My mom's passing left me with much to say but no words to say it with. Part of me questioned if I should not put a story to her life or her death. Another part of me felt that the only thing I could do is tell the story as best I could. One thing was certain and that was that I must consciously choose one way or the other - the proof being that I could not write about anything else until I either let go of the story or I told the story. So here you and I are - in the telling of the story. And oh what a Grand Finale!
My mom, Audrey Marie Murray Kritzer fought for her life up until the very end and it was a mighty fight. As you may know, last December she was diagnosed with a serious heart condition and she needed to have a valve replacement and a triple bypass. Many of you answered my call for help and sent me many holistic alternative solutions. Thank you for your love and support. It meant so much in a time of crisis. If I did not personally respond to you at the time, I am sorry; it was such a chaotic time that my best intentions sometimes got left undone.
To tell you the truth, my mother half-heartedly followed some of the alternative remedies but was not committed to any. For months she went back and forth about the heart surgery ultimately deciding not to have it. I don't think that she believed that she was really dying and yet she was consistently getting sicker and sicker. After she was first diagnosed I moved her into my home where she stayed until her passing. She was in and out of the hospital many times in six months and had done a good job of alienating most of the doctors and nurses; each of them trying to convince her to have a surgery that would likely save her life. Because she believed otherwise, she never really believed or trusted any of them. Finally, they put her on home hospice care.
It was really hard on my mom to be dependent on anyone and as she became weaker and weaker, and depended more and more on me and my kids, she also became angry and resentful. A sense of entitlement mixed with resentment is not a pretty combination. As the months went on, one by one, my kids decided not to have anything to do with her. In the end, it was mostly me and my daughter in law April who cared for her. Thank God for April. Most of the time, I was really clear and centered and my mom's attitude or energy did not affect me. I just let her be who she was without asking her to be any different. I just loved her. When she would ask me why the kids no longer bothered with her, I would tell her the truth. She would defend herself by saying that she was sick and couldn't control how she acted and that she was allowed to be mean. Of course, there was a lifetime history of her pushing people away through her words and energy.
Every day I would spend time just sitting with her. I wouldn't say much because if I did, it usually didn't go well. So I sat quietly and listened to whatever she wanted to talk about. Usually it was just about managing her symptoms. In my fantasy, I wished that we could have had in depth talks about life and dying. I wished that I could have spiritually helped her to cross and that our last time together would be deep and intimate. But my mom was in denial about dying and refused to talk about anything having to do with death or dying. And so I just sat quietly and listened, and that was enough. By the end, my mom stayed in bed all day and night. She could get up to go to the bathroom and that was it. She just slept or sat on the edge of her bed.
On the Thursday before her death, we got into an argument. For 6 months, I was so present and I had let it all go, but suddenly there was this awful argument. I quickly apologized and let it go but it was already done. At that point, my mom's mental health started to deteriorate.
I should mention that my mom had some very huge abandonment issues and she believed that everyone would abandon her in the end. When she was 5 years old, her mother gave her up for adoption to her aunt and she never saw her mom again. She wondered why her siblings got to stay but she was rejected. Of course, it was the time of the depression and I'm sure that there was more to the story than my mom understood or could remember. Nonetheless, she spent the next eighty years believing that she was unworthy, unlovable and everyone would ultimately reject and abandon her.
It was a heavy burden to carry and affected her life in every way. As her daughter and the only child she would ever have, it affected me too. There is so much I could share here, but it is not important to the telling of this particular story. What is pertinent is that at some point, I took on the belief that it was my job to help my mom heal these deep issues. In fact, I would often take the role of mother with my mother and she would even call me her mother. When she was sick in the hospital, she would introduce me to the doctors and nurses as her mother; of course she was kidding, but there was a deep truth behind the smile.
In the months that my mom was dying, it was in the front in my mind, that I was to help her heal before she passed; so when we got into an argument that Thursday before she died, I felt terrible. Despite my apology, my mom decided that I too was against her and when the hospice nurse arrived that day, my mom had some awful and irrational things to say about me. When the she left, the nurse asked if she should call in the social worker to help. I said that I thought my mom's state would pass.
By the next day, I was back in her good graces; she had a vision during the night that she and I should write a book together; each writing our own part and sharing when we were done. I thought that this was a great idea and agreed. It seemed like a good way for my mom to focus her time and energy. Up until she got sick, she was a professional book editor for my publishing company and she was quite good. She always wanted to write a book and so I thought how wonderful it would be for her to do so before she left this world.
By the following day, things had changed once again; psychosis was definitely taking hold. My mom accused us all of trying to kill her, poisoning her, keeping her hostage and even killing her dog. She stopped eating and drinking and paranoia controlled her every thought and word. She trusted no one.
On Monday morning things worsened; the psychosis escalated and my mom became hyper-psychotic. Now, completely convinced that we were all out to hurt her and her dog, she started screaming as loud as she could for help, and wouldn't stop. At this point, I called the hospice nurse. The nurse told me that my mom had called her on Saturday insisting that we were holding her hostage.
The nurses and social worker arrived at 10:30 a.m; by this time my mom was in an extreme psychotic episode for more than two hours. For a moment, I thought my mom could keep it together but as soon as the social worker started asking her questions, my mom snapped and verbally attacked the social worker telling her to get her ugly snout out of the room, calling her ass lady and any other name she could think of. I should mention that this social worker only started at the hospice a few weeks previously. The social worker and nurses all agreed that we should try to get my mom to agree to go somewhere to get help. But despite accusing me of keeping her hostage in my home, she refused to go anywhere. She had concocted a huge story about the police coming, restraining her and taking her away to the "loony bin" - in fact, she was talking out loud to an imagining police offer calling him "officer" but insisting that she was talking to God. Despite many creative attempts at trying to get her to go to the hospice or the hospital, she wasn't going anywhere.
