Parental Journal 120 from Planet Elderly: Last Kiss

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

(This is the final “Parental Journal” entry for this blog.)

On Monday, March 1, I received my last kiss from my mom.

It was the first day visitors were allowed to schedule visits again, and I was on the books for a one-hour visit with Mom at 2 pm. I was contacted by two staff persons the Friday before because they wanted me to know that Mom’s decline had become more pronounced due to her not wanting to eat much.

At about 8:30 a.m. Monday, March 1st, I was called and asked if I could come “now.” Mom had had a difficult weekend. When I arrived, there were indications that her passing would likely happen soon, and the hospice coordinator confirmed this.

Mom was experiencing the expected agitation that often happens…pulling at her blanket, reaching out, moving her hand to her throat and then to her abdomen. At one point, I took her hand and she squeezed it. I squeezed back, and then when her eyes were opened a bit, I leaned over and said, “Hi Mom. I’m so glad I can visit you today.” I could see that she recognized either my face or my voice. She pulled our locked hands to her mouth and kissed my hand. “Oh…you gave me a hand kiss,” I said. “Thank you! I’ll give you a hand a kiss, too!”

Throughout the day and night, we would often hold hands and she would firmly bring my hand to either her mouth or her chest. I was thrilled because my goal was being realized: that I would be with her during her transition time and she would know she was not alone. I spoke to her frequently, hummed melodies, and played soothing meditation music to comfort us both. My hand rested on her arm, and I watched as she transitioned through the various stages of end-of-life breathing. Shortly after 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 2…my birthday…I rang for the nurse and said I thought my Mom was gone. Her death was confirmed.

Personally, I thought it was wonderful that she transitioned out of this life on the same month and date she brought me into this life. Very cool, actually. Way to go, Mom.

I can see her blue eyes light up as she responds with a smile…”You’re welcome!”

Those who travel the journey of a long-term illness with their loved ones know that the grieving process begins long before the final days. This is especially true for families dealing with dementia/Alzheimer’s.

Donnie and Mom Nov. 2020

Being on this journey with Mom has been one of the most meaningful and profound experiences of my life, and I am grateful to have shared this time with an extraordinarily determined, witty, feisty, independent, and caring woman: Pearl Inez Leogrande. August 16, 1926 – March 2, 2021.

Mom 2019 birthday

About jjmummert

This blog was originally titled "Drifting Toward Planet Elderly," and it shared a journey I had with my elderly parents as they both finished their lives battling the complexities of dementia. After both passed on, I changed the title to "Living on Planet Elderly." I am a retiree who is reluctantly adjusting to the reality that she is now elderly. In July of 2021, I relocated to Middleton WI after living in Columbia MO for over 40 years. I'll go back and visit friends and family in Columbia, and I hope they will visit me. I decided that I want to experience a new and vibrant location in a cooler climate with lakes...a bucket list item of mine. I have a first cousin who lives in Madison. We have nice childhood memories, and it will be wonderful to spend some time together as elders. A new chapter begins. It's my last chapter.
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4 Responses to Parental Journal 120 from Planet Elderly: Last Kiss

  1. Your post was touching and accurate. I went through almost the same experience with my mother four years ago. Being with her as she left life as we know it was sad, but oddly comforting. I wish you the peace of mind that time and happy memories bring.


    • jjmummert says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I, too, was comforted to be with Mom and I felt she was, also. It was a profound experience, as you well know. Happy memories to you, too.


  2. So I have found your blog just as it ends. It’s a moving record of these important years. Thank you for sharing something of your experience with others. You’ll never know how many people you may have helped along the way. What a perfect close to the story of your time on planet elderly.


    • jjmummert says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Rachel. It has been an interesting and profound journey and the Parental Journal entries of the blog have been good therapy for me. Of course, instead of “drifting” toward Planet Elderly, I became a “resident” as of my 70th birthday. It’s not my preferred choice, but it is what it is. Gonna make my final chapters as fun and as meaningful as possible.


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