Amy remembers (continued from part 2):
Before I left Milwaukee I had a Neurology locum tell me: “You listen to your mother’s wishes and don’t do anything she does not want.” So this advice was always there when I would tell my ma: “We need to find out what’s wrong with you, we don’t know what we are treating…”
She never gave in, so I gave up but I always had a heavy heart when I would hear her say “I am not afraid to die”. I also tried encouraging her to go to a Nursing Home. “Never, I am not leaving my home either” was her reply. In the end my brother Doyle and his wife Dana moved in to take care of mother as I had to head back to Milwaukee. Every day I was back at work I thought endlessly of my ailing mother. I made constant phone calls to her house for updates. Again she was failing, she refused to eat.
My husband and I drove back from Wisconsin up to my home town Telegraph Creek, B.C. We left on December 3rd, Monday. We would drive all day and stay in a hotel at night. We arrived at her house on Friday evening. I can still see her sitting on her favourite couch, weak, she could barely see. She looked up at me and said: “Oh, Amy, it must be getting real bad if you’re here.” Both of us were crying…
My youngest sister Gayleen and I moved in and began the constant care and scheduled pain medication. “Keep her comfortable, keep her comfortable” went through my mind. She was not eating, drinking only water. There was a constant stream of family and friends visiting her. Twice she came so close to death we had vigils with all her 10 children and their spouses beside her. We told her every day how much we loved her and thanked her.
Our mother’s final day came on December 20th with 7 of my 10 siblings gathered around her bed. “My mother”, I kept thinking looking at her, “how tall she really is”. That terribly humped back had straightened out. She looked so at peace through all my tears.
Our Wolf clan sister-in-laws and adopted Wolf sister Sheila took over. They bathed her for the last time; they dressed her in simple clothes, and put a Crow apron top on. They made her look beautiful…She did not believe in embalming. So we then had to open the window in her bedroom to let her get cold/freeze. That did not take long as it was 30 degrees below zero outside. We now had time to grieve as our Wolf clan helped with all the details of her funeral.
Our wake is usually for 4 days, a Wolf member must always be with the loved one day and night. The Wolf member was always present when family and friends came to say good-bye. A simple beautiful pine casket was built by hand and lined with love. When you see your mother in a casket it is final. The day of her funeral we got to say farewell, her daughters, her sons, and tons of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her coffin was nailed up and her Wolf grandsons carried her out of the home she would not leave till her death. A small service is held.
We all drive 14 miles out of the village to bury our mother on top of the Lava Beds. She is buried next to her parents and sister. Extremely cold and snowing lightly. My loving mother’s journey ends… only a day away from Christmas. We cannot forget her.
My mother knew she was leaving this earth. She did not let anything get in the way of that including her family. There’s a life lesson to be learnt from this journey. When a person knows it’s their time to pass, don’t question it. Let them go with love and dignity….Respect that decision.
Mother your strength has inspired me. I will listen to my patient’s wishes.