The psychotic ranting, raving and even violence went on non-stop. It was irrational, disconnected and powerful! It was hard to believe that this much energy was coming out of a frail and sickly woman.
At this point, it seemed that the only way to get my mom help was against her will. The social worker called 911 and a police offer arrived who specialized in mental illness and then 3 more after him. They tried to reason with her but they too were the "enemy". Then three firemen arrived because they were the ones with anti-psychotic medicine. One fireman spoke with my mom for over an hour trying to convince her that we were all trying to help her but nothing changed her mind. Then 2 paramedics arrived to transport her to the hospital or hospice. At this point she was psychotically ranting and raving without stop for over 5 hours with fits of unpredicted violence thrown in.
My house was filled with 4 special division police offers, 3 firefighters, 2 paramedics, 2 nurses and a social worker, my mom not so affectionately referred to as "ass lady." My mom had us all wrapped around her fingers.
At about 1.30 p.m it became quite clear to everyone that the only option was to give her the anti-psychotic shot. This meant doing it against her will.
They all planned it carefully. Imagine, four strong men holding down this frail, and dying, 85 year old woman while the nurse injected her with an anti-psychotic; my mom physically fought and screamed bloody-murder the whole time. At first it didn't seem like the shot worked, but finally she started to calm down just a little. At this point, they tried to get her up to walk to the stretcher, but she intentionally fell to the ground to prevent them from taking her. Several of them quickly swooped her off the floor and practically threw her on the gurney, and they strapped her down. At this point, she knew that her fight was over. She demanded to take her bags and I placed them on top of her all the while she kept screaming not to trust me because I would steal her bags. As they were wheeling her out, one of the police officers asked if anyone had checked her bags for weapons. And so now they were checking her bags for weapons.
At the height of all the chaos there was this amazing moment of clarity. My mom looked at me, laughed and clearly said "if this wasn't all a great story, it would be really awful." Moments later she was drugged and taken against her will.
Fortunately, they were able to take her to the in-patient hospice facility and not lock her up in the psych ward. Once at the hospice, a nurse gave her another shot to calm her down. My mother accused the nurse of giving her the "death shot." Hindsight, I see truth in this.
At the hospice, my mom angrily told me and my son to leave and never come back. This was interspersed with her saying to me "how could you do this to me?" over and over. So we left her there that night, hoping that in the morning, things would be different. Unfortunately, those words would be the very last that I would hear from her.
In the morning, I got an early call that my mom had lapsed into a coma and they didn't think that she had much longer. I spent the whole day with her and she never regained consciousness. During the day, the social worker, who my mom called "ass-lady" came in to see me. I tried to apologize but she wouldn't let me. She said that it was an amazing experience and that even as they were wheeling my mom out and checking her bags for weapons, everyone loved my mom. And they did. She went on to say that no one will ever forget my mom and they will pass the story down through generations. In an odd sought of way, my mom was the Bell of the Ball and got her 15 minutes of fame.
We talked about how my mom had written and edited the whole story and if someone wasn't playing their role correctly, she would get them back in line. It was my mom's story and we all acted it out perfectly. For over three hours she had fifteen people wrapped around her fingers. She was controlling the show and we all played our parts as she wrote them for us. What is interesting is that I always have this part of me that watches and observes and gets me back on track when needed, but through the whole ordeal, that part was not present. I was an actor in the show - my mom's show.
At 3.30 p.m I left the hospice with the intention of returning in a couple of hours. My mom was still in a coma but I believed that she could hear me. I thought carefully about, my possible, last words to her and then said this:
"Bye for now. Thank you for EVERYTHING."
Before I could return, she passed.
Because of how she passed there was a great deal more grief than expected. This additional pain came from my belief that I was supposed to help her heal her issues of abandonment and worthiness and in the end, it was me who abandoned her; even if that was never my intention, in her mind it was real and so it was. I am in awe of how my mother wrote her story down to the final detail and fulfilled her belief of being abandoned by everyone in the end.
For days after my mother's passing I walked around in shock that I played that part without question. How could I have let her die believing that I abandoned her? I thought about all the things that I could have done differently, but that wiser me was somehow absent in the course of the evolving chaos. Of course the greater truth always prevails and heals all false beliefs, and so I let go of all guilt, remorse, regret, pain and grief; knowing fully now that the only one we can ever save is ourselves. In many ways, I have found a deeper sense of peace and freedom than I have ever before experienced. With my mom's passing, a part of me has died as well and it was time. In its place is a deep silence.
In the end, I gloriously celebrate my mother's life, and death.
I debated for weeks about whether to share this story or not. I hesitated because I didn't want to make my mom look bad or get stuck in the story myself, but eventually I decided to tell this story because, after all, it is a Great Story and my mom wouldn't have had it any other way.
Bye for now, Mom. Thanks for Everything!
Audrey Marie Murray Kritzer - 1925 to 2011.
Of course, when I take a step back into my true self, I see that it was all my story and it was my mom who acted it out perfectly - LOL!
A step further back reveals that there is only one story that we are all living out and it is God's story. And so, all is always in Divine Perfection.
published on Nanice.com by Nanice
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