to my mom, Judy Helgerson, who died of pancreatic cancer on May 17, 2005. My mom lived alone and had been divorced for many years from our dad. She moved to the town that I live in to be closer to me and my family. I have a daughter and a son, both grown, who were always very, very close to grandma. In March 2005 my mom told me that food didn't taste right. She said kind of metalic, I didn't think a whole lot about it and we just kept on talking.

Then on another visit, she told me that she has been having back pain. My mom has had back pain for years and years. So neither of us thought too much about it. The pain then started in her stomach area too. She called her doctor and he thought she had a urinary infection. Treated her with antibiotics for 10 days. No better. Called doc again, and he again treated her with antibiotics for another 10 days. Still no better. He told her to make an appointment to come in and see him. I went with her to this appointment. He weighed her and she had lost 20 something pounds.

He then wanted all sorts of tests done and eventually found out she had pancreatic cancer. He told her nothing could be done as she was in the final stage and all there was for her was comfort care. Contacted Hospice and I quit my job and took care of my mom. I have three siblings and I am the oldest, and the closest to my mom. We took turns staying overnight with her at the end. Everytime I would leave to go home, whatever sibling was there, called me to come back, as they were all confused over her medications.

She could not have a bowel movement anymore and we had this wonderful nurse who would come and help her so she could go to the bathroom. She then went to stay at Hospice for three nights. She did this to give me a break and for her to come to terms with her death. I was there day and night with her. Thursday when I got there, I said to her, come on mom let's go home. So I took her out of there that day. She got to where she could not walk anymore, it hurt too much. Got a wheelchair but she was too proud. She let me take her in it one day to go around the neighborhood for the last time. She quit eating on Wednesday at Hospice and quit drinking and swallowing pills on Saturday. Got a morphine pump with a bollus every 15 minutes. Laid in bed with her on Saturday talking for an hour or two. Told her what a good mom she was and how proud I am of her and that it was okay to go and how much I would miss her, but I would survive. My siblings also talked to her.

I was in there with my brother and we were talking and I told him that I hoped mom would die early in the morning, so it would give me all day to take care of what I needed to for her and she died Tuesday morning at 6:25 a.m. She took her last breath and a tear came down her eye. I fixed her hair, put carmex on her lips, put body lotion on her, changed her clothes, put her favorite perfume on her and then her mother and a brother came to see her. My siblings were afraid to come in anymore, so they went out back.

After the nurse came and pronounced her death, and when I was ready to let her call the funeral home, I stayed in there with them, and helped move her to the gurney and close the bag, and put a beautiful quilt over top of her and I walked out as they took her away. That was the last time I saw my mom. Her wishes were to have no one see her after she died and her body was taken away. And she wanted to be cremated. The funeral home called me Saturday morning around 9:00 a.m. to tell me they were just starting the cremation and did I want to be there. I wanted to, but I remembered my mom's wishes, and she would not have wanted me to be there. Around 12:00 they called and said the process was done.

To this day, I think about my mom every day and night. Her spirit is around me all the time. She gives me signs that I know are her, as she told me if there was anyway to give me signs, she would, and she sure has and still does.

I now volunteer with Hospice, I had to wait about 4 1/2 to 5 months after my mom's death and went and did the training, and I go to patient's homes as a companion and we talk about everything. Even death. I get so much satisfaction out of this.

By the way, the reason I called this Seven Daughters, is because after my mom was diagnosed, and I was there all the time taking care of her, she told me that when one of my other siblings were there, her heart just was not at peace as it was when I was there. She said by me being there was felt so much more at peace and was so thankful for me taking care of her. She said she wished she had seven daughters like me.

I still cry from time to time and there are days when I miss her so bad my heart aches. I talk to her when I am home, I look at photos of her, I talk with my kids about grandma, she will never die in our hearts. We miss her so very much. She was and is, the best friend I could ever have hoped for. We spent so much time together. I did not know what to do for quite some time after she died.

So for anyone out there taking care of a loved one who is dying, you are giving that person the best gift that you ever could, by taking care of your loved one and letting them die with dignity and love. After all, in my case my mom brought me into this world, and I helped take care of her at the end of her life, so she could die peacefully and hopefully pain free.

Love to all.


Posted 12/27/2007 01:33 am by Sherry
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