The Only Way Out is Through

I am going Third Person. I am going Third Person because I am not able to write this

I am not.

A woman is in Central Park with a friend and their boys when her phone rings. It is the nurse from the nursing home.

“Your mother is losing too much weight. It is time to call hospice.”

The woman is at the castle in the park and the boys are climbing, climbing climbing.

Hospice. Calling hospice is not signing a death certificate. Is it?


I am going In Now. I am going First Person Bullet Point:

  • My mother was a life long alcoholic.
  • My mother has Wernicke – Korsakoff; alcoholics dementia.
  • My mother physically abused me and neglected me as a child. She is not a nice woman.
  • My mother drank for so long the alcohol caused a hiatal hernia. The hiatal hernia causes acid reflux; sometimes a hernia will lead to persistent regurgitation.
  • My mother over the last 5 years has had a very difficult time not throwing up a meal. She lived on beer, lots of beer and ice cream.
  • My mother developed an Esophageal stricture; a narrowing of the esophagus. When the damaged areas heal, scar tissues form making the esophagus hard.My mother is on a secured floor of a nursing home. She is non verbal due to the stricture. She is unable to eat solid food due to the stricture.
  • My mother is losing weight rapidly now. A liquid diet will not sustain her.

It is just a matter of time.

I spoke to a friend at length today. I call her the Gypsy Queen. She asked after my mother and I was totally honest.

“My mother is dying and I do not want to admit it to myself. I need to allow hospice to enter her life. I need to let go.”

The Gypsy Queen said, “ Grace is what Hospice can offer and Grace is what you need. Call hospice and accept this path. This is the way of things.”

I listened.

“Hospice can help your mother deal with her feelings about her death. Hospice can help you deal with your feelings about your mother’s death. Call them.”

The Gypsy Queen is right.

It all boils down to my mother starving to death. They can not install a feeding tube because alcoholics dementia does not impact my mothers basic intellect. She is still intelligent; she is just not able to form new memories. My mother would remove a feeding tube. Removing the feeding tube would lead to at least infection; at worst; disembowelment.

My mother is dying. My mother is dying a long painful death because she was a life long alcoholic. My mother  physically abused and neglected me and I still am waiting for her to love me. I am lost.

I do the math. She has lost so much weight over the last few months. She is losing 5 pounds a month now.

I give up. I can not do this. I am going Third person:

The woman hangs up her cell and watches the boys playing on the rocks as she leans on the wall with her friend. The phone call lingers and the tears come. Not sobbing but quiet slow tears of sorrow long sowed.

Her mother is dying and it is time for acceptance. There will be no resolution; there will be no love language exchanged and this death will not be painless for either of them.

The woman asks her friend to watch the boys and walks down the old stone steps to a bench. The leaves are falling in the park but they have gone past the stage of the beauty of new fallen leaves. They are dry and crumble underfoot.

The number for hospice is in her list of contacts. She dials the number and remembers that death comes for us all and there is no way around this thing.

“The only way out is through,” she remembers a therapist telling her.

I am going Through.

~ by Step On a Crack on October 28, 2011.

18 Responses to “The Only Way Out is Through”

  1. May the rich mercy and grace of our great God see you through this time, may his presence be sweet and comforting in this time, and may you sense in a very real way how he walks each step of this pressing through journey with you. And take a breath, breath in and realize you are not alone. This journey is a constant going through… and one day this journey will end, and the scars of sin will be gone. Grace is not cheap, it is not easy, but i am thankful that Grace is real. Death and dying are very challenging to face. Remember you do not stand alone.


  2. I don’t know what God is doing, but i know a power greater than you or me has to give you relief in some way. I wish i could apologize for her, to you, and give you all the love you need and deserve. She is too sick. She is very much gone i’m afraid. I hope you can let her go. I hope she lets YOU go. She can’t hurt you in this stage of life. What happened to her is ON her. You have been a great daughter … it’s falling on deaf ears.

    I woke up at 3:30 this morning … maybe i sensed something was wrong … i’m glad you were SO COMPLETELY HONEST yet again.

    Brave, brave, brave.

    Love, mel


  3. Oh Jen, how my heart aches with and for you. I’ve made that phone call, twice and the Gypsy Queen is right. It is the job of grace right now – grace to lead you, grace to carry you, grace to hold you and grace to grant you release.
    You are, again in these early morning hours, very much on my heart and in my prayers.


  4. Trust that your Higher Power will lead you through this experience.

    My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family, Jen.

    “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change.”


  5. Jennifer-

    Tough. Hospice will be good for you all. Please let me know HOW I can help.


  6. I wish there were words that could make it all okay but just wanted to say simply that I am thinking of you and feeling for you..


  7. Oh. I am so sorry. I will be praying for you, that God will strengthen you and comfort you in your sorrow. I know it’s not the same, but I love you, what you do, who you are, what your life means.


  8. Ouch.

    (I don’t know how I wound up on the October 14 post before this one, but I just now saw this post…)

    As one who has had to walk some painful paths, and in many ways is still on a painful one, I stand by your side to say that indeed, the only way out is through. I admire your words here, your bravery, and your honesty.

    The Gypsy Queen is right, and I am glad that you have her to listen and help.

    I am so sorry that you (that “she” — how powerful to shift to third person — but also the “she” that is your mother) will have to go down this path. As I type this, I keep thinking of all the “If onlys” and if I am thinking of them powerfully, then I am sure they must be more powerful in you. But I see what my spouse has put up there, the prayer, and I realize it is true that the only way to move into this is with serenity. These wheels were set in motion long ago, and some trains can’t be stopped, eh?

    Peace be with you, Jen.


    • Thank you for the Ouch. Yes. that sums it up. You know how writing is: it just works. The Gypsy Queen is right but until I wrote the post I wasn’t convinced. Weird how that works.

      Oh mama. The Only If’s just get me. Water under the bridge for my mother BUT not for me or my sister or my son or …. anyone who is at risk for alcoholism or who is actively killing themselves slowly. I know you are thinking of them powerfully. I am sorry if there is pain here. for you too. MY HOPE is that there is healing here too. Not just for me but for other caretakers and for active alcoholics thinking of making the move and for all of us in recovery and turning IT OVER to HP.

      Your spouse really nailed it. I MUST remember that prayer and he posted it at EXACTLY the right moment. I am grateful for that. I mean REALLY grateful. My father told me before he died that my mothers path is hers to walk and there it is: wheels in motion. too late now and no station in sight.

      Just walking Through. Thank you Mrs. Demeanor. You have touched me. Peace to you too. xxx


  9. I want to hold your hand and hug you. I feel your pain and I feel the love you have. You have the love you need to do this.


  10. Beautifully written. I had tears in my eyes. Thank you. Janet


  11. Oh yes, and written with such raw, brave ~ yet fragile ~ courage, as well.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: