It never goes the way you imagine
The first time you hear your Mom gasping for breath, that ugly gurgling in the back of her throat, you think: “This is just wrong. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be. She deserves better. She’s suffering.”
So you get on the hospital staff, like you have a dozen times before, and they consult with each other, get permission from the doctor, up the Dilaudid drip and suction the shit out of the back of her throat. And then she’s comfortable. For a while.
Then it’s day two and Mom is still gurgling only louder and now her whole chest is heaving. The woman you sobbed for when her doctor said ‘three to six months’ is now gray and unconscious, breathing like she’s drowning and you’re sitting next to her surfing Facebook.
Every new indignity. You just get used to.
The catheter leaks. The first couple times this happens you are outraged that something this simple could be fucked up repeatedly. You make sure it’s still working after they move her every three hours but then you forget once and oh I dunno maybe it’s okay. Or maybe you just get tired of checking your Mom’s crotch to see if there’s a puddle of piss caught in the little white ravine at the top of her thighs.
Maybe this is why this happens.
So by the time she’s gone, your Mom is reduced to a breathing pile of mush that you are entirely indifferent to. This living, loving, powerful being that influenced just about every waking moment of your life is now something totally foreign, something you wish would just die already.
And then there you are, crying all over again.
Not only for the loss of your Mom, but for the loss of your own humanity.